I decided to give up worrying what people thought of me a long time ago, but thought I should perhaps elaborate why.
From a very early age, we tend to worry about what other people think, so much so that we adapt and conform so that others will accept us. We adapt to fit around family; the community and our friends. As a child that is exactly how I lived.
I conformed because I had no choice and because I had to fit into my life because of Cerebral Palsy. In the 1960s being a non-conformist wasn’t an option for many of us. It was always accepted that we would conform. The difficulties around being ostracised wasn’t an option either, so there was no choice, but by doing so we let go of our own identities and kept our lives in check with friends, family and the wider community.
Around the time I left home I began to question my conformity. Not only did I hate the fact that others assumed I would conform to their choices, I hated the fact that I was being taken advantage of, because of my too pleasing nature. Everyone knew I would conform therefore they didn’t have to think about how they asked, I would just fall into line. Looking back, I spent too much of my time falling into line.
When I began to take back my life, the people who had always assumed I would conform, weren’t impressed and said so. That didn’t matter so much, I had already moved on. I conformed to my own needs and began to make my own decisions on what I wanted to do. My choices had to be for me, even if those choices weren’t good for someone else.
I didn’t care what other people thought. For the first time in my life, my life was for me and I had to live it.