Why Can't I Simply Be Like "They"?

"They" come in smiling and laughing. "They" greet each other with lots of how-are-you's and introductions. "They" giggle when they mess up on their name tags. 

"They" hug people who were perfect strangers five minutes before. "They" take a seat right next to each other and pay close attention when the speaker starts. "They" don't need anything to fidget with in order to make it through the meeting.

I'm nothing like "they."

Today was a huge example of this.

I guess it started last night. My husband and I had a big fight that I'm "not his boss" (though I kind of am currently since he recently joined me in the freelancing business I've had for about 7 years).

Add to that, it's been a rough morning. Things that should have only taken a few minutes took much longer. When I washed my hair, I pulled out one of my earrings - into the murky water of my bubble-bath-infused tub. There were a couple of packages I needed to drop in a UPS dropbox that I had to get ready.

And then I forgot I needed to get gas so I was running late. Aaaarrrrggggghhhh!

This was all on top of feeling cruddy due to not sleeping well, hurting a lot from a fibromyalgia flare-up, and fighting being in a low/depressed cycle with my bipolar. 

There was only one reason I decided to go even the way I felt - to see a really good friend of mine who leads the group.  Due to our crazy schedules, we haven't been able to get together in a while and I was looking forward to seeing her.

I got there... and quickly realized she wasn't there. 

It made the social anxiety I deal with amplify to incredible levels. I'm not a good actor on the best day - and it definitely wasn't a "best day." When I saw "they" do their thing, I didn't have the energy or motivation to even try to pretend.

I sometimes wonder why I can't be that way - smiling and greeting everyone, asking "How are you?" as a substitute for simply saying "Hi," sitting right beside someone I've never met.

When I step back and look at it, I know that it's my social anxiety (as well as the many other mental health issues I deal with) that makes all of this so difficult. 

But honestly, it's also because in my soul, I actually don't want to be like "they."

When I smile or laugh, I want it to be because I'm happy. When I ask, "How are you?" I want to care about the answer. When I hug someone, I want it to be because I like/love them. 

I don't want any of this to be forced due to social obligation.

But, at the same time, I wish I could conform. It hurts to be left out. It's easy to feel "less than" when everyone around me is well put together, with nice clothes, hair, makeup and an easy smile.

Something strange has been happening lately, though. 

People I'm around actually seem to like me (even though I can't do all the shiny, happy stuff). I was specifically asked to share some things about myself to the group (even though I'm nothing remarkable). I was complimented on what I wrote on my name tag ("Tracy - here but only barely").

Maybe... just maybe... it's okay that I'm not like "they" after all. Maybe it's okay to be me.

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