One of my earliest memories was from middle school. I had the biggest crush on a guy at my school. One day on my way to lunch one of my associates pointed me out to him and told him I was the girl who had a crush on him.
“Ew her? That’s who you’re taking about. Oh, hell no she is the ugliest fattest girl in the school. Look at her big ass nose. She looks like a black ass Oompa Loompa” he said in front of the whole hallway of students. Some people laughed other people stared not knowing what to say.
I knew what to say “Fuck You I don’t even like your ugly ass” I spat back bravely. However, my response was a complete facade. I was hurt by his words, but I couldn’t let him know that.
I developed a tuff exterior. I developed the ability to cry on the inside but put a brave face on the outside. Before anyone could hurt me, I would hurt them first. If anyone had something bad or negative to say towards me, I would have to say something equally mean or worst. If someone would call me fat, I would call their mother fat and ugly without the blink of an eye. I never went looking for fights or arguments but trust me I was prepared. It was such an immature defensive way to live.
Then also in middle school I learned a close friend was my foe. I learned the girl I told all my secret to was the source of several rumors that were going around about me. I lost trust in everyone, and I never wanted to get close to anyone. I trusted no one, because the person I loved as a sister betrayed me. I became extremely introverted, and distrusting. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or make any friends. I stopped trying to make friends in the 90s. I trusted no one. I would walk into a room full of people and find my way to the back where I could be alone. Some felt like I was rude and anti-social. I didn’t care what they thought because I saw no reason to make new friends or talk to other people. Why would I open myself up to someone who would later betray me at the drop of a dime?
So, from my early childhood experience I learned to be tuff fearless Janay. The Janay that didn’t really care what anyone thought about her. The Janay that would not allow anyone into her life, because of the fear of betrayal. I built a metaphorical protection wall around my spirit to avoid being hurt. However, I was still hurting because I never healed from the things that hurt me.
In November 2019 my co-worker turned friend advised me she admired the fact I know who I am, and I don’t change to try and fit in with the crowd. She told me that she admired that I have my own thoughts and opinions and I’m not the kind of person that goes along with the crowd. She liked the fact that I don’t care if anyone likes me, I’m still going to wake up and be Janay every day.
In December 2019 I went out with a childhood friend that I have known over 20 years. She advised me that she admired the fact that I stood firmly in my truth know. She said that she admired that I was always myself and I didn’t care what others thought about me. She told me that she felt like she could truly be herself when she was around me and I wouldn’t judge her. She advised me she appreciated me for accepting her, and she felt like she had to change who she was in order to fit in with others.
2019 was a hard year for me, but it was the best year of my life for self-reflection. I sat out on a journey to truly find myself and to truly be the best version of myself that I could be. I wanted to be happy Janay, liked Janay, friendly outgoing Janay. I wanted to leave my introverted side in the past and truly break out of my shell. However, that would be easier said than done.
January 2020, I found myself crying on my therapist couch about not being accepted. I cried to her as I told her all the nice things my friends were saying about me. I cried because tuff, high self-esteem, not caring Janay was a façade I adapted so many years ago. I learned how to be tuff and how to appear unbothered while I cried on the inside. Its draining always being disliked for who I am, but I don’t know how to be anyone else. I don’t know how to be popular and I don’t know how to fit in. I don’t know how to go with status quo. I’m not an adaptable person I just am always Janay. People don’t like Janay and that is something I live with every day.
After I cried my eyes out, I looked up and noticed my therapist in deep thought.
“Janay you have been through some hard stuff, and you have made it. You should give yourself credit for pushing through and not breaking. I can see that you got very emotional, but I am pleased with your willingness to change. However, I also noticed that you used the word normal a lot. You said that you just want to be a normal person” my therapist said.
Once my therapist said that I thought to myself yes, I need to change for myself, but I don’t need to be anyone else. I agreed to start an intensive therapy treatment. I also decided to accept myself for whole I am. I must accept the fact that I am different, and everyone will not like me. I am okay with that, and I love myself. My journey is still in progress and I am ok with that.
Please visit my blog JustJournee.com