stick in the mud: (n) a person who is dull and unadventurous and who resists change
Something I need to face is how people view me. I like to claim that I don’t care what people think, but everyone knows this is a lie. No matter how hard I try to just be me and do my own thing, somewhere deep down inside I am consciously analyzing what those around me think. Some may say that I do this because I am shallow or that it is natural and everyone – on some level – thinks about how they are viewed, but I attribute it to how I was treated when I was younger.
You may be thinking that I was bullied, but I would not call it that. What happened to me was not on purpose and it was not intended to be hurtful. As far back as I can remember, I have been endlessly teased by family and friends about being a “stick in the mud” and that I need to loosen up and try to have a good time. I cannot even count all the times I have been told this in some way or another. Most people would laugh it off, move on, not think about it again, but for me it replays in my mind constantly. Whenever I am at a party or event or just hanging out with friends, I am so consciously aware of when I laugh, smile, speak… Instead of helping me loosen up and get out of my head, being told that just made me more self-conscious and awkward.
I know I am not the life of the party, but I have never felt that I am boring or dull, but after being told that so many times, somewhere along the line I started to believe it. I found that I was smiling and laughing less, I lost any desire to hang out with people, and I criticized every social decision I made. Now after an awkward situation, fight with a friend, or difficult day, I come home and have a meltdown instead of shaking it off. Now, I cry about being unmemorable, easily forgotten, boring, dull. I feel as if my personality is lacking somehow in comparison to everyone else.
I know these things I feel are irrational, but sometimes I analyze my life or my self and I can see how I am a stick in the mud and it creates this hate toward myself and this ache in my chest. I want to be liked and accepted for who I am, not called names in a joking manner. I really wish people would understand that just because something is said in a way that is meant to not be taken to heart, literally, or seriously, doesn’t mean it hurts any less. I know my friends and family were not trying to hurt me or make me self-conscious, but they did anyway and their words don’t just go away. It altered how I see myself and it has proven to be a long road ahead to repair the damage.