Insecurity

I didn’t miss last week’s email. I actually had three pieces lined up, including a riveting review of Netflix’s most recent foray into cheesy Christmas movies. Everything was ready to send, I just needed to add in the link for the devotional when it published Sunday.

Before I could finish it and hit send, insecurity snuck in.

Writing about myself isn’t anything new, but my typical style was be so compelled to spew my feelings I typed everything out and shared without a second thought. Because I would write and share so infrequently, I never worried about people getting sick of me. But now I’ve been doing this for two months and (if you’ve subscribed to my emails) you’ve received nine emails full of me and my never-ending emotions.

I began to wonder if it was sustainable, if I was sustainable. It’s not like I don’t have more to say; I have lists of essays to write and I’m constantly processing emotions that need to be discussed. What happens when I have more to say and no one wants to listen anymore? How often can I talk about my anxiety, my dad, and my faith before you tire of my opinion?

Before I continue, I’m not writing this so my three faithful readers send me encouragement to keep up the good fight. I know I have people who believe in me and that’s powerful.

Writing like I do also makes me feel like a hypocrite. One week I write about weight and finding peace in the struggle and the next week I’m crying on my living room floor because I can’t lose weight. I detail my financial plans and realizations only to fall back into credit card trouble. I tell people they’re loved only to feel worthless the next day.

I know that this makes me human, but it’s hard to bare and share your soul when you want to keep readers. If I truly was honest each week, you’d be in the exhaustive struggle I face between my two sides: the one who wakes up every day determined to make this the best day of her life and the one who doesn’t want to get off the couch. It’s a rollercoaster I want people to avoid because selfishly I know eventually people would get tired of what I had to say.

When I try to vary my writing, it feels forced and I second guess myself. This is because I’m not really a trained writer and it shows. I don’t have a plan, so I rely on my emotions to feed me with quality content. Frequently they let me down.

In the past, writing in the heat of the moment and throwing it on Facebook made it easy. I wasn’t sending it to anyone in particular so any feedback was good. Now, I’m reaching a group of people who want to hear from me (or at least support me because they’re kind). I don’t want to write just to send an email every week, but I also don’t want to hide behind that excuse.

For the past week, I’ve gone over what I wanted to say in this post in my head repeatedly and clearly I didn’t come up with a cohesive way to hash everything out. What I know is I want to write and I want my writing to reach people. Not reaching as in a large number, but creating a meaningful experience.

Most importantly, I believe in my own writing. God gave me a gift and for a long time I’ve felt a need to share. I don’t have all the answers, but I know there’s a reason I do this and I want to keep pursuing this path. But right now I need to take a break.

One of my goals for December is to take away the things the add stress so I can enjoy the Christmas season. My fast for the month is no lists or diets, so it’s already going to be a doozy. Instead of worrying about having to send an email and what to write, I’m going to chill and pray about where this is going. I might actually make a plan. I guess we’ll see what happens in 2019.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and Happy New Year!

 

 

I like you and I want to date you

No, not you. At least probably not you. This post isn’t a confession to that special someone, rather a realization of words I’ve never said in my life. They seem easy enough, don’t they? You meet someone, you develop feelings and you express your expectations. Unless you’re me. 


The other day I went to my first counseling session. We went over all the details of my life for her to develop a basic understanding of me, and then she asked why I decided now was the time. At first I almost blamed my father’s recent problems but then I realized surprisingly he wasn’t the catalyst. It was, of course, a boy.

I tried to explain as concisely as possible because time was running out. I’m 26 and I don’t know how to have a healthy relationship. In the eight years since my last official relationship (equally unhealthy), I’ve had a few casual flings that just left me feeling rejected. I always felt like a secret to the boys I chose. They never seemed to want to openly date me, or even see me while it was still light outside. They made me feel convenient and I was too afraid of the rejection to tell any of them how I actually felt. I’ve lived the last decade of my life compromising and refusing to push the issue because it meant I could pretend for a little while longer that I had finally found something.

