You’re not socially stupid

There is something I come across when I explain my schooling to people. A pre-conceived notion pops its head up and they give me a funny look. Or their mouth falls open a little. Or they shake their head. Or sometimes the person I’m talking to starts laughing a little because anyone who meets me knows I’m a jokester and like to screw with people occasionally.

I was homeschooled 8th grade on through High School. When I first interviewed for jobs the interviewer would gasp and say to me, “Well, you’re so well-adjusted for being homeschooled… socially, I mean.” I’m sorry, people, I was not put inside of a cage inside of my room with homework and never saw the light of day. I talked to people, I volunteered a hell of a lot because of my Mom, and volunteering was some of the best experiences of my life as a kid. I got to work in a Nature Center working with butterflies, a center for children to learn about space, 4-H for many years and I became the President of my club, plus more opportunities.

I’m a strange bird, I was very shy as a kid but mainly it was because if I didn’t like someone, I wouldn’t pretend to be friends with them. The girls at my school when I did go to school were so different from me that I mainly stuck to myself. The Principal of the school worried about me and told my Mom this, but luckily she never forced me to become a part of a group, my Mom knows me. I didn’t like people but even as a kid I’d talk randomly to strangers just because I could and I had something to say. I still do that today, just talk to people, any person, on any subject if I feel like it.

College was where I really loved school. I loved being with people who wanted to be there (that’s a lot of money to waste if you don’t want to be there) and having teachers who engaged me in thinking outside of the box. One of my favorite courses was Cultural Anthropology and believe it or not, Speech class. It was one of the hardest challenges to make a speech, stand up in front of the class, and deliver it. It was stupid to get nervous about it, I know, because these weren’t strangers, but I’d still be offended if I saw someone dozing in the back.

I didn’t get many friends from college though. I don’t tend to have many friends in general. I am a loner, fiercely independent and stubborn. Like I’ve said, I’m the type of person to let people vent and lean on their shoulder, but I’d rather keep it bottled up inside myself. In my family you either laugh or you cry, and crying is unacceptable so you better laugh or move on. I’ve heard many times to, “get over it,” so much so it pisses me off when people use that term. Sure, you may need to move on, but the way I’ve heard that phrase its like acid to my skin, like you’re weak and you need to be strong again. Like I’m not allowed some time to be human and be mad, or grieve, or whatever. I never let anything stop me, but when something breaks through my thick armour to bother me it’s a big deal.

A show of emotion is weakness, sadness is weakness, and not allowed. I hold myself to higher standards than anyone should sometimes, but that’s how I am.

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