Have you ever felt a little different?
It’s not easy to feel like the odd one out. We’re all a little different in different ways, and sometimes you may feel a need to become someone you’re not in order to fit in. For me, I was always quieter and introverted and felt the need to be louder and rowdier. This was especially true in my secondary school days. Not only was it exhausting for me to put up a façade, but my true self also never faded away. In the end, I was cast aside by my group of friends. Thinking back, it was funny how it went down.
“Ermm, you apologize too much lor, then honestly when you burp a lot it’s quite disgusting also,” That was what one of them had said to me on the night they had an “intervention” with me.
“…” I kept silent because honestly, I didn’t know how to respond.
“We still want to be friends with you la, but we just wanted to let you know.” With that, they left the room, and – surprise surprise – started to ignore me and leave me out of activities the next day. I too started to isolate myself.
Looking back, I knew that I was apologizing so much because I was so insecure that I wasn’t “fun” enough for them. While it was a dark time when I felt utterly alone, there was a particular moment where something suddenly clicked in my 14-year-old developing brain: I can’t control what others do and feel, but I can control what I do and feel. “Why not learn to enjoy and love my own company?” I thought to myself. From then on, I slowly learnt to spend time on my own. It’s a little awkward at first to go to public places alone, but slowly I started to enjoy the freedom of hanging out alone and observing the environments around me. In the end, I grew to love my alone time – frequently eating out alone, shopping alone, and relaxing alone. It may be a little daunting at first, but this was something that worked for me, so why not give it a try? I swear people care less than you think. Being a little different doesn’t have to be scary.
Today, I’ve become more self-assured and confident. I’ve found that I’m not alone in being a little different. Even at work, I found people who I could relate to. Initially, of course, I had mixed emotions. Do you remember how you felt on your first day of work? Entering a new environment can be quite nerve-racking, and yet there’s also the excitement of having a fresh start. I felt that way as I worried about whether I could fit in with them and whether they would like me. But this time, I reminded myself that even though my colleagues and bosses were a little more extroverted and confident, everyone, just like myself, was a little different, and that’s okay.
As time passed, I learnt that everyone in our team is so different in character, yet we still manage to make it work. I have some colleagues who are more like me and leave gatherings earlier to rest at home; others who prefer to stay later instead. Either way, the team always made me feel safe and confident enough to be who I really was, telling me that it’s okay to leave earlier if I ever needed to. I appreciated it so much, and I’m happy this has given me more confidence in my introverted self too. Being a little different doesn’t have to be lonely.
Now that I’m thinking back about my experience, I’m realizing that Cloversoft and I are similar in the sense that we’re both a little different and decided to stay a little different. And maybe you are too. I remember when I told my friends about Cloversoft, they were both curious and yet also dubious. A junior of mine had seen Cloversoft tissues before but had some questions about it.
“Why did y’all want it to be brown, did y’all dye the tissue paper brown?” she asked.
“Hahaha! No la, it’s just because bamboo pulp is brown! All the white tissues are white because of bleaching!” I responded in return and laughed, as it was the first time I had heard such a question.
What I got in return was her dumbfounded expression with eyes wide and mouth open. After her disbelief died down, she started processing & understanding the information. Now, she excitedly shares with me when she spots & buys our pocket tissues from the supermarket. Once she even excitedly told me, “I saw Naomi Neo use your tissues!” I’m incredibly grateful to have such a friend who is so supportive and accepting of both my own differences, and the differences in Cloversoft products. Being a little different doesn’t mean being misunderstood all the time.
Even I myself have been a bit resistant towards using Cloversoft for being a little different. The first time I opened the wipes, I honestly did not find the natural scent pleasant. It was a scent that was a little foreign to me as I was too used to the artificial fragrances that I usually smell for other wet wipes. In the end I just decided to give it a shot, after all, I knew how it was different for a good reason and my parents always talked about how refreshing it felt being fragrance-free. After finishing one entire pack, I found myself enjoying it. When me and my family were out for dinner and we had made use of the complimentary wet wipes, both me and my mum were complaining about it.
“This one so sticky… And the smell so strong,” My mum commented on it immediately after touching the wipes.
“Ya, makes me want to wash my hands after using it sia,” I added.
“Still your company’s one better,” That was the conclusion that my mum had, and I agreed. Being a little different doesn’t mean being cast aside all the time.
It’s quite funny looking back about how insecure I was to be different. But today after all I’ve experienced, and looking at how Cloversoft is thriving for being different, it’s given me more confidence. Confidence in my own differences, confidence in being different for a good reason, and I hope this has given you confidence to be different too. Today, I’ve managed to find friends who can truly understand and see me, while accepting me for who I am. At times, we can even engage in parallel play – each doing our own activities while enjoying the company of one another, never feeling pressured to force a conversation. I may have had my ups and downs, but I’m glad to share that I truly do feel I have my happy ending at where I am now.
Just like my own journey, this makes me think about how Earth Day is pretty similar to how my life experience has been. Being sustainable can be seen as being a little different from the rest, but there’s mini happy endings to being sustainable too. The ozone layer – something that surrounds and protects the planet that we’re living on from the sunrays – is healing itself, thanks to the combined efforts of everyone. Be it governments, companies, organizations and even you. This means that more animals & plants (& us humans too!) will be able to flourish and thrive on our planet. The small steps that we take to be a little different does pay off, whether that’s choosing a brown bamboo Cloversoft tissue, making use of fragrance-free Cloversoft wipes or trying out a plant based Cloversoft product for the first time, it’s all about trying out something that’s a little different. I’m so excited to share these thoughts with the world, and maybe even encourage more people to be part of the conversation. If you spot any Cloversoft items at your local supermarket, while you’re browsing Shopee or even when you come across us on your social media, take a chance and try us out. Sometimes all it takes is just a little leap of faith, to try out something that’s a little different, a little foreign, just like how all of us feel at times.