Exhausted from swimming against the mainstream. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 12-18-2009, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I'm not really sure how to start this, but today something (which is sort of irrelevant) happened to remind me how exhausting it is to swim against the mainstream. I'm not sure if I just need to vent, but I'd love suggestions on how to just let things roll off my back, as long as they're gentle.

It's funny, as a kid I was "weird" (gifted, and just didn't fit in, socially awkward) so I spent pretty much my entire childhood through the teen years just learning how to go with the group think, that group-think was the way to go, blah blah blah. My mom is very much *not* the type to go with the mainstream, she goes with her heart. I however, tend to go with the evidence I see. It's frustrating though, because the more I look into things, the more I feel that I can't go with the mainstream because the evidence leads me elsewhere - so I guess I'm fighting against myself here. That is, my head says "this is ridiculous, why is everyone doing this?" and my... uh... training? says "you're a weirdo. go with the mainstream. That many people can't be wrong."

So... how do I work past this. I mean logically, I'm over it. Unfortunately I still get all this angst about being "weird" and I'm so the type that *wants* to fit in... but I just don't. I just can't. I mean, I was doing ok, in college with fitting in enough, but now that I'm a parent and has looked into things like birthing, vaccination, food choices, AP... somehow I end up on the "wrong" side (i.e. against the mainstream/ in the fringe/ whatever you want to call it). I mean, it's to the point where I'm obsessively looking for a reason to BELIEVE the mainstream - how can the world be this illogical? Why don't things happen in a way that makes sense according to the research that I'm seeing? I have a background in research, so I'm not afraid to dissect studies and try and figure out what's going on there, but...

I mean, maybe MDC is the wrong place to ask () considering there's so many of us here swimming against the mainstream, but how do I make myself feel better about being a "weirdo". All I want is respect, I guess. I don't need people to agree with me, I just need them not to roll their eyes when I open my mouth. It's really stressful for me. I need to work through this.

I feel like I took the red pill (a la "the matrix") and now I just wanna go back... but I know too much and it's not gonna happen.

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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#2 of 23 Old 12-18-2009, 06:47 PM
 
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do you not have a circle of wise women? i did a stalkerish google search, and it looks like you guys have got homeschoolers, naturopaths, lll, health foods, herbal stuff, midwives, um - holistic medicine for your pets?! so the community is out there. among my coworkers i'm "weird" but among my mama-friends, i'm so mainstream. maybe if you have more connections with more people who see things the way you do, it won't matter as much when you encounter people who don't.
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#3 of 23 Old 12-18-2009, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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do you not have a circle of wise women? i did a stalkerish google search, and it looks like you guys have got homeschoolers, naturopaths, lll, health foods, herbal stuff, midwives, um - holistic medicine for your pets?! so the community is out there. among my coworkers i'm "weird" but among my mama-friends, i'm so mainstream. maybe if you have more connections with more people who see things the way you do, it won't matter as much when you encounter people who don't.
Yeah... I mean, I do. We have a local group of crunchy mamas. Mostly homebirthers/UCers, AP, no vax, blah blah blah. I should join into the homeschooling group more, but right now my DD is going to a montessori school, so I feel sort of like I don't fit in there, and I don't fit in with the "regular" school mamas... I dunno.

I guess my problem isn't that I don't have support (my mom supports me and we sorta share new ideas, too), but I feel UBER uncomfortable leaving my crunchy bubble, unfortunately... and I guess that's what I feel like I need to work on. I expect eventually I'll go back to work or school or something and no longer be able to be absorbed into MDC and all that crunchy stuff... but meh... part of me just doesn't want to see anyone who is mainstream b/c I know I'll be marked with a stigma. Kwim?

P.S. where'd you find holistic pet care? Because I could totally use that for my cat...

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#4 of 23 Old 12-18-2009, 08:34 PM
 
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I totally hear you there! I feel so frustrated that i get lumped in with the crazy hippies just b/c I happen to question vaccination, want my child to go to Steiner/Waldorf school or be home-educated, and believe in communicating with rather than coercing your child. It seems like on every single point, I always seem to veer towards the other end of the spectrum, and honestly, its not because I'm trying to!

