Who I Want to Be

“I can be anyone I want to be,” they told me.

But I wanted not to be me, to be someone stronger, and I tried.

I ran my mouth until I pushed my friends away, and I looked strong, but I was lonely.

Then I wanted to be someone stoic, who didn’t feel pain.

So I squeezed my heart, wrung out the feelings until I felt no pain, but I lost my joy as well.

I wanted to be someone with a family who was kind, and I struggled.

I squinted and strained and crossed my eyes, until I couldn’t see their flaws and more until I couldn’t see my pain.

“I could be anyone I wanted to be,” they said, and I wanted to be someone else, but they lied. And now I need to make peace with the truth:

I can only be me.

Advertisements

Taking Care of Myself

Today is a big day, I guess. I am going to an orthodontist, as an adult, to see if I can get my teeth fixed. Why is this a big deal? I’m taking care of myself. 

The teeth in my lower jaw are too close. They are crushed together in the front, pushed out of line, and damaging my gums. I don’t like the way they look, it’s hard to take care of them, and I am nervous about what my mouth will look like in 30 years.

This has been true for a few years. But this year is important because I am found something about it.

The last time I asked about orthodontics for adults, I was told to give up. This time, I did research for myself and found out that it’s possible. And available nearby. And I have an appointment today.

So we’ll see how much effort I have to put into taking care of myself. And I’ll do it. And maybe, just maybe, as I take care of myself, the feelings will ripple back over each other and I will feel like I am WORTH taking care of. One can only hope- and be open to those feelings if they show up.

Act 6- Departure

My husband encouraged me to leave them, mourned the ways that I had let people treat me and the things I had done against my will. I cried about that too, and the weight of my lack of concern for myself poured out on me.

I see myself like dirt, so I let people treat me like dirt, and it just continues. This is sad. No one should be like this.

I slept. I didn’t log in the next day, because the war was still going on. Yesterday, I logged on as soon as the war ended, hoping to leave, but a raid had started right on the heels of the war. Seconds were all that I may have had between events, and I missed the window of escape. So I logged out.

The raid ended two hours ago today. I should be able to slip out, delete all my friends, change my name, and create enough space that I could play on my own, if I still want to.

I haven’t left yet because I’ve been writing these entries today. My battery is almost dead; I don’t know if I will have enough power left to disappear fully before my phone dies. I’m not home, after all. 6% left. I’ll see if I can borrow a charger.

I may be free this afternoon after all.

Ascribing Perfection

One of the problems that I’ve routinely had throughout my life is that I tend to divide flaws and perfection very neatly between two people. In actual relationships, (romantic, friendly, or dysfunctional), there tends to be a division of flaw and virtue on both sides. Each person does some things wrong and other things well. Abuse tips the scales so that one person causes more damage than the other does, which makes things more complicated.

As I said, in normal relationships, both people carry some blame and some credit. In my relationships, I usually end up carrying all of the blame and giving the other person all of the credit.

I want to be clear and make sure that I explain that I am not in an abusive situation. Abusive relationships have two characteristics that are absent in my situation: first, one person actually is causing more harm to the other than can ever be justified, and second, the abuser is the one who creates and reinforces the idea that their victim deserves and causes all of the damage. Neither of those things are happening to me.

Instead, I am creating an abusive atmosphere for myself, by bringing fear and low self esteem with me into healthy relationships. It is a serious problem. Neither I, nor those close to me, can enjoy our relationships while I’m making things uneven and toxic. Well, that’s not actually fair- sometimes, the other person can enjoy the relationship, because sometimes, I manage to hide what I’m doing from them, and sometimes, they don’t care enough to look at how I’m doing.

But with the valuable relationships, the ones that really matter, the other person knows how much I pull in onto myself against their pleas to the contrary. Those relationships are ultimately suffering because of me.

And yet, even now, I give myself all the blame. Unbelievable.

Validation

As part of my general cleaning/decluttering work, I’ve come across my old school awards. When I got them, they were really important, you know? I was so proud- I had worked hard and someone was acknowledging my efforts with a tangible item! Even better, I was a kid before they started rewarding everyone, so I was really being called out as a high performer. It meant something.

I lived for that validation, for that praise. My whole worth as a person was riding on my ability to perform well. I NEEDED to be recognized. I needed to succeed. I needed my goals to be meaningful. These little plaques were part of the proof that I was worth while- that I should even exist.

I wonder if that sounds crazy. To be so desperate for something so small, but I think it’s pretty common. Is there anyone  who doesn’t seek something small to make them feel better- kind words from a specific person, a particular possession, a full social life, or something else? Don’t we all turn outside of ourselves to find meaning or value?

So, what do I do with them now? Ribbons and plaques that testify to my success? Are they really any different from my diploma or my bachelor’s degree? Those don’t affect my daily life either. Are my childhood award worth less simply because there’s not a recognized standard? Is being the lead actress in a local play insignificant simply because it isn’t Broadway?

Do small things matter?

Do normal people doing normal things matter?
Or are we fooling ourselves just to feel better?