I Want to Expand My Identity

Right now, I'm kind of trapped.

Not here, on the Interwebs - but in real life. I find I've built up a stereotype around myself that people expect me to follow. Because I am known as one of the smartest people in the class, and because I wear glasses and love books, I am presumed to be a "nerd". When I step outside of this box, I find I often get a reaction that, if not hostile in intention, is hostile nevertheless. For example, if I mention I listen to Fall Out Boy, the whole class will be like "OH MY GOSH ELLIE YOU LISTEN TO FALL OUT BOY?????" and the next thing you know they'll be giving it an unearthly amount of attention because they're so shocked I'm not the perfect stereotype. They'll be treating it like it's a huge deal; they'll be telling all their friends who will be telling all theirs who will all be showing up at my locker for the next few days all like "Omg Ellie I heard you listen to Fall Out Boy is it true? I thought you just liked instrumentals and stuff."

This is partially true. I do love a good instrumental. But does this mean I have to listen exclusively to them? No. Can I still listen to Pentatonix, Sabrina Carpenter, Fall Out Boy, and other artists? Yes. Should it be a huge surprise and deal that I do? No.

This is my dilemma. I am not scared of or insecure about who I am. I like who I am, I like discovering more about who I am, I know what I stand for, and I like it. But the issue here is I have built a box around myself, a box of this "nerdy" stereotype, this stereotype that isn't me, to kind of protect myself from the rest of the world and have a safe place where I always know my ground. I used to think this was who I was. But now, I know I am not this "nerd". I may have some characteristics of the stereotypical nerd, but I am not the stereotype. Yet because of the walls I built around myself I am trapped there. I suppose I could break out and just be me, but to be honest all the ruckus and commotion it would cause would be akin to a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off running around foaming at the throat and trying to eat other chickens. I.e., since this is the very end of my very last year at this school, just not worth the attention and commotion. Luckily, however, I am starting high school soon. I'll be around near all new students and all new teachers. I'll probably make some new friends (although I'm for suresies keeping the ones I've already got: they're amazing, and I can be who I am around them). And so I have decided what I will do: at this new school, at high school, I will have a chance to start over with my image, how people look at me and what they think. I will have a chance to turn over a new leaf, and I want to. And this all starts at summer school.

The high school I'm going to lets you take certain required courses during the summer in order to free up time for more electives during the actual school year. I'll be taking Art Introduction during the month of June so that when I get to school in the fall I won't have to take it before getting to Ceramics I, for which it is a prerequisite - I'll be able to just dive right into Ceramics. And so during summer school I'll meet my first teachers, my first classmates, get a first glimpse of those people, and they'll get a first glimpse of me. I want to take this opportunity, surrounded by all new people, to completely expand and, in a way, reinvent, my image to be totally me, not some stereotype that I'm not, and, in a way, start over. The trouble is, the first things they'll likely notice about me - carry around a ton of books, quiet, smart - will most likely point to the nerd thing before I even notice them. And it is often someone's first impressions of a person that determine most of what they will think of them for the rest of their lives.

So why am I writing this post, you ask? Partly because I want to say this, have it out there for myself. And partly because I need advice, help, anything. How do I reinvent my image, subtly establish my true identity? Any tips from anyone? I need all the help I can get. Please. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.

Thank you. :)

Namarië,
Ellie

24 comments:

  1. I feel like I should be trying to give some sort of really inspiring advice here....but I've got nothing. I can't really relate to feeling the way you do but I do know what you mean when you say everyone will react really obnoxiously if you change the way you act around them. Idk why but I always get really terrified at the thought of people confronting me about anything about me or anything involving me. And that generally causes me to not want to ever change anything or do anything that would draw their attention to me. But I do think the high school plan would probably work well. I mean none of them know you so you dont have any expectations to meet (But if they do than you should maybe consider alerting the authorities cause that is very suspicious and a little creepy). I mean your plan sounds pretty good so I really can't think of anything I'd need to say. I don't see how you could go wrong being yourself because your such a wonderfully amazing friend/person in general I feel like it would be hard for people to not like you for being yourself. (If they don't like you for being yourself you should once again consider alerting the authorities because there may be something seriously wrong with them and they might need help). Was this comment too long? Meh oh well. I really don't get how I'm supposed to end these like I totally ruined the whole inspirational comment thing but that's okay. Here I'll just put s smiley face. :)

