I shake the hand of someone who holds an unfamiliar face. A few words in, I’m adding sugar and honey to my personality. I cherry pick and showcase my sexiest traits. As people, we do everything we can to sweeten ourselves into a version of ourselves we think others will respond to. For me, this means I water my personality down for the constant voice in my head telling me I’m too much.
This voice in my head talks to me as I’m talking to boys, to girls, to professors, to the blog posts I draft. I think I’m too strange with my weird humor. Maybe a little lame with my genuine love for school. Not fun as I’m not a fan of roller coasters or sports. I’m always too loud and laugh too much. Overall, I feel too weird to be liked.
And so, I refrain from saying the one-liners that come to me while making conversation. Or I’ll swallow my thoughts at the risk of sounding too opinionated. I’ll skip an anecdote about something serious in an effort to appear less morbid. I’ll lighten my stories as to not appear too serious. I’ll alter every part of myself like a dress that’s been passed down too many times. I want to fit perfectly on everyone, regardless of who wears me. I want those that try me on to have a positive story to tell.
And in doing so, I often suppress myself.
Just a few days ago, I was about to tweet “smart, funny, pretty, creative, god knew I’d be too powerful if I was good at math.” Now this of course was a joke and the punchline was my awful math skills, but still I hesitated. I didn’t want to appear “too cocky” even though I was just being funny. So I switched pretty out to “ok looking”, much better right? Not too much?
Something I’ve noticed with my little sister is that she’s never afraid to be too much. That seems to be the case with kids in general. I listen to the exchanges between Zahra and her friends sometimes and none of them have filters, for lack of a better phrase. They say whatever comes to mind. Never afraid of being too cocky, too loud, too needy. They’re a pure unfiltered version of themselves.
I know the feeling that keeps me afraid of being “too much” isn’t unique to me. I know this cause I’ve seen my friends and family exhibit the same fears time and time again.
I’ve spent countless nights with friends while they draft a text to a boy, maybe a dm or a message on bumble. They want to appear cool and interesting. Interesting and sexy. Not too weird. Not too loud. Not too god-forbid needy.
This trend carries out through many relationships. We think our significant other doesn’t text us enough, but we’d never say that cause that would make us appear needy. We want to make a dumb joke or a sarcastic comment, but we don’t think that’ll be cool. We hold back on telling a story, cause we don’t want to appear too depressing. And we alter pieces of our personality so we don’t appear too weird.
We suppress ourselves, for people that can’t seem to carry our weight.
How silly is that?
The problem isn’t that we’re too heavy, it’s that we’re hanging around people that aren’t strong enough to handle us.
When we hide parts of us or try to alter ourselves to please others, not only are we depriving the world of ourselves, we are depriving ourselves of honest connection. The friends you make while pretending to be someone you’re not are not friends with you. They’re friends with a false version of you.
There’s 7 billion people in this world. Even when you feel like it, you’re never alone in whatever you’re experiencing. There are tons of people who you’d get along with so so well. By the same token, there will always be people who you’ll be too much for. Too loud, too quiet, too serious, too goofy. In order to meet the people who you’re not too much for, you have to be the most authentic version of you. Otherwise, the connections you make are as superficial as your facade.
But the problem isn’t that you’re too much, it’s that you’re hanging out with people that are too little.
Little story, I’ve kept a blog since I was about thirteen. Six years. And yet, this is the first time I’ve made it public for people in my actual life to read. I used to keep separate social media for my blog where it was just myself and online friends. A secret I kept hidden from my school friends because I was afraid of being judged. It was weird to have a blog, I guess it still is. Pushing myself to be myself is always a challenge. And I’m sure they are many people who don’t get why I write and post it so publicly, but I’ve found people that do get it. And for those people, this part of me is not too much.
When we’re around people that make us think we’re too heavy, we need to find stronger people instead of making ourselves lighter.
As many people know, I’m in a sorority, and I love it. But what many people don’t know is that when I first joined, I almost didn’t understand how I got in. I felt too out of place, not good enough. I thought I had to water my personality down to fit in with the women I admired so much but It wasn’t until that I dropped facades and was truly myself that I made real connections within the sorority. My unique character traits added to my friendships, they didn’t hinder me.
At this point in my life, I’ve learned a very important lesson.
I’ll be unapologetically myself, and those who want to be friends with that person are the only friends worth having.
To quote dr.suess, “Today you are You, that is truer than true . There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Each one of us is so unique. We’re made up of unique sets of variables. Different abilities, different passions, different weaknesses. We may feel other people are better than us at certain things but no one is better than us at being us. Each of us bring something unique into the world. Maybe an insta post you make that inspires someone else, maybe boy advice you give to your friend, maybe a patient you helped or a peer you taught. Tiny little things marked with the unique thumbprint that is you.
No two souls are exactly alike, which means the world needs our unique abilities. Each of us are our own kind of kaleidoscope art. Unique colors and prints and personalities blended to mesh into the person we are. It’s beautiful.
When you water yourself down for other people, you’re depriving the world of your beauty.
You’re too much for people unable to carry you. But in a world of 7 billion people, there are those you’re perfect for.
It’s a concept I try to ingrain into my brain every single day.
You’re not too much, they’re just too little.
So be your perfect self until you find those people that respond, and always leave those too weak to carry the real you.