I told her I recently met someone new and I can’t even receive a message or respond without experiencing an overwhelming amount of dread and terror. And about how a piece of my past recently came back into my life and I could feel myself wanting to slip back into the darkness.

At this point, she asked a few more questions about the one who resurfaced, and then asked if me I ever told him how I felt. I responded I made it clear. I told him I missed him and I liked talking to him. But then I stopped talking as I thought about it more. No. I never actually told him. 

She continued and asked if I had ever said that to anyone. I quickly filed through the short list in my head and realized I never told anyone, no matter how strongly I felt, that I liked them and wanted to date them.

The closest I came to it was in college with this boy I was sure I loved. I had liked him for almost a full year, after he quoted the Bible to me at the bar. In one magical and unexpected move, it seemed like just maybe it was finally falling into place. I’m not sure if he told me he wasn’t looking for anything serious or if I just picked up that vibe, but I rolled with it because I didn’t want to lose him. One night, after hanging out, we were texting about feelings.

It’s important to interject I only actually communicated with this boy directly 40 percent of the time. Most of the time I desperately passed my phone to my best friend because it was easier to face any possible rejection through her.

The night in question, she wasn’t there. She was home for the weekend and away from her phone and I was panicking. He asked me how I felt and while I had words upon words upon words, I couldn’t say them and risk him not feeling the same. So instead I said, like the casual and cool girl I was, that I wasn’t looking for anything, but if I was it would be him. To my delight, he replied the same and again my brain thought maybe I hadn’t screwed up too bad. Maybe it would be all right.

It was a week or so later and I was at the bar for the weekly Thursday trip, but he wasn’t there this time. I drank too much and kissed two other guys while I was there. I couldn’t say no. They wanted to kiss me and it didn’t matter what I wanted because it felt good to be wanted.

Of course I told him the next morning. I felt horrible. But he said it was cool but that was it. It wasn’t the same again. For years I felt like it was my fault and I broke this growing thing between us because of my issues, but I can see the bigger picture now. Yeah, I made a really stupid mistake, but he wasn’t innocent either. We were both young and reckless.

Foolishly, I held onto hope for him for way too long. It’s rare for me to actual meet someone I like, so losing that was hard and he lived in the forefront of my mind until I found someone else. With each new connection, I hoped maybe this time would be different, but it never was.

Rejection was just a lesson I kept learning until it became the only truth I knew. 

No one asked me on dates. We didn’t take any photos together. There were no social posts. Just me and him at home, watching TV, late at night. Sending texts about hanging out, but only after a certain time. They didn’t seem like bad guys either, which meant I was the problem.

Were they embarrassed to be seen with me? Did they want something casual? Were they unclear of what I wanted so kept quiet themselves? Was I just convenient? Did I even matter?

These are the thoughts that echo when I meet someone new and run through every reason why he couldn’t possibly like me. I think of the reasons the others didn’t, and soon they become his reasons too. Now I’m so cautious I don’t even really want to try.

I used to think the right guy would change everything. I don’t need a prince on a white horse, just a guy who would text me and make it clear he liked seeing me. Who would ask me to dinner and maybe eventually ask me to be his girlfriend. I believed the right one, or at least a right one, could prove they weren’t all the same.  

You’re just setting yourself up for failure if you look for a savior in humanity.

Recently, after meeting new person, I realized there was no one on this earth who could come in and break through my insecurities by saying the right things. Most likely he would say them and I wouldn’t believe him so I would find a way to ruin it myself to stay protected. If I want a healthy relationship, I need to be healthy.

My goal is to be able to say ‘I like you and want to date you’ without fear of the consequences. I want to remember what I want is important and holding onto someone based on what they want will only make it hurt worse in the end. I don’t think rejection is ever easy, but I don’t want it to be debilitating anymore. 

This is what I want to say and believe in full confidence: To everyone from my past, I liked you and wanted to date you. Maybe you didn’t feel the same way, and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I’m less or I need to feel like I’m nothing. Hopefully we both find what we’re looking for now.

It’s all a journey, right?