Like you I have always been 'weird' and particularly at school, and also learned how to fit in and appear normal. Now the game's up b/c as a parent I have to stand up for my beliefs for my child's sake. It is tough, and the people who resonate with me are few and far between, but I guess I just try to accept that this is my 'destiny' for lack of a better word, in life, and I was never meant to be a sheep. I sometimes get feedback from others that indicates me being in their life has really helped them to think differently about things and question more deeply. So I guess it's about letting go of that need to be approved of (such a process!) and accepting that the universe (or whatever you call it!) has a different thing in mind for you. I try to embrace it - not in a '**** you, I'm just going to be different for the sake of it' kind of way, but in a 'This is me, and I'm following my heart' kind of way. There's a quote I like: "When anything gets freed, a zest goes around the world" (can't remember who it is).
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#5 of 23 Old 12-18-2009, 11:41 PM
 
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I know what you mean. It has helped me immensely to share similar ideas and values to women who I view as competent, capable, very intelligent and open-minded. But, what gets me through the day-to-day mainstreamness is something I "found" internally. One day, around 27 or 28, I gained self-confidence. I stopped doubting myself (for the most part!). I think I reached some point of "over it" where I just couldn't spend the energy caring anymore, and just put me out there as my best me. I think part of self-confidence is living with integrity--and that means living true to yourself.
I just don't know how I got here. Maybe as I had more and more kids I had less and less time to worry about fitting in with the mainstream, lol.

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#6 of 23 Old 12-18-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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Is a move to Ithaca out of the question? I totally feel you where I am at now, but I just felt very supported in Itown! I hear you though, it is so tiring!
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#7 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is a move to Ithaca out of the question? I totally feel you where I am at now, but I just felt very supported in Itown! I hear you though, it is so tiring!
Ha... actually, we had discussed that. There's a new ecovillage being built in danby and we went so far as to pay for "membership" but eventually realized that moving to ithaca, my husband would have to drive an hour each way to work (which costs $$ and time) or find a job up there (there's nothing in his field that would have the benefits, flexible schedule and $$ that he makes now - much less) and the cost of living is higher than here in bingo...

We have a couple friends who moved up there, though and keep encouraging us to move. And I like Ithaca... Meh. I dunno. It's a hard decision, if that makes sense. Right now, Dh isn't feeling into it at all, and I'm sorta back and forth. I dunno.

It just makes me crazy that things don't work based on decent studies, but some other random ... I don't even know. I hate to think that it's money driving the system, because it just strikes me as so cynical and conspiracy-ish, but, man, I just can't find a good reason

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

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#8 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 12:07 AM
 
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joiiiiiiiin us! Joiiiiiiin usssss!

I mean ummm...


move to Ithaca!

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#9 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 12:17 PM
 
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It sounds like the part that may be tripping you up is that you want to fit in, that's your personality, wanting to fit in.

So for you it might make sense to find a group of people who have similar values, so you can be part of a group, have that support and have people to talk to who won't look at you like you have two heads.

Personally, I try to fly under the radar. But that is just a part of my personality. I am noisy, friendly and talkative, but I don't talk about important stuff with very many people. I do my own thing, let them do their's and we don't need to discuss it.

That said, there was major family drama over some of the choices we made raising our kids. I didn't even bother to try to justify any of it. I just told them these were my kids and this is how I wanted to raise them. They were free to think I was doing it all wrong, but I wasn't going to change my mind or do things their way.

I've had plenty of people surprised by our choices, but I've been able to get by saying "I was an art major in college." Apparently being an art major means you are not normal to begin with.

If I was an actual practicing working artist, no one would bat an eye. They'd just think "Oh, she's an artist. You know how they are."

Is it maybe just exhausting trying to explain your choices to other people? If you just do what you do and don't worry about explaining it to them, would that make it easier?

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#10 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It might just be all about respect for me. I want to be respected, yet my "career" right now is SAHM (very little respect there - but I feel like it's right for my family at this point), and everything that comes out of my mouth catches eyesrolling and not respect... even when I have studies backing me up. I was, you know, one of the "smart" ones in college - and doing undergrad research because a professor ASKED ME... that kind of thing. And now there's just no respect. It's not even trying to explain myself... I usually don't bother, but as tinybutterfly said about family drama over parenting choices, that sort of thing gets to me. I guess I feel like people somehow assume I didn't make my decision carefully because if I had I would have landed in the mainstream... but it's just the opposite, every time. The stuff I *do* really think about and research are the things that i'm most freakish for, I guess.

