When I look at my baby, this strong willed, determined, independent little thing, I’m scared. I’m scared that the world won’t understand her like it didn’t and doesn’t understand me. I’m scared that she will be too much for people just like I have been told I’m too much multiple times.
I’ve been called selfish a lot growing up and it has left a deep mark in me, burrowed deep into my core like hot branding. Like every day when I wake up I have to find ways to do everything I can to prove that’s not who I am. To prove that my communication may seem direct at times but that my heart is anything but that. (In my case, whilst I don’t have an official diagnosis of Asperger’s, I’m pretty certain it has something to do with it).
Am I selfish? Maybe? Yes. My friends might (hopefully) tell you otherwise. But I just want to shout fuck off now to anyone that thinks that way or has made me feel that way. I’m at that point in my life where I’m sick of altering myself to please others, so that I’m not too much for them. And I get it, I do, I’m not saying that it’s OK to be rude or obnoxious or unkind. and I don’t think, I hope I’m not any of those things (at least not too often). What I am is outwardly confident, sometimes loud, ambitious, passionate, neurodiverse, caring and misunderstood.
I see it in her too, shes 10 months going on 18. Like lots of babies, she knows what she wants and when she wants it. She’s independent, impatient, quick and stubborn. To be honest, qualities I quite admire because I see her as a future change maker, a world shaper for the better. But, I’m scared she will be misunderstood like I was. I’m scared people will be unkind, I’m scared they will pass to her their judgement and make her feel like she should be different or something more.
I’m scared she will grow up and feel like me.
Sometimes I just want to shout at the world and tell it to fuck off. To find a small planet with people that understand who I am and what’s in my heart. I’m fortunate enough to have lots of friends that do understand but I’m also surrounded by people in a world that doesn’t.
I’m scared that my baby will be too much for the world but really I’m just scared that the world won’t be enough for her.
To my baby,
and to so many I know are struggling. You are not selfish if you put yourself first. You are not selfish if you stand up for yourself. You are not selfish for doing what’s right even if it means people might get hurt. You are not selfish for being ambitious or outspoken or passionate about making a positive change in the world. You are not selfish when you stand your ground. You are not selfish for asking for what you need. You are not selfish if you can’t help today.
I don’t apologise for being myself, I’ve spent the past 30 years doing that and I’m not doing it anymore.
If you read this and think ‘she sounds rude’ or ‘self centered’ or, for want of a better word, ‘selfish’, this article isn’t for you. People who truly are selfish don’t go around worrying if they are. If you don’t get this blog, that’s OK, it might just mean that you haven’t been made to feel like you need to apologise for being yourself every day, incase you upset someone, for simply being yourself. And if you don’t get it, then you just don’t get it.
If you’re like me please stop now. Stop living your life to make others approve of your nature and just start living. Be loving, be compassion, be the change you want to see. But stop thinking you’re selfish simply for caring about yourself or your family or because you communicate differently.
You are not selfish, you’re just living in a world filled with lots of people that don’t understand, but I understand.
You are not alone.