When I was younger I had this feeling that there was this handbook that I'd never gotten that explained how to be, how to laugh, what to wear, how to stand by yourself in a hallway.
Everyone else looks so natural, like, they'd all practiced together and knew exactly what to do, even just the way that they'd push the hair out of their face.
My experience was pretty much the opposite: I was conscious of how I sat and how I smiled. But when I was alone with another person, I had no idea what to do or what to say. I could just feel myself panic. It sucked.
I'd imagine what people were like when I wasn't around: how they'd compare notes on how I didn't quite fit. Or even worse, maybe they just wouldn't notice.
So I tried to pick up the patterns. I wore what they wore, and said what they said. I even wrote "smile more" on a sticky note. And over time it sort of worked in a way. I made a version of me that fit in, whatever that means.
But as I grew older, the patterns kept changing. And I took so much effort to keep learning them. And I was still stuck with the problem that I started with: being terrified at the moment when my tricks stop working.
I think it took me too long to learn something. That even though there is a thing called fitting in, that is something that you can learn and practice. Those pages are so thin compared to who you are. That the way to become natural, like I wanted to be so badly, is by forgetting what you're trying to beat other people.
If there is a handbook, you probably get to write it yourself.
- 「交換意見、資訊」- Compare Notes
...how they'd compare notes on how I didn't quite fit. Or even worse, maybe they just wouldn't notice.