I really hate when people make assumptions about me... and always have I just don't know how to get myself past the need for respect, I guess. As I've said - I don't need people to agree with me (I do have friends who agree with me - lots of them - this is more general people I meet, and, like doctors, whoever) i just need to feel like they can accept my view as a valid alternative... but I don't get that impression from most people.

On a related note - I've actually considered going to med school just to get that MD after my name so people would at least listen before judging me harshly... or just immediately give me respect. It's ridiculous and I'd never actually want to practice, it'd all be for ego's sake.

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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#11 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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There is a great book called "Claiming your self-esteem" by Carolyn Ball that would really help you. It helps you untwist all the thoughts and beliefs swirling around your head and sort of "de-program" yourself. If you do the exercises, it really works.

Also, really think about why you need validation from others. The reality is, most people are too insecure to validate themselves, let alone anyone else.

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#12 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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Wierdo Here!

I can relate to your situation. The community that I found to be the most honest and supportive has not been the people that make the same choices as me. I am very alternative in my parenting and lifestyle choices, however I have found incredible rigidity in my local alternative community.
I find my peeps are those that respect my choices, can discuss differences between us without defensiveness and insult and think I they are smart and I love to be with them. I seek out people that are different from me because I find it interesting. They also support my choices even if they don't agree, some of them are even mainstream.

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#13 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a great book called "Claiming your self-esteem" by Carolyn Ball that would really help you. It helps you untwist all the thoughts and beliefs swirling around your head and sort of "de-program" yourself. If you do the exercises, it really works.

Also, really think about why you need validation from others. The reality is, most people are too insecure to validate themselves, let alone anyone else.
Thank you. i'll have to look for that book.

I definitely have always had self-esteem issues, no question. I've done some work on the validation thing... not enough obviously. It's definitely changed my parenting choices, to some extent - that is, trying to parent in a way to encourage my children to be intrinsically motivated, rather than validation seeking. I keep hoping that even if it's something I can't do for myself, at least I can parent differently than my parents did and help them. I realize that there's debate over whether parenting really has any effect that way, but I can try, right?

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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#14 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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Juvysen, I can really relate to what you said about wanting to be respected. I also don't need people to agree with me or even like what Im doing, but it HURTS when I feel people in my own family are rolling their eyes and think my parenting choices are a joke. I had a painful discovery a few months ago that my mom and sister had really been gossiping about my parenting and being SO critical and judgmental, and what was most painful was my mom saying 'I always knew she'd parent in a PSYCHOLOGICAL way' (Because I was a psych major). Like, it's just a foolish way to go about it I agree that self esteem issues are the ones to be worked on, and it's an ongoing process! It takes time to undo those messages, but I think partly THROUGH the parenting we are doing, we have opportunities to re-programme ourselves every day.
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#15 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 11:14 PM
 
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I'm going to get rep here, but have you looked at myers-brigg personality types. all of us weird types tend to be intuitives who are rare. because you are the logical type who wants respect you could be an iNtuitive Thinker. Very different from others. My dh is an intj and it was an eyeopener to understand all this for him. just something to explore that may help you come to grips with things. when you know why others are the way they are and accept that they can't be different than their personality and you are the way you are for a reason, you stop expecting others to be different than they can be, for the most part.
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#16 of 23 Old 12-19-2009, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to get rep here, but have you looked at myers-brigg personality types. all of us weird types tend to be intuitives who are rare. because you are the logical type who wants respect you could be an iNtuitive Thinker. Very different from others. My dh is an intj and it was an eyeopener to understand all this for him. just something to explore that may help you come to grips with things. when you know why others are the way they are and accept that they can't be different than their personality and you are the way you are for a reason, you stop expecting others to be different than they can be, for the most part.
interesting. I had taken it before and got "entj", but recently I took it again and got "intj"

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#17 of 23 Old 12-20-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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I was just having a conversation about this very thing this week! I am sooo tired of always feeling like I am always swimming upstream.

I don't have any advice, but you are definitely not alone.

