I tell people that I don't care what they think of me, that I can be who I am without any worry. Most of the time I'm lying. I try to believe that who I am concerns me and me only, and for some short bubbles of time I do. Until that bubble bursts when I hear someone say something about me or a second evaluation of what I have just done causes me doubt myself when I hear another's opinion. Obviously, after insisting quite the opposite, I do care. I care a lot. And it's always when I am being watched or assessed by someone whom I fear may judge me that I start to judge myself. It's as if I start to value someone else's opinion about my personal judgement and views above my own. For example, I suddenly cower and become incompetent when asked to perform in front of a group of classmates because I know that I will have to see them everyday and if I mess up or no one laughs at the funny parts I know, or I think, that they will only see that awkward image of me rather than the one before them. However, if I was asked to perform in front of a room full of 300 strangers then I'd probably be perfectly okay with that because I don't know them and we will probably never meet and so, and this is when I'm not lying, I do not care what they think of me.
You could say that I just worry about the people whose opinions mean something to me, like my friends or a crush, but they are usually some of the people who I can actually be myself around. It's the groups of people who I know already have a strong opinion of me and collectively do not like me, that I find myself feeling the most afraid of their judgement. Even though their view of me should be very low on my list of things to care about, I involuntarily do. I suppose that because it is a collection of peers that I find it the most intimidating, because it is not just one person it's a whole bunch of people that are judging me. It's a horrible feeling, and I wish I could just ignore them and carry on with being myself, it's what I tell other to do. But even when I try to ignore them I still know that they will continue to judge me. It's like having the feeling that someone is always watching you.
Now of course I know that in reality those particular people couldn't care less about me and that writing this was pointless because what I perceive isn't the same perception that they have. But I am 14 years old and so self conscious that I feel terrified going to particular places in case I mess up and they laugh or they think less of me. So I am lying, I do care what everyone thinks of me. I even think that they so much as care what I do. It's not vanity, it's pure teenage fear of being judged and until these cliques of people no longer exist in my life and my peers mature around me I don't think I'm going to be any less scared. It may be completely ridiculous, but completely ridiculous thoughts are all that my adolescent brain can manage right now.