Nov 6, 2012

When you find your flock...

or how NaNoWriMo has helped me to improve my social status.

To say that I was a shy kid would be an understatement. Seriously; I was too shy. For many, many years I've been chronically in need for company that fits my needs, and as I got older the things got more difficult.

When you're a kid you usually go to a park and play hide and seek, play catch and other delightful activities with other kids involved, that allows your mother to sit and socialize with other, oftentimes tired, mothers. So that's a win-win situation. You're happy, they're happy too. And then when she calls you over to go home you refuse, because you're having waaaay too much fun. That's what, as I said, usually happens. In my case the story is completely different.
The last I can remember feeling good and safe around kids my age, and having fun with them, was somewhere between last years of kindergarten and then the first grade of elementary school. I was carefree, I didn't take too much notice on the way I looked and I was confident in general. I even remember having friends at that time. I've had no problem coming up to them and just joining their games.

Then the things changed for the worse. I've switched schools because we've moved to another home, far away from my great school and an awesome first-grade teacher. I was lost and I started gaining weight from being unable to cope with such a change. And what do other kids do when seeing a fat kid? They pick on them. A lot. They've been picking on me throughout my elementary school, and switching classes only partially helped. The provoking still remained.

I must admit, however, that the kids only reacted to the way I felt about myself. I am not saying that all the other kids/people who are overweight have the same lack of confidence, in fact I knew, and still know, a lot of them who never paid too much attention on the fact that they're overweight and that didn't stop them for having lots of friends.

But not me. I couldn't ignore it and neither did my classmates. The result of that noticing of my weight issue also had a huge impact on my social life in the way that I was never invited to parties. Because I wasn't allowed to stay until midnight. So fat people just don't know how to have fun, right? I was relieved once my 8 years of elementary school were over and then I went to high school.

Much the same problem here as well, I was too aware of my physical unattractiveness and now my classmates thought of more vicious words to humiliate me. Ok so yes, I've tried to attend parties, but now young adults of my age were really interested in getting wasted and stoned. I didn't fit there, so the reaction was: you're fat and you're not a troublemaker. You have no business here.
Then I went to college and the story repeated itself once again. I tried find something else, some activity that can help me to spend time with a group of people, with whom I feel connected with. Right, you'd think that would happen. Not in this life.

The first bigger step towards changing my mindset was through the Neuro Linguistic Programming, when I started searching through layers and layers of my soul in a safe and gentle way. I started paying attention to myself, the way I looked, the way I stand, the way I feel. Things started slightly moving forward. I started my Russian language courses and met a few girls there who I felt good around at the time, but there was still not so much to talk about because they were also focused on getting drunk every Friday and Saturday.

I remember telling my brother how tired I am of this situation, and how I've used up all the ideas of where to go and what to do, to feel accepted within the group. Enter NaNoWriMo. I went to meet the people and the moment I stepped into that bookstore/cafe I felt like I've finally came home. It was everything I wanted! Young, beautiful people enjoying things that I also enjoy doing! Of course, the still hurting part of me whispered: what are you doing here?!
They will not pay any attention to you and you know that!! But I've silenced it and was right to do so! I've had so much fun that I never thought it was possible! I felt like I was a part of the group, that I was being accepted for who I am!! I finally got to talk and talk and laugh so hard at the cafe and I seriously didn't want it to end!!! I was so energized, so positive, so happy!! I can't believe that I've actually got to this point, to dare and do something that makes me feel so happy, and being rewarded with acceptance from the moment i stepped over the threshold.

I guess that for a lot of you out there this may seem like a normal thing. But to me it means so much more! I am being accepted around people my age, and they are interested in what I have to say! And that, for me, it's huge! So yes, NaNoWriMo has indeed changed the course of my life.

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