I remember this incident from my school days: I wanted to talk to this girl who nobody talked to. She was always bullied because she was weird (as per the class). I wanted to tell her that I understood her pain…because even I was bullied. I knew that I shouldn’t be joining the class because there was a time when I was the victim and I wished they didn’t bully me. But I didn’t go to her because I would be alienated by the rest of the class and even if I mustered up courage and hanged out with her, I couldn’t deal with the shame and embarrassment that I felt. The worst part about this was that shame was not always because of what my classmates thought about her…part of the shame came from within. I eventually talked to her but I felt as if I was doing her a favor.
Similar versions of the above incident kept happening in my life. I remember keeping quiet when homophobic jokes were cracked. I remember certain acquaintances of mine mocking Hijras and even though I secretly didn’t want to as I was too afraid of taking a stand. How could I speak up for those who are considered ‘funny’ and ‘weird’..? It was so comfortable to be privileged. It felt good that I was not the only one who suffered. I could now laugh at others.
It seems that the embarrassment you feel when you have to associate with a weird human being or a person who is mocked/alienated by others is very much related to the love you have for yourself. The more embarrassed you are with somebody’s weirdness (or anything else), the less you love yourself. Once you start respecting yourself, you don’t feel such things anymore.
These weird people who you run away from…they are only signaling something to you. Maybe you have unrealistic expectations from yourself. Maybe you think that if you only associate yourself with ‘perfect’ people, you won’t have to feel embarrassed or ashamed.
When your confidence is dependent on what others think of you then you are fighting a battle that you can never win. It is energy-sucking. Society will not always think highly of you, even if you are very respectable. Moreover, society has many groups…what one group may like won’t be liked by another. If you say that you will associate yourself with the most powerful group, then too, there will be a time when then the powerful group won’t be powerful anymore.
If you are planning to dedicate your life to impressing the society then do remember that society is just like an individual. An individual is never satisfied no matter what she gets. She always craves for more and more. Society also functions in the same way. When you are unmarried, society wants you to get married…and then, it asks you about children and then their career and then their children….the wants never end.
Isn’t it a better idea to let go of the illusionary idea that you will be always liked by the society? When you do that, you will make your own choices and no longer feel embarrassed if somebody you are associated with, does something weird. And hopefully someday, you will embrace your own weirdness as well.