In the shoes of others

There's vulnerability behind the strength they see in me

- So, when I was around eight, I was in third grade, in school in Texas, and I come from, you know, a family of scientists. And the teacher said something like « God is our creator », something like that. I put my hand up and I said "Excuse me, I thought we come from monkeys?" (laughing!) You know because I'm particularly like ... my father is an archeologist, I grew up, well, you know, Darwin pictures surrounded me and something like that, so I was like « I actually thought we come from monkeys? » and everyone, all the kids started to laugh! I felt really bad, and the teacher said something to kind of ease it up like « People can believe whatever they want », but kind of, really minimizing my belief, like you're free to think whatever you think, this is Texas and you know ... very very religious.
Then that same day at lunch time, I was at the cafeteria, I enjoy my food, have dessert, I go for a piece of fruit, and guess what I got? I got a banana! and one of my classmates (laughing) is like « Hey look at Victoria, she is eating a banana, she is a monkey! » and everyone starts to laugh and to make fun of me! I remember feeling so angry and so judged and so crushed, because I wanted to go like « I'm so cool , I have science, you know, to backup my belief, what do you have? » But I didn't say it like that, I didn't articulate it like that but then I went home and I spoke to my parents and was (mimicking wailing) « This is horrible, it's terrible!! » ... And I just remember feeling very lonely, you know, feeling very very lonely and completely misunderstood. And they made me feel like « God no, I don't ... I don't care what they think, and I don't judge them for it ... » I probably didn't, again, articulate it like that but I just remember thinking « That's horrible, and I don't want to be like that ».
So that really had a big impact on me, and it's a good little story that condenses a lot of things, because one of the things I would like people to know is that there's a lot of vulnerability behind the strength they see in me. You know there's a lot of ... There's a real desire to connect, you know, I don't just want to be self sufficient and everything, I don't think I can be, but you know I'm perceived as very assertive and, you know, extremely self sufficient and whatnot. And you know I feel like it's a shame because it makes it a bit harder for me, or not harder but I have to really really mindfully explore my vulnerable side, and prepare people for it, you know what I mean, because some people just ... don't register what I'm bringing to the table, you know. I remember once, someone was like « What, you go to therapy? » and I was like « Well yeah, I love going to therapy! » (laughing), you know, it's great! And the other said « You? But you're always fine ... » and I said « Well, because I go to therapy! » (laughing). Because you know I have a very cheerful disposition, and people don't believe I can be anything else sometimes ... Or that when I'm not one hundred percent like « Heyy!!! » people go like « Oh my God, are you okay? You're not suicidal are you? » and I'm « Noooope, I just have PMS!" (laughing). Or I don't know, I just woke up like this, it's fine ... And again, the whole thing with the issue with, you know, the banana and the monkeys and all of that, I felt, you know, it's that kind of being quite strong and standing to my own ground, but at the same time, seeing that that came with a feeling of being crushed and feeling very vulnerable and well, quite lonely at that time ... and I feel like I'm not perceived as someone that can feel lonely, if that makes sense.
So yeah, it's sad ... you know, I guess it's like that for a lot of other extroverts.

- Do you consider yourself as an extrovert?

- That was my big lockdown eureka moment, I was like « Wait, V, you're an extrovert! » (laughing) I remember telling my friend « Hey hey hey guess what I realized!? » and he said « What, what!? » (laughing). And he told me like « V, you're so in tune with yourself, how can you ... what!?? » (laughing). It's just that I really enjoy time to myself, it's something that nurtures me so much and I always kind of make room for it and really prioritize it but now I realized, well, I have to do that to balance out my kind of natural tendency to really get energized by being with other people.

- Do you feel like the whole intro/ambi/extrovert thing is like a spectrum or is it like, we have different parts in ourselves and ... you know ... ?

- I think that ... we need to take those things as they are: a concept and they're words and ... I don't think it's useful to get too hung up on them, I think we need to ... first of all, understand that whatever it is that we feel we are can change. And second of all, they're just tools, that we can use, to express things, they serve a better purpose one day rather than another. But yeah, it's a good starting point, definitely a good starting point and I think the more we kind of go deeper into that, the more we can question them perhaps? Or use these concepts in different ways, make our own if needed ...
#science #god #religion #darwin #monkeys #banana #texas #belief #vulnerability #strength #connect #assertive #sufficient #vulnerable #therapy #cheerful #extrovert #introvert #ambivert

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This is a participation to a social project to promote empathy and fight discrimination.

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