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just be you

Feeling comfortable around those that make others uncomfortable

by Matt Pappas

I had a talk with a very good friend and future colleague the other night, and one of the topics we discussed was my recent issues with my mother and the realization of the betrayal of trust that occurred on multiple levels.

First a little background that lead up to the events of writing this post.

Throughout the conversation we talked about just how prevalent issues with mothers really are among survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I never really put the two together, in fact I know I didn’t put the two together, until the last few weeks when the topic came up in a therapy session.

The only reason it did surface was because of a letter that I, for some unknown reason, allowed my mother to write so she could share her thoughts about me as a child and perhaps shed some light on some of the missing puzzle pieces in my mind.

As I sit here and write this, I can feel the Anxiety rising because I never, ever, should have allowed her to write that letter. It’s fueling a serious inner rage that I never knew existed. So what made me allow her to write that letter and why didn’t I just shut her down when she first asked?

It’s quite possible that I am somehow still seeking some kind of approval from her. I’ve lived my life completely out of her approval in just about every way. My lifestyle, my music, my attitude, the fact that I can swear like a sailor at the drop of a hat. Sure she will try and tell me she’s proud of me for being a strong, single dad and being there for the kids, and having a decent career.

Any type of compliment from her just goes in one ear and out the other, or as finding out now, it goes in one ear and gets stuck in my head and causes anger. You’re going to compliment me after a life of disapproval?

The fact that I could even be seeking approval from her now even on a sub-conscience level is unbelievably confusing and flat out irritating.

So on the topic of this article, I titled it the way that I did because during that conversation I had a revelation hit me. just be you, it's ok to be comfortable around those that make others uncomfortableI’ve always been the type that gravitates towards those that some look down upon.

Feeling comfortable around the uncomfortable. I’m a metal head, I have tattoos, and my ears pierced, and I like what I like regardless of what main stream society thinks I should like.

That’s nothing new, I’ve always known that, but “why” is where the new realization comes in.

My parents are very, very conservative. They never swear, always dress in their Sunday best for church. They have been involved in every ministry imaginable. Those on the outside looking in see them both as almost modern day saints.

All my life when I was taken to church, I’ve always been surrounded by the same type of people as my parents. The traditional, old school, conservative, crowd. Maybe you know the type? The ones that will often look down on the kid with long hair, tattoos, wearing the Motley Crue t-shirt, and over abundance of jewelry from head to toe. That’s pretty much who I’ve always been outside, outside of the work environment.

So is it any wonder that I’d rather sit near those people at a restaurant, public event, church service, or any place else?

I don’t treat anyone with disrespect and I won’t outwardly condemn anyone for who or what they believe or don’t believe in. I won’t look down on you for how you dress, act, speak, or live your life. I have no room to do that and I don’t like it when someone else judges me.

I don’t mean to judge the conservative crowd and certainly not the church, that is truly not my intention at all. To each their own. I suppose it’s just part of that old saying, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”.

Or perhaps in this case, “once judged, twice shy”.

I’d rather gravitate towards the “freaks and outcasts” because that’s who I feel I’ve been for a good portion of my life. I’ve embraced it though and I’m totally fine with it. Those of us who look and dress differently tend to stick together.  There’s safety in numbers, and validation.



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Wes May 9, 2016 - 11:22 am

Thank you for sharing this! There are certainly many layers to this particular onion man. Mine is similar and I can feel the anxiousness you describe here when I imagine doing the work of peeling those layers back. I had 2 or 3 faces pop into my head from childhood, when u mentioned (basically) caring about the uncared for. Befriending the ones w/o friends. I gravitated toward the misfits. We didn’t fit into any real high school demographic. It’s the way we all felt about ourselves.

Conformity is boring. The parents I look up to these days are not the ones that fit the mold (whatever that is) but the ones who recognize that there is more for them and their kids than living up to society’s definition of “success” and claw their way back up from the hole someone shoved them in to. Oh wait! That would be a parent like you!

Be well

Lyric May 9, 2016 - 11:54 am

Wes, dude, thank you so much man. Your validation and support is incredible and I’m so glad we connected man. I am definitely not your average parent, whatever that is, and certainly not like the parents that raised me. I have their values yes and morals yes, but I’m my own person and I have my own spin on what works. I’m so unbelievably not perfect and I have so much to learn but you never stop learning so I guess it’s ok. I’ve grown accustomed to being a bit of a different sort, and have been learning to embrace it more and more. The memories of my childhood will forever haunt me but I’m hoping I can use them for something positive for myself and others. And hey, us freaks are cool right! 🙂 lol

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