What they don’t tell you…

You’ve probably seen this quote on various images:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Recently, I created my own image with that quote on it. I needed to remind me that the people who mind who I am don’t matter.

By the way, it probably wasn’t Dr Seuss who said it, but that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is what they don’t tell you… They, the ubiquitous “they“…

They don’t tell you how much it hurts when people do mind. Even when the people who do mind really don’t matter, it hurts.

Recently, I was chatting to an Autistic friend of mine. We were talking about group dynamics, and the subject turned to how we were treated in high school. I said that I was lucky because in high school, I was able to be almost invisible. That meant that for the most part, I was left alone. I was very alone, and very lonely, for the five years of high school. This was better than primary school where I had stood out as being different which meant that I was a target for bullies.

For the most part, I thought that I was no longer practicing being invisible. So, it was surprising to me when my friend gently pointed out that I am still hiding a lot of me. Of course, they’ve come to know me and so I don’t doubt that they’re right to a degree. This made me think a bit about why I’m still falling into my old coping strategies, and it all comes down to the same thing.

People are very accepting when you’re just on the edge of “normal”. The second you stray too far from that edge, you experience rejection – and it hurts. People who accept you, all of you, provide a safety net that reminds you that even though you’re not “normal”, you’re still ok. But, that doesn’t lessen the pain of rejection. It doesn’t make rejection easier to handle. Rejection still sucks.

So, I need to remind myself that the people who reject me really don’t matter. I have people who accept me and they matter. Maybe one day, society will change. Perhaps the number of people who reject difference will be less than the number of people who accept and embrace difference. But, until that day comes, I remind myself:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”