Since a very young age I have been very introverted and kept to myself. I never really felt I should conform to societal standards. On the contrary, I thought the more I rebelled against them the better I was. As a kid I never felt the need to put myself out there, not because I was shy but because I felt I didn’t fit in in the mainstream culture my school was about: private, catholic, all-girls, and strictly superficial. They all looked like Barbie, I looked like myself. For the longest time I was fine keeping to my music, my books, my studying and the only two friends I had at school. I didn’t want to fall into a conformist culture that valued “clones”. The problem was that by trying to conserve my personality and identity I became very arrogant and ended up distancing myself from everyone surrounding me. When social isolation began to take a toll on my life, I decided to be open-minded and try to understand others instead of judging them. I won’t lie: it was extremely hard to get rid of all the prejudices I had built up against “that” society, but it didn’t take me long to realize that just as I didn’t understand them, they didn’t understand me!
Socializing with different people helped me become more aware, more respectful and, importantly, it gave me peace of mind to realize that you do not have to be equal to your friends, that you can love each other regardless of any differences between you. This whole process proved wrong my belief that people wouldn’t like me for who I really was. I used to drift into thinking I either had to completely conform or completely disagree, that I had to choose a side. Now I know that life is not about choosing sides or changing who you are, but about bonding with people who appreciate you for who you are, who challenge your beliefs and guide you through life.