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    1. Oh no, dear, you're perfectly inspiring :). YES SOMEONE WHO GETS IT whenever I tell like my mom or something she just yammers on about how it's my fault for being too insecure or something like that and it's like "MOM.
      MOM.
      MOM.
      You don't get it."
      Maybe we can step forward a little together :) But honestly if any attention were to be drawn to you it would be like "omg that girl is soooo friendly" "omg she's soooo smart" "omg her hair is soooo pretty" whereas with me it's like "omg she's sooooo weird like she thinks she's married to a book character* what the heck".
      VERY TRUE this is the main thing (not having expectations). Awww, dear, really? That's so sweet :) Thank you so much, you don't know how you just made my day.
      I shall keep 911 on standby.
      I LOVE LONG COMMENTS NO WORRIES MY FRIEND (AND COMRADE IN THE BATTLE AGAINST THE EVIL FIENDS).
      :)

      - Ellie

      *Despite the hardships, our love will endure. <3 ;)

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  2. Ive been in your situation before, Ellie, so I know exactly how you feel. I used to be viewed as the smart, shy girl that had two friends and was the band geek that played the trumpet. I hated that, because I was indeed so much more. Now, I didn't have a master plan to turn over a new leaf with a new school--if I did, I would've had to wait until I finished middle school, which is only now (I went through this "change", if you will, in sixth grade, and I'm now finishing my eighth grade year), but I did want to take advantage of the summer, to make an effort to meet new people and show them who I really was. I'm not sure what advice I can give you besides just being who you are no matter what and really making an effort to befriend those who have similar interests as you (ex; I became friends with people who loved the same bands I did, the same youtubers, had the same style as me, but still kept the friendships with the two girls I was close to in sixth grade), but also making sure not to forget about about the side of you that everyone thinks they know--I'm still a "band geek", in fact I'm very involved with the band not only in my school but the high school as well, but everyone knows that I'm also very loud and can be funny when I want to. I guess what I'm trying to say is just be yourself and surround yourself with others that have similar interests, and just slowly but surely break the mold so that when you go back to school at the end of summer, you're the Ellie you are, not the Ellie everyone sees you as.

    Gosh, this was really long and quite ranty. My apologies, lad.

    -m

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    1. Gosh, I feel like that's exactly what I'm going through. I shall keep your advice in mind and try to use it. I'm glad you were able to break out of the "mold", if you will.
      Oh, no worries! I love long comments and rants (although this didn't strike me as ranty tbh, so no worries times two :) ).

      - Ellie

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  3. YES I AM TOO!
    People often assume I am a good little girl and would never cheat or cuss or lie or be mean to ANYONE. Often I am regarded to as a nerd. And people are often surprised when I am not "innocent" or whatever. Sometimes even my friends laugh at me when I don't act innocent. No one really takes me seriously.
    Man, I wish I was going to high school. I was born right after the cuttoff date, so I'm in seventh grade. Then I could go to high school. I think that I'm getting contacts soon.
    If I could recreate my image, I would want people to focus on me as being a serious dancer. But I am afraid I don't have any tips for you. Sorry.
    ~Emily

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    1. YES YOU UNDERSTAND.
      That is literally one of my closest friends though. Whenever she says something more severe than "crud" the whole class freaks out and goes "ooooh she just got saaaassssssy" even if it's just "Oh, crap, I forgot my assignment in my locker." She hates it, and I can say that sometimes it's happened to me, and I hate it too.
      Yeah, same with some of mine. They're great, but occasionally they kind of doubt that I exist outside the stereotype, if that makes sense. Like, I generally don't like gym, but cross country sounds pretty interesting. I'm thinking of trying it in high school. But when I took a flyer for cross when a group came to my school to talk about it, some of my friends were like "Um, Ellie, you know you don't have to take a flyer if you don't want to do it." "Ellie, you're not doing cross country, are you?" Even one of my closest friends was like, "But you hate gym. Like, they'll work you really hard." and pretty much said I wouldn't be able to do it. So I feel ya. We shall split a cookie to feel better. *splits cookie*. Chocolate chip all right?
      Gosh, that must hugely suck :P. (just don't get contacts b/c other people want you to have them, make sure you're getting them b/c you want you to have them.)
      I definitely think of you as a dancer, tbh.
      That is all right. Just feeling like you have someone to talk to, who really gets it, makes one feel a billion times better. <3

