Societal expectations can be tough and being different – even just a little bit – can make life that much tougher. Maybe you feel pressure from family, religions, friends and/or culture to do and become what they want instead of what you want. Maybe you feel trapped in an existence that just doesn’t feel right for you or who you are on the inside. Isn’t it exhausting?
Whether you realize it or not, forcing yourself to conform to what’s not natural for you is hard work. You are constantly living someone else’s version of your life. There’s a constant battle happening inside your mind. Your natural instincts are always driving you to just be yourself, meanwhile, the part of you that wants to fit in is screaming: ABSOLUTELY NOT! It’s like walking around with your cheeks clenched all the time.
Besides the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with “being normal,” pretending to be just like everyone else can make you feel alienated and alone. Even though you’re working hard to look and feel like you fit in, on the inside, you’re still always aware that you don’t. Externally you may have to hide as well, for me this looked like not having any pictures of my poly partners in the workplace. You may find yourself wondering why that is, and because you’re probably not connecting with a community that makes you feel accepted, you may begin to think that somehow, you’re all alone in this world.
That is absolutely not the truth. It’s natural for you to want to have exciting experiences and live a unique, and provocative life. And there are others out there who either choose to, or at the very least, share your desire to live life differently. The question is, when are you going to stop working so hard to live a life that doesn’t feel good?
Letting go of Normal
This is not necessarily as easy as it sounds, and it can be just as difficult to break free from your forced normality as it is to maintain it. There are a few therapeutic supports you can consider when it comes to living a life that feels more congruent with who you are. Research also suggests living with secrets or “falsehoods” can cause of myriad of mental health challenges including disrupted sleep, identity issues, self esteem problems, and even mild forms of brain damage.
Start with finding a balance between the expectations you feel that you must live up to and your personal agency. Maybe you don’t completely break the shell and let your “freak flag fly” (so to speak) everywhere you go, but just in certain situations. You don’t have to flaunt your “deviences” all around town, kilt and poly jewelry on display – focus on being as “out” as you feel you can. Test it out with people and in places where you feel safe. If you don’t have that in your life, then you may want to start by establishing a family of choice or connecting with a community that feels supportive.
Check with those you may “out” in the process. My first poly girlfriend after getting married worried my aunt that lived in the area might see us holding hands in the store. Some kinksters may not choose a safe-for-work collar, or to have a recollaring ritual after getting out of the public or professional eye. In general, there’s a certain amount of safety running into people you know in dungeons or swinger clubs, they’re there too!
Ultimately, these choices are yours to make – regardless of what others think. Letting go of normal isn’t necessarily the path of least resistance, but it offers a wealth of possibilities for what could be and for how you might truly feel fulfilled. Like I always say, common sense takes you common places, but uncommon sense can take you anywhere.
If you or someone you know is struggling with being “all they can be”, feel free to reach out below for a free, short consultation.