If you face difficulty understanding parts of yourself and feel like you’re having a constant identity crisis, you aren’t alone. This feeling of disconnection is common amongst the general population but it doesn’t have to be a forever thing.
I am Pluto. I have never fit in.
When I was growing up, I always felt like I was never walking down the same hallway as everyone else. I was either walking too fast or I was straying a little far from everyone else. I was never able to connect myself to my friends and family, or even myself. While others could easily discuss their inner turmoil and emotions, I never could.
Sometimes I feel like I have been in the wrong orbit my entire life like I’m lost. An outcast. I can never shake that label in my head.
I was in the eleventh grade when I first started understanding parts of myself. My English teacher had given my class a free writing assignment and the prompt was simply “I am…” While everyone went straight to brainstorming, my sheet of paper remained blank. My friend, next to me, had written on how she was Wikipedia and my other friend had written how he was his pet dog. Both of them were able to draw connections from the world around them so easily, while I sat there stumped.
Growing up I was always the quiet kid, independent kid. I think it’s because I grew up in a world with loud and energetic noise that I became more introverted. When I look at my friends, I feel like a dwarf standing at 5’2.
My teacher saw my blank paper and asked me to just try writing down my characteristics, so I did. I wrote about how I was short and quieter than most, but that was all I could write. It was not until much later in the night that I grabbed my paper again and started writing about how I felt walking around my school for the rest of the day.
I have tried to be more extroverted, but I cannot bring myself to be loud. Sometimes I think about wearing two-inch heels just to feel a little taller but I couldn’t bring myself to wear those heels. I have tried and tried to fit in but I couldn’t. I was lying to myself and taking away my happiness to be something I am not.
I never truly realized what I had written until I presented it the next day. Before my presentation, it felt like just another assignment I had procrastinated yet again. I did not comprehend that the analogies and metaphors I had written represented my insecurities and disconnection from the world. My sixteen-year-old self had finally found a place of comfort that lacked any restraints of society—a place to give me the strength I had never been able to find. The constant push to be what everyone deemed as ideal stopped being so present when I had looked up from my assignment to finally say, “I like being Pluto.”
When I was in grade 11 a moment of catharsis occurred and helped me understand the importance of having an internal dialogue. It is difficult for me to be able to communicate with myself because I have always been my harshest critic, which never gave way for me to have an open internal dialogue. Writing took away this handicap. When I wrote down how I was feeling, the pen and paper were the mediators and helped me break down my internal walls. After I finish writing I will read it out loud to myself—when I’m ready. I never push myself to read it aloud right away. Sometimes I will put it away and come back to it months later. I know if I am unable to write I need more time to process or if I am unable to read I need more time before I can have that conversation. What has allowed me to keep having these internal dialogues with myself is my focus for never forcing the words to come out of my mouth or head.
Often in this fast-paced world, it feels like it’s impossible to pause, breathe, and start building your internal dialogues. A good start to your internal dialogue can just be asking yourself, “how are you, really?”
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