I almost do 

I bet you either think I moved on or hate you, because each time you reach out there’s no reply. And I bet it never, ever occurred to you that I can’t say ‘hello’ to you and risk another goodbye.

No, those aren’t my words. They belong to the queen of expressing heartbreak herself Taylor Swift, but I found myself singing along as I read your text today. It’s funny because I’ve jammed to this song before, thinking of past loves, but I never thought about you.

As soon as I saw the number, I prayed it was someone else, but deep down I kind of knew. To be honest, part of me wanted it to be you. It’s been so long and I miss you so much. Sometimes when life is hard, I imagine the talks we had and how much you listened, cared and believed in me. All I want is that again, to be reminded that I can do anything and that you’re so proud of me no matter happens. 

Maybe this is why we’re bad for each other. We’re both lazy dreamers who want so much but arguably watch way too much television to accomplish anything. You support my wild ideas and impulses because you’re just as flighty as me. Or maybe I’m just as flighty as you. After all, you are my father.

I want to be rude and ignore you, because after all it’s what you deserve. What kind of person tells his daughters he needs some time away from them? Then I remember that I’m not blameless either, and the ‘get what you deserve’ game is a dangerous one, considering deep down we’re all garbage humans anyway.

I want to be nice to you because I don’t want to be the bad guy in your social media rantings. I don’t want people to think you’re some martyr with demon children because for some reason they believe everything you say online. I don’t want strangers, or even worse the people who watched us grow up, to believe the nasty things you say about us online, and maybe if I play your game I can spare the condemnation.

I want you to come back into my life because I miss your laugh and stupid jokes and the twinkle in your eye. I want you to know I’ve forgiven you and to ask for your forgiveness too.

But then I remember you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, and you won’t say sorry. Why would you? You’re sick, right? We need to be more understanding. We need to love you more. We need to put you first. 

My nostalgia for the good times of Saturday night trips to Butler and late night movies spirals into the bad, like all the times you didn’t show up when we needed you. Or when you wouldn’t pick us up on time because you were drunk. Or when you finally showed up and took us somewhere while you were still drunk.

You swoop in like the hero of my story to remind me of your great love for me, even if I can’t believe it. You make it seem like we could be happy again if I just got over my pride and accepted your love. You ignore my sister and try to pull me back in, just like every time before.

It’s almost as if you can tell when I need you the most. Maybe you still have fatherly instincts buried somewhere deep. You get to me when I’m weak and give me a glimpse of the love I used to know. You make me want to crawl back to you.

In this way, you’re the worst kind of ex. I know you’re bad for me and I know you will hurt me again. I want it to feel like it used to, but I know it never will. I even start to tell myself this time it will be different, but like every idiot from my past, you can’t say to me what I need to hear.

I’m sorry.

It’s all I need. I don’t need it to forgive you; that’s already done. I need it because it means for the first time you see how much you’ve hurt us too. You understand that disappearing and not showing up and sending emails about killing yourself can have a profound effect on your daughters. 

I don’t want you to apologize for being sick, I get that. I don’t hold your mental illness against you. But you’ve admitted and we know that your illness isn’t to blame for everything. I want you to say sorry for being selfish and cold toward us.

Sometimes it feels like I spent my entire childhood trying to convince you I loved you, because you could never believe I actually did. It got harder and I stopped trying as much, and it was like you stopped trying too. I used to believe I had to hold us together and do whatever it took, even if it hurt, but now I know that isn’t what we needed.

I’m sorry, Dad. I’m sorry I wasn’t enough and couldn’t convince you of my love. I’m sorry I saw you less and less as I got older. I’m sorry it got harder and I became more selfish. It doesn’t matter how you made me feel, I should’ve kept trying for you.

This is just another way we’re alike, I guess. We’re good at relationships when they’re easy, but when they going gets tough, we become the victim and only think about ourselves. I see this now, and I want to get better. I hope you do, too.

I love you so much. I have a great life, but there is always a piece of my heart missing. It doesn’t matter that you broke it; it still wants you to come back and make it whole again.