I have pockets of people I feel comfortable with, but the groups don't overlap that much. (Religious choices, educational choices, SAHM, fellow artists, food choices, medical choices, parenting choices...)

I often feel very alone on this journey with little snippets of community. My family is far away and not very friendly with many of my choices.

Someone on this board had a lovely saying about people swimming upstream being salmon, which I liked, but I don't know what the quote was. It made me feel a little better, like maybe I make these choices because I am meant to do so.

But I definitely feel like some days, I wish I could just forget everything I know already and have an easy, predictable life. Then again, if I did try that, I imagine I would be miserable.

I definitely can relate to your Matrix example. I'm going to check out that book, too.

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#18 of 23 Old 12-20-2009, 03:06 PM
 
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interesting. I had taken it before and got "entj", but recently I took it again and got "intj"
These things are on a continuum. You could be close to the middle. the main difference b/w E and I is where do you get your energy from, more people and being among them or less, just one or two and needing down time to recover. I do think this trait can change over time such as after therapy, or just by coming into your own or finding out who you are instead of being who you think you should be.

don't just take the test, read the books and observe. We really like keirsey's Please Understand Me II. INTJs are really into efficiency and continually making everything work better as well as contingency planning - not just plan b and c, but down to x and y. Entjs are more into organizing and making their plans go forward.

After being married to my NT for 14 yrs. I can pick you guys out so quickly
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#19 of 23 Old 12-20-2009, 03:12 PM
 
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I was just having a conversation about this very thing this week! I am sooo tired of always feeling like I am always swimming upstream.


I have pockets of people I feel comfortable with, but the groups don't overlap that much. (Religious choices, educational choices, SAHM, fellow artists, food choices, medical choices, parenting choices...)

I often feel very alone on this journey with little snippets of community.

But I definitely feel like some days, I wish I could just forget everything I know already and have an easy, predictable life. Then again, if I did try that, I imagine I would be miserable.
I relate to this. A new homeschooling group i joined seems to match me in just one area. We were discussing certain views on things and I was saying how hard it is to find a group who shares a lot in common and needing to take just this part from this group and this from this group. one mom said " oh not us, we're all peas in a pod here" I had to reply, " Well I guess I'll be on the outside as usual."

i was just wishing I could forget all that we know and the choices we make. A regular life sounds tempting a times, though i know I would hate it in the long run.
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#20 of 23 Old 12-20-2009, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These things are on a continuum. You could be close to the middle. the main difference b/w E and I is where do you get your energy from, more people and being among them or less, just one or two and needing down time to recover. I do think this trait can change over time such as after therapy, or just by coming into your own or finding out who you are instead of being who you think you should be.

don't just take the test, read the books and observe. We really like keirsey's Please Understand Me II. INTJs are really into efficiency and continually making everything work better as well as contingency planning - not just plan b and c, but down to x and y. Entjs are more into organizing and making their plans go forward.

After being married to my NT for 14 yrs. I can pick you guys out so quickly
I'll have to look for the books. I'm definitely a lot more introverted than I used to be... I used to *need* to be around people all the time. Now I'm more likely to be like "ugh, it's just too exhausting to go see those people" - especially large family get togethers are completely exhausting for me. Reading descriptions online I do seem to go between the two, though. Dh and I were reading them and commenting on that last night...

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dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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#21 of 23 Old 12-21-2009, 01:48 AM
 
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*Hugs*

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#22 of 23 Old 12-21-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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I feel for ya. I have nothing much to add, but did want to mention that back when I was more mainstream (only for lack of education) I surely admired those people who stood up for their beliefs. And their "different" beliefs sparked within me a drive to find out why they had "different" beliefs. So keep that in mind too that even though folks may seem like they think you're weird, you could be just the spark they need to search out answers for themselves. I am so grateful in my life for those few who hung out with me even though I was fairly "mainstream" and they were "way off the beaten path". It has SO shaped who I am today.

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#23 of 23 Old 12-21-2009, 07:45 PM
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I feel like things have become much less exhausting since I feel confident about my choices. Parenting has become mostly a non-issue for me around mainstream people.

My personal stuff though does this to me all the time. I stress and stress that people are going to see me as weird or awkward, and I think I come across MORE that way when I worry about it.

Just relax and be yourself, is what I'm trying to say. And look for some like minded people who build you up too.
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