      - Ellie

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  4. I know exactly where you're coming from and what you mean.
    If there's a music junkie stereotype then I'm pretty sure my wardrobe lands me smack dab in that box. Though yes, I certainly do love and adore my favorite bands/musicians, I am way more than the stereotype people probably presume me to be. I'm quite geeky; though one certainly wouldn't think it seeing me.
    To be fair, I don't attend a public school anymore, so I can't say that situation affects me currently, but I know for sure that it did a few years back.
    Perhaps altering your appearance/things a bit will help? Along the lines of stuff like wearing a Fall Out Boy bracelet (they've got cheap ones online,)decorating your notebooks/other school supplies with things you like, etc.
    xo Adi

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    1. Exactly. People are never all the characteristics of one stereotype, we are often composites of characteristics associated with many different ones.
      Decorating school supplies sounds fun, as does the wearing of things to represent various interests. Maybe I could get one of those Official Phandom Member #______ bracelets. Those are ultra cool.
      Thank you for the tips :) I think they'll really help.

      - Ellie

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  5. Hi Ellie, I love this post. Honestly, I used to e extremely shy and insecure, but I think one of the things that cured me of that was this awesome group of friends I have now. The reason was, I could be myself around them. I could be insane and silly and stupid all i wanted because they were insane too. So I've learned that no matter how much you're pressured with school and other things, if you can find one group of people that you can simply be yourself around, it helps a ton. And I've also seen that I shouldn't worry so much about the little awkward mistakes I make around people because they probably don't care as much as I do. I hope this comment wasn't too long. I can totally relate to what you're feeling:)
    In Christ,
    Sarah

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    1. Thank you so much :). Friends can definitely be some of the best things in the world.
      Thank you again for the advice :) I'll definitely try it! The bit about awkward mistakes is especially helpful.
      No worries - it isn't, and I love long comments anyway. :)

      - Ellie

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  6. I feel you. Just because I get good grades in school and that my writing sounds smart, people assume I'm a nerd who does homework for fun. Because of this, I am always trying to think about what I am going to say, which shouldn't be necessary. People need to take you for who you are and what your personality is like. They have to understand that we are humans too and we have feelings. They can't just call us nerds and expect us to like it. Maybe I'm not popular, ok. Whatever you do, Ellie, be yourself and ignore what other people think. They don't know you.

    ~Watermelon~

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    1. Ugh, stereotypes are awful. :P I usually find myself doing that, too; mostly I bite back things that I should be able to say about my interests and likes. You're right, it shouldn't be.
      Amazing advice, and so true :) thank you so much for it. I'll try to keep it in mind.

      - Ellie

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  7. Aw, I'm really sorry.
    Personally, everyone thinks of me as the "super nerdy dancer" which is actually exactly who I am, so I don't have much trouble with this. My friend also has this same issue, though, so this is what helped her:
    The first day at her new school, she wore our dance school's t-shirt, and put PJ and 1D pins on her backpack.
    She got contacts instead of wearing her "nerd" glasses
    She got binders and notebooks decorated with Irish dance, 1D, PJ, Hary Potter, etc.

    She's extremely quiet, and reads quite a bit, and while she still isn't quite ready to let anyone but her best friends know that she likes dolls, she read a lot of historical novels for the first few weeks.
    Everyone in her class describes her as "quiet, history-loving, slightly nerdy, dancer, loves 1D, likes HP and PJ, reader, really good in school, but still not a goody-two shoes" which is exactly who she is.

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    1. I'm glad things worked out for your friend. :) Great idea - I'll have to try it! Thank you for the advice.