I just want to tell you it takes everything in me not to call you. And I wish I could run to you, and I hope you know that every time I don’t, I almost do. 

I almost do.

Lost magic

I wish I had the words to describe the feeling of magic in the soul. The kind of feeling that transports you to where everything is good and safe. Where for a few moments, everything is okay. 

I feel this when I hear birds singing during an early summer morning or when I see a plane traveling far away. I am safe when I go on walks and experience all the beauty of this world. I feel at peace and all the pieces fall into place. 

Today I had my window down for the first time this spring, on what felt like the warmest day of the year. There’s something so interesting about the heat of spring and the smell that happens as the seasons begin to shift. Even though the calendar says spring, winter is still melting away, leaving a smell that is fresh and full of hope. 

Magic occurs on days like this, where you know it will get cold again but today you will enjoy it. When you put your hand out the window and let the fast breeze remind you of all the beauty yet to come. 

The perfect song plays, and for three minutes you forget all of your troubles and you just feel. Maybe you feel joy because the song reminds you of everything you have. Maybe you feel heartbreak because the song reminds you of what you lost. It doesn’t matter if the song is happy or sad; all that matters is it makes you feel. 

Feeling is good for the soul and something we overlook in the fast paced world. We don’t process emotions because we don’t have time. We just keep going. We don’t pause to experience what’s happening because there’s somewhere we need to be. 

I remember being a child the best when I let myself in these moments. Almost all of my sacred moments come from childhood. I love early mornings and airplanes because they remind me of going somewhere fun. The almost warm days remind me of school and fighting to not where a jacket. 

These feelings transcend age and you remember what you felt and you allow yourself to feel again. 

This is magic in our world that we have moments like this. I hope you find some magic today. 

My shame below the surface

I am an emotional person. I will pause for everyone to regroup after that startling revelation. I am either so full of energy and happiness that I literally cannot stop my body from moving or so distraught you can tell from my face when I have a moment to think that all is not well. I wear my heart and everything else on my sleeve because I am incapable of keeping any feeling inside. I don’t understand what a poker face is or how to achieve it. If a thought crosses my mind, it crosses my face.

I have no in-between.

Usually, this is a blessing because I’m so overjoyed at every aspect of life. I love how strongly I feel every moment of happiness and see every new day as miracle. I face each day with an unfailing optimism that today is the best day of my life and tomorrow will be better. I enjoy the quiet moments when the light comes into my room in the morning and nights just staring up at the moon, when I can think about how everyone else seeing it too.

Unfortunately, these emotional highs don’t keep my soul from feeling downcast

This is the part where I wish I could only show you the best parts of me, but that’s not who I am. I am an incredibly broken human who lets her circumstances control her emotions. All it takes is one text/action/behavior/glance/etc. and my mood instantly spirals.

I no longer want to be around anyone. I want to go home and listen to sad music in bed and share song lyrics on social media as a cry for help or maybe so a person sees and understands how I feel. As a teenager, I did this which is super embarrassing, but I have a little more self control now. I’m an expressive person and it’s easy to share my feelings of elation, but it’s harder to show the other side.

This is partially because 95 percent of the time I tell myself I’m being ridiculous. The things that set me off aren’t life-altering or traumatic; they’re just hard for me. They’re the little things that play off the insecurities I can’t quite shake.  The same things that have plagued me forever, causing me to question everything. The insecurities that make you feel crazy.

For example, learning a small detail about a situation that changes everything; seeing two people have a conversation; not receiving the text I want; when I don’t get the greeting I want; when I’m blatantly ignored; when I feel like I’m talking too much; etc.

(P.S. yes these are vague but I have to keep a slight air of mystery)

You don’t develop insecurities overnight; they are learned through experience. Most of what upsets me relates to relationships. Because I’ve never felt confident of someone else’s feelings for me and always allowed them to keep me as a secret part of their lives, my mind automatically believes the worst and mistrusts every situation.

