25 Kinds of People We Think We’ve Got Pegged: On The Importance of Seeing Each Other

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. 

ID-1004707325 Kinds of People We Think We’ve Got Pegged

  1. 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
  2. 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 
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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 
  6. 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 meMalinda
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. I am pegged as a loner, when really, I suck at making friends. Gaylin
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. [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?
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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 ________. 

 

Lent

 

P.S. Today’s 15 Minute Project is here on the 5 Kids Facebook page. Sort of. It’s a little procrastinatey and whiny, but I DID complete it and will update a photo to that post soon.

 

Board Pin image credit to digitalart via freedigitalimages.net

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
16 comments
  1. I’m pegged as outgoing, friendly and fun, which people think means I’m an extrovert and love to be around people, but really, as much as I love my friends, I’m an introvert and being around people exhausts me! Most times I have to talk myself into going out with friends even though I know I’ll have fun once I get there.

  2. I am pegged as a welfare mom which people think means I am lazy and don’t want to work. I recently completed my B.S. degree (at age 55) and worked full-time for 30 years. But really I am staying home because my 14 year old daughter was hospitalized 7 times in 3 months last fall for suicidal ideation and self-harm. She’s in a special school now for emotionally troubled kids. I never leave her alone and I have to hide my knives and other sharp objects so she won’t cut herself (which is virtually impossible to prevent if she is so inclined). I am a single parent with no physical or financial support from my kids’ father. I survive (just barely) on food stamps (SNAP), cash aid and SSI…….just so I can keep my daughter from hurting herself.

  3. I have another one.
    I’m pegged as stuck-up and acting superior when in reality I’m incredibly shy and terrified to talk out loud sometimes. Unless I’m writing. Then I talk OUT LOUD.

  4. I’m pegged as SUPER MOM because I’m raising five “special” kids (some of them fostered and adopted – which comes with other HUGE assumptions). When in reality I spend actual time feeling totally incapable and overwhelmed and wanting to run away. Not every day. But often enough.

  5. I am pegged as capable and independent, which people think means I function perfectly well all alone and I can handle life with no problems, but in truth I am shy and socially awkward, and I am suffering in my loneliness. Beth, your blog has meant a lot to me, and I find great encouragement and much needed momraderie on those days when my kids are driving me completely insane.

  6. I’m pegged as “Older Stay at Home Mom,” which people think means my house is clean and organized and that I gave up a long career in IT to have a child. But really, I became unable to work when my past (I grew up in a “movie of the week” X “after school special” abusive home) caught up with me mentally and emotionally. Now I struggle with parenting without constant panic and worry about whether I’ll magically turn in to my own parents, spend a huge amount of money on therapy, feel like I’ve spent my life struggling to survive, and am trying to figure out who I really am and who I’ll be when I finally manage to grow up emotionally. I take my joy from my child, husband, service dog, and pets; and hope that someday I’ll see the world the way other people do.

  7. I’m pegged a teen mom. Which I was at one point (I’m now 25 and have an 8 year old and a two year old). Which people think means I’m irresponsible, uneducated, and a party-er. But really, I just had to grow up a little faster. I made a poor choice at 16, but don’t we all? I finished college sooner than most, and have created a successful career for myself. I’m happily married, and really enjoy staying home and knitting or reading. I hate it when people find out how old I am then get a blank face and stop listening to what I have to say.

  8. I am a pastor’s wife which means people think I should have it ALL together at ALL times … Never struggle with doubt or being lonely , have perfect children and only listen to Christian music… I’m really a girl who is trying hard to wear all her hats at one time ..wife, mother of 5, business owner & hair stylist ( who has hat days sometimes ) oh and I also love me some Katy Perry… Gasp.. Don’t tell anyone.. Hehe

  9. I’m pegged as an adoptive mom which people think means I am a martyr for loving kids no one else could love – but really I’m ridiculously lucky to have them and terrified every day that I’m not doing a good enough job. I’m also pegged as a loud powerhouse which people think means I’m an extrovert and never get tired, when really I need huge chunks of time alone by myself to function and I’m always, always exhausted and scared.

    1. Oh me too! Me too! I’ve adopted four of my five children and for some reason people think I’m some kind of super hero for doing that when in reality it was all about ME needing THEM.

  10. I’m pegged as a cheerleader/sorority girl type (maybe because of my highlights), which people think means I am a people-pleasing airhead, but really I am an intellectual with a rebel soul who gravitates in the opposite direction of the crowd and I was not in a sorority or a cheerleader.

  11. I’m pegged as a foster mum which people think means I am some sort of angel/super parent but really, some days I only just survive and have all the doubts and fears of other mothers. They also think that because we know we have to say goodbye it mustn’t hurt as much, but it hurts like hell and every time we say goodbye I doubt my ability to do it again.

  12. Wow. Pretty powerful when they’re all up there like that.

    What I will take away from this is a great reminder to not assume anything, and instead of judging, to just see people.

    And thanks to the people who wished me well yesterday. Today was great! And uggggghhh. And SERIOUSLY!! And I am not cleaning one. More. Thing. Eff it. And aww. And okay, FINE, I will cheer up, but I will have you know you have totally RUINED all the sulking I was gonna do, ya jerk. Ya sweet, sweet jerk.

  13. I’m labeled as a mom with grown kids, a seasoned teacher and a leader at my school, but sometimes I wake up at night and “reprocess” my entire day, dissecting every decision I made and wondering if I should have done things differently. I am harder on myself than anyone else, and sometimes I feel isolated when I find myself just hanging on for the young uns that I hope to support on this Mom journey.

  14. Beth, This is sad and beautiful, heartbreaking and inspiring. It makes me want to go out and make a lot of new friends with people who feel misunderstood and judged. Thanks for collating this.

  15. I’m pegged as standoff-ish which people think means i am difficult to get to know, but really I choose my friends and associates carefully and don’t have time for petty nonsense.

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