When I was younger (here I go, sounding like a granny!) in my early teens I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. I know that’s kind of weird because when you’re in your teens that’s when you’re supposed to be most self-conscious about others’ approval, but that just wasn’t the case for me. I dunno, maybe it was because I was home educated and therefore not subject to the peer pressure most teens go through, but there it is. I just didn’t care.
It was only in my late teens that I started to be more aware of the impact of other people’s judgements on my life. Although I made plenty of mistakes before this time (obviously), they’d never been that public. Until my late teens. I made a couple of really minor mistakes – really, they weren’t that big a deal, in fact, they weren’t so much mistakes as misjudgements, but, whatever, some people found out. It’s worth noting that they only found out because a) I honestly didn’t think that there was anything wrong with what I was doing, and so didn’t try to hide it and b) I told people what I was doing, because I thought it was ok. To this day (nearly six years later), it is still held against me. It was a very sad experience to go through, and one from which I learnt a lot.
The most difficult part of the whole thing for me is that I no longer feel as though I stand alone, that I alone am held responsible for my mistakes. I feel as though if I screw up, someone or something else will also be blamed. Either one or other or both of my parents, Islam, home education, college (a.k.a. high school), university, UK, Algeria … the list is endless. The problem is that, yes, to a very large degree, these are the main influences in my life and have shaped who I am today, which means that I value them all highly and I don’t want to give people a bad impression of any of them. But my mistakes are not caused by them, either individually or together. My mistakes are my own. They happen because I am human, I am young and I don’t get everything right all the time (and, last time I checked, neither did anyone else, but apparently, that’s irrelevant).
The result of this is that I find it very hard to be me honestly. I play roles: university student, perfect Muslim girl, fun and free twenty-something year old, etc, etc, and it just gets depressing and tiring and fake. Moreover, it’s starting to make me feel angry and resentful. I don’t want to be the means of hurting the people and things that I love, but I need to be me.
And that’s why I haven’t told the people I know about my blog, yet. I’m afraid of all the judgement and its ramifications, even though I know that the vast majority would be very supportive and encouraging. There are, however, people I know who will read this blog determined to see their opinion of me confirmed, people who will use my blog to try to nitpick and point out all my flaws. And no matter what I do, they will find something to pick at and argue over and be hurt by, for the simple reason that I am not who they want me to be.
So that’s why I want to find my groove/niche with this blog before I tell them. I need to be who I am and accept that any repercussions that occur are not my fault so that I can represent myself authentically here. Otherwise, it’ll just be another way in which I have to juggle all the roles I play, and there’s no point in that.
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