What's something you were completely wrong about?
Maybe you mislearned a fact in elementary school. Maybe you misjudged someone's character. Maybe you took a risk thinking it would pay off and it backfired. Maybe you made the complete wrong call, maybe at the wrong time, and maybe for the wrong reasons. We've all made mistakes, errors, and slip ups. We've all had to learn some things the hard way. And we've all had beliefs we were certain of flip, change, or decay--either over time or in a single, often difficult moment.
So, with all that in mind:
- What's something you were completely wrong about?
- How did you find out you were wrong?
- What was it like to confront that?
- Were there any repercussions?
- Has that experience changed your outlook now?
- Can other people learn from your situation from the outside, or does the new understanding come from the experience itself?
- Are you better off because of it, or did it cause some harm?
Heterosexuality, pretty much.
A little backstory. I'm male. I'm also 1 on the Kinsey scale, which means I'm essentially heterosexual, with a slight interest in the opposite sex. I've been raised in a rather repressive environment: nothing outright restrictive or punishing, but the overall atmosphere really didn't lend itself to human contact or intimacy.
As such, many of my later-teenage days were spent being emotionally- and sexually-frustrated, with no understand of what's happening to me or a possible outlet for it. I tried whatever passes as dating when you have no social skills, but it bore no fruit.
As such, I've developed a rather damning outlook on expressing one's sexuality. I was repressed, and it pissed me off – on a fundamental, subconcious level – that others could afford to be sexually-expressive. I started viewing being sexual expressiveness, particularly in women – wearing revealing clothes, expressing one's interest in an unsubtle manner etc. – as reprehensible, as a marker of a moral failing. Yeah, I was one of those nerds who couldn't get laid, so they got their panties in a twist over others having it so easy.
Then I had sex.
As it turned out, the fact that nobody found me attractive in school did not mean I was unattractive. Within the first semester of uni, two girls wanted to ask me out (flirting in what subtle ways they knew, which was foreign and invisible to me), and two other girls (I know for a fact) had sex dreams about me. When I asked one of the latter two whether we should actually have sex – not really thinking about it at the moment, half-expecting a rejection – she said, basically, "Yeah, but let's not rush too much: I have an STD".
The STD part didn't bother me much, so when we were able to actually have sex (rather than restrain ourselves to teasing and mutual masturbation), I went into it aggressively – in the sense of "rushing head-first into the business, without understanding that I know almost nothing about it", or "how difficult could it be?". Wrong call! But the girl was experienced enough to reign me in softly, and what could've ended up an emotional catastrophe for me – the same basic scenario that I had about a month ago – turned into something excellent.
As I gained confidence in my sexual prowess – the girl was encouraging and very expressive of her satisfaction – I started to see, over a period of a few months, that maybe expressing one's sexiness isn't that bad of a deal; maybe it's even a good thing. That revealling dress that stressed me so turned from a symbol of (for lack of a better term) sluttiness into a genuine, and in a way comforting expression of an aspect of themselves that I got to enjoy and appreciate.
And it turned out, I was interested in human sexuality all along – not just the intercourse part, but everything: what kinds of sexual orientation there are, what contributes to their existence, how does it feel to be of a different sexual orientation, how is different sexuality shaped (how do people find out they're so-and-so) and how it expresses itself... Thinking back, I can't think of any one thing that would've prevented me from expressing myself in those ways, but I knew I felt like I couldn't. It was only later that I was able to both realize and pursue my interests.
Now, people who know me personally know that I'm sexually-aggressive – here in the sense of "expresses one's sexuality with higher intensity and frequency than most people". It's not something I make public, as I consider sexual experience to be a private one (probably because I'm an introvert). In a company, I can be goofy, or uptight, or critical, or observant, or empathetic – and for my sexuality to be expressed in any way publicly, I have to know that everyone in the close company are friends and mean me well.
We are all very impressionable as teenagers and we're searching for identities to strengthen and popularise us. I was never a devout Muslim, but I believed as a teenager, and would sometimes exaggerate that to fit in. I absorbed toxic masculine and misogynistic sets of behavious, again, just to fit in. As I approached my 20s, tho, I started to learn more, read philosophy, and learn programming (which opened the whole world to me because I was online all the time). Quickly I threw away all that shit the effort to fit in or to identify with something made me immerse myself in, and dealt with self hatred, etc. (I wrote about my story before, so I won't repeat it).
This hurts the "weaker" among us, like you and I, more, because as teenagers we struggle to fit in, to not be weirdos that people tell us we are. It is really hard to not fall for it. Lots of extremism stems from trying to hide "weaknesses". But if we introspect and look at these "weaknesses", with an open mind, a bit later in our lives when puberty is not as strong, we can discover that these stuff are "uniquenesses", not weaknesses. Not many parents are informed about this stuff, so they can't really help. Some of us never discover these stuff, and those like you and I are the lucky ones that do discover.
Power to you!
Hey, there was an article posted here a while ago that spoke of a very similar experience. You might want to give it a read, if only to learn that you're not alone in this https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/05/05/what-happened-after-my-13-year-old-son-joined-the-alt-right/
I'm generally curious (and do let me know if it's too personal) if your parents were involved. Was there anything you think they could've said or done to help you out of this hole? I remember myself being a pretty sullen and isolated teen and there was very little input I trusted my parents with. Luckily there was nothing like 4chan for me growing up.
I'm really glad you were able to liberate yourself from it. I can really relate to how terrible it is.
If it's any consolation, I was the same way. But after moving out and leaving to a different country and being thrusted into new situations, I was able to reinvent myself. I found out that I didn't really dislike social contact, I just needed the right people to be around, and that I was a likeable character by people who didn't know me. I also made quite an effort to try out different personas to see if I liked being that. I think I learned to force myself to socialize, because as much as I disliked the initial steps, I really enjoyed making good, meaningful friends.
Anyways, didn't want to sound preachy. Just my 2 cents :)
I totally hear you and I'm the same way. I used to date a girl who was super social and have tons of friends and family over all the time. It was a draining experience. Take things at your own pace and give yourself time to recharge, but don't give up on social experience altogether. They do get easier with time.
Good luck with finals! I can't say I envy you that. But there's nothing quite like the feeling of freedom just after you're done. :)
Religious people. I was raised to believe that they are different and somehow better than the non religious. However, from my interactions with religious people - I was even a member of a rather fundamentalist church in my very late teens - they are often the very opposite of what it typically considered 'good'. Sometimes, they are downright evil.