I admitted to you the other day that I’m an introvert who hates the myriad articles about introverts because, while 3 or so of the “25 Things You Need to Know About Introverts” peg me exactly, the other 22 things inevitably leave me shaking my head, hoping rather desperately that my friends and family won’t read the article and adjust their behavior to accommodate a me who doesn’t exist. A me who’s just been put into a tiny, introverted box. A me who is so much more complex than one descriptor.
As someone who’s struggled sometimes with being enough and other times with being way, WAY too much, I find that the people I’m closest to are those who let me change. Who let me be small and quiet one day and larger than life the next. Who let me ebb and flow. Who understand that I am, at the same time, doing the hard work of loving more actively and thinking more openly and challenging my status quo… and being lazy, comfortable in my shell and remarkably the same.
These days, I’m coming to the conclusion that I am the best and worst I’ll ever be, flipping from best to worst and worst to best in rapid succession, sometimes so quickly not even I know which side is up. But it’s OK, this strange life, so human and so divine, because that’s where grace meets us. At the intersection of best and worst. And lost and found. And grief and joy. We are Both / And, friends. Always, always Both / And.
The people who SEE me, it turns out, and the people determined to see EACH OTHER as complex and clumsy and gorgeous and grimy, are those with whom I want to lock arms and hang on and keep going down this wandering path of life. Or with whom I want to fall face first into the mud to quit, just for a while, together. Because these are the people who help me, in turn, see others and to find us – all of us – both messy and magical and so, so worthy of Love.
And so, a few days ago, I asked if you’d join me, as a quick act of truth and of vulnerability, a quick way to dispel assumptions and lose the labels, a brief way to unpackage ourselves, in completing one sentence. This one:
I’m pegged as ________, which people think means ________, but really I ________.
And then you did. With beauty. And truth. And authenticity. And grace. You unpacked pieces of yourselves for us to SEE. I’m sharing some of your answers here because, whether you’ve realized it or not, you’re handing keys through the bars of our cages and setting each other free. Thank you.
25 Kinds of People We Think We’ve Got Pegged
- I am pegged as a young stay at home mum, which people think means I am ignorant and inexperienced (because I married young and my husband and I wanted to start our family early) and unfulfilled (because I’m not doing anything for ‘me’) and not contributing to society (because I don’t have a career) but really I am a summa cum laude university graduate who has travelled extensively, is bilingual, and finds fulfillment in my family. I don’t think I’m wasting my education either. It has made me into a better wife, mother, and human being. Just because I’m not out in the work force (props to those mums who are!) doesn’t mean that the work I’m doing in raising my kids is not important. Abi
- I am pegged as a homeschool mom which makes people think I live on a farm and bake all my own bread and helicopter parent my kids and judge everyone else’s educational choices, but the truth is I am a city girl who cooks stuff from boxes and enjoys the this extra time watching my teens prepare to leave the nest. OH, and I DON’T hate public schools. Heidi
- I’m pegged as a single mom – which I am! – which people think means strong and capable who is fine doing it all alone, but really I wish there was a decent guy willing to step up to the plate for me and my son. I could desperately use a shoulder to cry (or even just lean!!) on. Jessica
- I’m pegged as a hipster mom, which people think means I only feed my kids food I grew myself and I never spank, but really I am excellent at doctoring up top ramen, I let my kids run around for a whole week covered in marker because baths are hard work, and we cosleep because I put my dirty laundry on the baby’s bed. Ashley
- I’m pegged as standoffish or stuck up, which people think means “I think I’m better than you”, but really I am just quiet and reserved until I get to know you better, then I’ll totally over share. I just hate small talk and have no idea what to say. Dorothy of Life, Heart and Soul
- I am pegged as outgoing and friendly, which people think means I am self-confident and self-assured, but really I am shy and constantly worried about what other people think of me. Malinda
- I’m pegged as bossy which people think means I’m a mean, self-centered and don’t listen to others but really I just like being organized and my day job IS about telling someone what to do and I can’t help it if that runs over into my home / night life. EMac
- I’m pegged as an incredible sweetheart, which people think means I never, ever, once in a hundred years could say anything mean, or say no, or hurt a fly, but really I just keep what I really think locked away in my brain’s filter feature. Ashley
- I’m pegged as ‘a force’, which people think means I can take unlimited swings from a wrecking ball. Really, I just want to build a sheet fort and hide. Rachael of Life, with Twins
- I am pegged as quiet which people think means I am calm but really there is circus going on in my head and I am trying to keep my crap together. Em
- I’m pegged as loud, which people thing means I’m outgoing, but really I am an introvert who is volume-ally challenged. Stacy Coplin of Life on Three Sides
- I am pegged as a loner, when really, I suck at making friends. Gaylin
- I’m pegged as outgoing, which people think means I want to be with people all of the time, but which really means being with people energizes me, except for when it doesn’t and then I want to eat lunch by myself and watch movies, tucked in my bed, alone in the dark. Jennifer Vore
- I’m pegged as an extrovert (because I’m loud), which people think means I don’t need to be asked my opinions or thoughts. But I’m really an introvert and I just want to sit quietly and talk with ONE friend over coffee or beer. Greg Jeffers of G.C. Jeffers
- I’m pegged as a superhero for being the mother of a child with a disability, which people think means that I’m kind of a ball buster who has no problem talking to doctors and legislators and special educators and insurance companies and giving them the what for. Really I hate conflict, and while I’ve had to do all of those things, I always start out giving them the benefit of the doubt. I try to avoid conflict like the plaque and I’m generally conflicted about how I haven’t done enough for my child. Heather Bowie of Team Aidan
- I’m pegged as a reader who doesn’t watch TV, which people think means I’m some sort of intellectual snob, but most of what I read is mysteries and YA fiction–total escapism. Wendy of Linden and Oak
- [I’m pegged as] an intellectual, and so unapproachable, but what I’d really like to do is talk reality TV. Melanie Springer Mock of Ain’t I a Woman?
- I’m pegged as fat, which people think means I’m lazy and must eat garbage food, but actually I work very hard, I’m constantly busy, and our family diet is super healthy. Jessi
- I’m pegged as athletic and fit which people think means I feel great about myself but really I am constantly judging my appearance while trying to work on this because I have two daughters and I do not want them to be besieged by this kind of relentless battle with being okay with how they look. G Arrow
- I’m pegged as the cancer patient who’s still in treatment, which people think means I’m brave and strong, but really I’m terrified. Alex King of Third Time Charmed
- I’m pegged as someone who is open about her mental illness, which people think means having a mental illness is no big deal to me, but really I’m embarrassed and don’t want to talk about it much – I’m just sick of people’s judgmental crap when it comes to people who have bipolar disorder. Kristen
- I’m pegged as being confident and in control because I speak well in public but really I have just doubled my anti-anxiety meds. Josie
- I’m pegged as a Christian, which other Christians think means I think and believe like them, but really I ask a lot of questions in my head and reject many of their beliefs / attitudes / behaviours. They probably also peg me that way because I don’t tend to talk about these things with them; purely because I actually care about them and don’t want to lose their friendship. Jewels
- I’m pegged as serious, which people think means I don’t have much of a sense of humor, but the truth is I get highly amused at some of the most inappropriate times and at the most questionable subtleties and am used to suppressing my giggles. Judy
- I’m pegged as always smiling, which people think means I’m a cheerful, happy-go-lucky person, but really I’m moody and struggle with anxiety and mild depression. Rebecca of Home at Last
You can see all the previous answers to the “pegged” prompt here, or answer it yourself in the comments below. I love you all for this. I do.
I’m pegged as ________, which people think means ________, but really I ________.
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