Sharon Myers: Don’t be afraid to be yourself

Sharon Myers The Lexington Dispatch

Since school started recently, we have been receiving a lot of literature sent home about bullying and talking to your children about navigating the dangerous waters of fitting in socially. It occurred to me I may not be the best person to give advice on this topic because I have always thought that I am not like everyone else.

That is not to say I am socially inept. I can carry on conversations with people, and in my work, I try to make my subjects as comfortable as possible with some small talk and a few weak jokes. But when it comes to just “hanging out,” I often feel like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.

Even though I am a mother of two, we are not into all of these organized sports. It may be because my children are not athletically inclined, but even if they were, I find dealing with overly involved parents agonizing. All they talk about is what sport their child is into, what the next sport they are playing will be and what accomplishments their children have made in sports. Often, it disintegrates into gossip about this parent or child who did not excel or which coach wasn’t playing their child enough. So you can rule out the Soccer Mom club.

I am also one of those odd ducks who does not like to go shopping. Shoes do not send me into raptures, sales do not excite me, and whether or not I have some label on my purse or jeans has no effect on me whatsoever. But for a large majority of women, it is all about being seen, and they judge others by what they are wearing.

I am often confused when ladies start having conversations about these great deals they found on some fancy shmancy shoes with some famous name I have never heard of before. The biggest confusion is when they say “I only spent $200.” To me, if you pay over $50 for a pair of shoes, you don’t understand the purpose of shoes.

If I say as much, they tell me, “Well, normally they were $300,” like that is some huge accomplishment. It doesn’t bother me they like to shop or like to be fashion forward, it’s just I never have understood the point, so once again, I just don’t fit in.

There is also the subject of music, movies and television. I have never had the same taste in any of these than just about anyone I know, except my husband, and even then we don’t always agree. Once again, I do not have any ill will toward people who like Southern rock, classic rock or especially country music, it’s just not my thing. My entire family goes gaga over Jimmy Buffett, but to me, it’s just alright. Many of the movies I think are interesting, most people think are boring. Things I think are hilarious, other people just think are strange, and vice versa.

Oftentimes, I would rather just be curled up with a good book than engage in chit chat. People think I’m being antisocial or snobbish, but I just prefer to be alone. Sometimes it is because I know my philosophy on life and personal beliefs do not mesh with the straightlaced, narrow box of thinking of most people from this area. When I was younger, I would wade into the battle and defend my point of view with passion and vigor. The older I grow, the less I say because it is just futile to convince people who think they know it all that they don’t.

Sometimes it becomes lonely when you feel you are the only person in the world who still gets a moment of happiness from watching three little birds singing in a rose bush or a particularly beautiful sunset can bring tears to your eyes. It is difficult to be a one-of-a kind in this mass-produced world. You are often misunderstood and sometimes are left on the outside, but in the long run, as Frank Sinatra says, I’ve gotta be me.

Sharon Myers can be reached at Follow Sharon on Twitter: @LexDispatchSM.