      - Ellie

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  8. First of all-I admire the plan you've made for yourself and the courage it probably will take.
    Second, I know how it is with the stereotype nerd-y thing. My friends think I'm "brilliant" "odd...in a good way!" and "perfect." Say if I do something the least bit....naughty, they'll be shocked. And I'm known as the philosepher everyone turns to when they have a problem, so when I have a problem....nobody really knows what to do.

    But I think as long as you be who you are, who you truly are, despite what others say and think, it will turn out alright in the end. It may bring a bit of surprise, but honestly, I don't think people will be surprised in a bad way. They'll probably be excited to see the side of Ellie they never saw before! And remember, something that's new at first will soon become routine.

    Now, I do not go to school. I am homeschooled and take online classes. But I have lots of friends and do extracurriculars, and I kinda have an idea of your woes. ; D

    Good luck, I know you will fare well, and I hope you have a fun time at your new school!

    ~Kathryn

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    1. Thank you so much :)
      That's with me, too. It kinda sucks, doesn't it? :P
      Thank you for the advice :) it appears very sound. I'll have to try it. And thank you so much for the sweet words :) they really help.

      - Ellie

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  9. I'm sorry but I can't help you. I'm homeschooled so I've never had this problem. Hope you got some good advice!
    <3Bella

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  10. I have that box feeling too- people think of me as the smartest person and I have glasses and braces and always have my nose in a book, and it really suprised them when I start yelling or say something funny or swear.

    The 2 things I can think of is being with the people who you know will let you be whatever it is you are, and the other one is: think less.
    Part of being an introvert is thinking about things before you do them, but I find that when I throw caution to the wind the results of my actions are much more...Gwen.
    Like there was a time when Jarod was being loud and obnoxious so Mr. Rush threatened to "unleash Gwen" on him. (He says this because I am the quietest person in the class and likes to tease people) So I threw my book at Jarod* (it hit him on the head and I was glad it was a paperback) and Rush laughed until his face turned red because it was such an "un Gwen" thing to do.
    It was really a very Gwen thing to do- I am always doing things like that in my head, just never in real life because I think too hard about it first.

    *i am now known as the last book bender

    So the more I think about it, the more it seems like you're asking us how to be yourself.
    But I wouldn't know.
    I'm not Ellie.
    What does Ellie's heart say?

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    1. IKR.
      That sounds about right, except when I think less I generally do and say things I regret.
      That reminds me of one time in Spanish class when the teacher was out of the room. This one guy in the class dared me to throw a book at him. I did, and it missed. So I came over and hit him with the book to make up for it.
      I don't know quite yet. I think it's still sorting itself out. But, when it does start to talk, I'll be sure to act on it :).

      - Ellie

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    2. Ugh yes. The regretting things. X/ the only pitfall.

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  11. Ugh, I hate stereotyping so much!
    My friend and I are the 'smart' ones in our class, and whenever we get an asssessment or test back, everyone asks us what score we got. Apparently we can't keep it private, just because we're good at a subject. How does that even WORK?
    There is a super irritating girl in my class who does this, she's one of the really snobby and obnoxious sporty types, who think they're good at everything, you know the type I mean?
    Anyway, in a History class once, the teacher asked me a question, and bear in mind I don't really voluntarily answer questions in class, and in a moment of sheer panic I said a random answer, which was wrong. From the back of the classroom, the sporty girl shouted " Oi, Charlotte! You're not smart anymore!" That's a real confdence booster, that is.

    One of my other friends re-invented herself by covering her notebooks in stickers and pictures of the bands she liked, and sewed fabric patches of MCR and Fall Out Boy on her bag. She also got a haircut and dyed her hair black, but I don't think you'd want to go that far!

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    1. IKR!
      Oh my goodness, that must be awful. :P Everyone always asks me, too. Usually, I don't mind sharing, but when I do mind they just won't. go. away.
      THAT GIRL. She sounds like a nightmare. :P I've never had her happen to me, but there's a girl in the class who's super smart and always gets the super popular girls and boys calling her out like that. :P
      This sounds like a good idea. I'll definitely have to try it :) Thank you!!

      - Ellie

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    2. It's pretty annoying. I don't mind so much, because the people who do it I get on with, but my friend does get a bit miffed.
      Ooh, I'd love to see your stuff if you did!

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