When my emotions are triggered, there are two separate thought processes that make me want to shut down and listen to Death Cab for Cutie. 1) The actual pain of the insecurity wound being pressed and pinched before it is healed. 2) The shame I feel for being so emotional about feelings I know I “shouldn’t” have.

I didn’t realize until recently how often I called myself stupid for feeling a certain way. When I’m discussing how I feel with someone else, I minimize the pain and assure them I know I sound silly and I’m trying to get better. I don’t fully process the actual emotion because I’m too busy beating myself up for being this way again.

When I face rejection, especially romantically, I blame myself. Logically I tell myself it’s not true, that it wasn’t right, but the shame remains. I feel like an idiot for feeling the way I did and believing it would work out. I regret all the conversations I had with friends trying to figure out what was happening and think they probably view me as a fool as well. I’m just a broken record, after all.

Then the shame makes me feel crazy because I know better but here I am, losing my mind over someone else. I tell myself it could never work out now because I’ve done too much damage by talking about it and trying to make it a real thing. I’m an idiot with a big mouth.

These are the thoughts that consume me when an insecurity is triggered. I never thought I lived with shame until I caught myself telling everyone how stupid I was as I tried to process my emotions. It took my best friend reminding me it’s not stupid to really see the damage I was doing to myself. Instead of crying out to God, I belittle myself into trying to feel better when I should let go.

I tell myself I’m being logical by calling myself stupid, almost as if I’m beating others to the conclusion.

Instead of trying to process the insecurities and turning to God, I turn inward and believe the lies my shame tells me and I let it try and break me time and time again. It’s not the circumstance I need to be wary of, but myself.

I try to keep myself contained, where I’m safe and where I can’t be hurt. This directly conflicts with my ‘everything on the table personality’ and I fail and give too much too soon. When I feel it happening and know I’ve done it again, I pull back and punish my heart for misbehaving once more.

No boy has broken me; I just keep cracking under the weight of my own self-inflicted wounds.

My shame convinces me things won’t work, because they never do for me. It reminds me of all the times guys kept me in the dark, and tells me it’s how they all are. It fuels my insecurities by saying everything’s your fault for not being enough. The narrative is a simple ‘it’s all because of who you are’ and I believe it every single time.

It’s hard to think that place exists within me. If I was a color, I believe I’d be a vibrant pink. My goal in life is to help others and always make sure they feel good and valued and loved. I believe in being kind and courageous always (although I do fail). I want to be remembered as being a light in the darkness.

But I know the place exists. I know my shame is a part of me, dwelling beneath the surface and wrecking me with every insecurity. I am a fool to think anyone would really want me. Look at the way I behave. Look at the things I say. Look at how cool other people are compared to me. I will never be right. I will always feel wrong. I will always overstay my welcome. I will never take the hint. I will always be wrong wrong wrong.

It’s not that I don’t love myself, I do. Sometimes I do something weird and chuckle at myself because it makes me who I am. I’ve stopped looking in the mirror and noticing every problem area. I’m more confident in the person God created me to be and how I’m finding more of her every day.

Past relationships and rejections have led to feelings of inadequacy and the shame still possesses me today. I can love me, but no one outside of God will. I know that’s twisted and I’m surrounded by so many people who remind me daily I am loved and I’m trying to hold onto to the ones who make me feel right and let go of the one who make me feel wrong.

I don’t write this from a place where I identified my problem and worked to get better. I remain a little broken and shame still tells me it’s my fault my fault my fault. The difference is now I know what I’m doing to myself, and what I let happen.

I wish I could end this with something inspirational or a Bible verse, but it wouldn’t be authentic. I would be putting on a smile over my pain to make it seem like all is well. That I’m fine, don’t worry about me.

Yes, all of that is true and I know God is here in this and I will desperately try to hold onto Him with everything I have. But right now, this is hard and I struggle. Minimizing my emotions and the pain I feel to end this post bright and bubbly isn’t the story I want to tell.

 
Instead I will promise you I’m trying. And I don’t know what your darkness is, but light and love can always reach you, so never give up hope.