All my teenage life I wanted to be the "cool girl" The one that didn't care about their weight. The one that wore her hair messy and undone as it fell into place perfectly imperfect. Someone that would wear baggy jeans and not look like an eight year old chubby boy. I wanted to be one of those girls that everyone liked. That noone said a bad word against. The girl that people were drawn to and wanted to make friends with because you were interesting, funny (likeable) I wanted to be everything I felt like I was not. It created so much anxiety in me, I would cry, throw pity parties, throw tantrums, be grumpy, be obtuse, be obscene, crave attention, crave validation, self worth. I would also push people away, have barriers up, be needy, be easy. I would seek affection, from a long term partner that wasnt my cup of tea (perhaps I had the sense that he was the sort to thread his eyebrows, who knows)But I stayed, four years longer than I should, until he grew bored or put off by my guard, the wall I had built to not show him that I loved him in case he 'mugged me off' My insecurities, my dismissive tendencies and need for "deserving more" meant he sought love and affection from someone that was more than happy to appease him. He wasn't grown enough, aware enough to see that his own ego needed more than I could offer. He didn't love himself enough to be a man enough to not stray. In no way am I saying if someone cheats, it is our fault, but I feel I have a responsibility to see my part I had to play in the demise of our happiness. A happy man does not cheat (I was not solely responsible for his happiness) but I take accountability for not being the best human I could have been, for him, and more importantly for myself. I stayed knowing it wasn't right, and even when it became obvious we were drifting apart, I became so desperate and needy to have him still love me, that I lost myself. I believed when he told me I was crazy for suspecting something. I believed I needed to change if we were going to make it work. I believed that If I could be "better" he would fall in love with me again.
I didn't need him to love me again. I needed to love myself. I needed to actually like myself.
I found myself at 24, living a life I didn't want to live, with a man I didn't want a life with and because I was too scared to live a different one, alone, I stayed. I hate that truth, but I was too scared that I didn't deserve a different one? I waited on the sidelines for things to happen to me. And being sure that I didn't deserve it when they didn't, resentful that the universe didn't like me much, my behaviour was unlikable. It didn't mean I was horrible, but my behaviour was.
The only way I felt would cure these notions and ideas about myself was to A) loose weight or B) have a boyfriend who adored me.
I have, even though hard to admit, been to these unattractive dark, desperate spaces in my mind. I have woken up and not been able to get out of bed. I have eaten myself drunk, I have drunk myself numb, I have lost myself fully and tried scraping the barrel of self respect as thinly as possible to muster the courage to think better thoughts, smile bigger smiles, empathise with myself more freely. Sometimes I have managed it.
Other times I have not.
The truth... sometimes you have to "fake it till you make it"
In everything we do, in any giant or small leaps we take into a new phase, or a new challenge, or a new direction, there is always that moment of self doubt. What if I fail? What if I can't do it? What if people hate it or me? What if I look stupid? What if someone has already done it? What if I look too try hard? What if I do not exceed my expectations? What if? What if? What if? And I speak confidently that I am not the only one who suffers from pure neurosis and angst on these things. Am I? *looks around sheepishly...
There is a lot of things I didn't do in my twenties... out of fear, self doubt, self sabotage, ego, all anxiety based around ideas I had about things that weren't true. I used to have all these dreams, yet sit around not actually doing anything to achieve them out of fear and laziness. What was the point? I never felt like I was any good at acting. I was never confident in my abilities, but I stayed, waiting. Just in case... never realising I wouldn't book the jobs I wanted until I believed in myself a little more.
There is this juxtaposition between feeling like... we are not good enough. 'Oh no, I couldn't possibly do that, I'm too stupid, too annoying, too quiet, too slow, too disorganized, too lazy... to then thinking "Actually screw it, I can do that" Suddenly having the fear of 'Wait, who am I to think I could possibly do that? Who do i think I am?' Both are ego based thoughts, based on the same origin... "I am not good enough"
But we freaking are good enough. We are not better than, worse than, anyone. We are capable beyond our beliefs. We are more powerful than we know and that is what we fear. It is easy to attach ourselves to the idea of what we want from something. An end goal. The perfect body, the most well paid job, the big house, the validation... As much as it is easy to attach ourselves to those crappy thoughts too... I might lose my house, I may not succeed, I may embarrass myself, people might think I'm a twat.
Sometimes you need to force habits to make them become ones. Sometimes you need to tell yourself things you do not believe yet. Sometimes you need to smile, because you may cry if you don't. Sometimes you may need to get up out of bed and dance or exercise or brush your teeth, even though all you want to do is lay their mulling over your crappy, self deprecating thoughts.
I am from a family that suffers from depression. My Granddad was manic depressive (the less cool word for bipolar) and my mum has suffered for as long as I can remember in her own fountain of self destruction. She is a wonderful human being. A kind, empathetic, generous, open, funny, giving, soul. She is full of vibrations and energy that I see spilling out of her pores, yet she feels numb. She is lost, forever trying to find self acceptance and peace within herself and It has been a learning curve, watching from the sidelines unable to help or make it better.
What we often do, is black out our darkness. We sound proof the noise, we numb the pain, we smother the thoughts that creep out from the dark corners of our minds, with booze, TV, gossip, exercise, food obsession, bad relationships. So scared to leave ourselves open to all the angst in case it suffocates us, we make it disappear. For my mum, White Zinfandel was her choice of an Invisibility cloak. Mine... food. Having a focus elsewhere helped avoid the reality of where the seeds of self doubt grew. Preoccupying myself with time wasting. On things that don't matter or help improve our way of thinking. For years I would sit and waste time avoiding, instead of(INSERT A LONG LIST OF THINGS THAT WOULD HAVE MADE FOR A BETTER WAY OF LIFE)
A better way of life looks different to everybody. But for me, it meant, getting shit done, it meant following through on ideas I had, it meant feeling better in my skin, working a job I didn't hate, not chasing a dream I wasn't sure of. It meant spending time with more people I actually cared about and not on people I didn't. It was accepting that some people wouldn't like me, It meant liking myself, getting more tolerant of other humans, not putting myself in situations that made me feel insecure or shit, travelling more, asking myself questions I really hadn't wanted to answer. A better way of life meant knowing myself, what I wanted, what I didn't and loosing my fear of (all the things I let my thoughts create) that were null and void, useless and unhelpful.
And the only way I felt I could do that was by actually facing the thoughts I spent so long trying to cover up.
The question: What is the pay off?
What do I get out of moaning. Of feeling hard done by? Of having my guard up, pulling away. And the answer, although hard to admit and still I can't seem to write it now as I type, but subconsciously (when I dig deep) the pay off was
Feeling worthy. Special. Enough!