The more time you spend on something the truer it becomes. In my childhood, depression and anxiety filled up the corners of my room. They hid between the fibers on the knitted blanket my mother wrapped me in. Hid in plain sight as laughter on cue and heartbeat in my hands whenever someone spoke to me.
It got better, of course. I changed. I grew up. I learned to love my quirks. The intensity I scrutinized myself for. All that passion-blood inside me—how I just seemed to always care more than everyone around me. I’d get stuck on things in a way they didn’t.
I learned to love my forwardness that yielded me rejection after rejection. I never saw the point in pretending to not be interested in someone for several weeks, or months. The way you are supposed to play the game. I didn’t like that. I didn’t understand why open-affection could be so dangerous. To me it seemed everyone else took love and dating so seriously and meaningful (or the completely opposite, completely meaningless). Unfortunately, that lead to a lot of disappointment and confusion.
So, I tried to change. And happily, I failed. After all, we’re our own centers of gravity. We’ll pull back on or lose ourselves entirely. I stopped relying on what others said to make me feel like I mattered. More importantly, I stopped needing to matter to those people. I stopped searching for approval from the same people who withheld it. Instead I opened myself up to those who gave it willingly.
When things are tough again for me it’s hard to admit that. Because that means I didn’t do a perfect job. That I still need to get there, or that I slipped, or hit a road block. When I become unhinged it’s easy to feel like everything I did didn’t matter. It’s hard to admit that nervous thoughts and low moods might be back and admitting it makes it truer in a way that ignoring doesn’t. It means it’s happening and maybe if I validate those thoughts it means it will happen longer—which logically is stupid, but you know. You know how brains work.
My friend said to me tonight that I’m the type of person to see the worst in every situation before I am even able to enjoy it. Like the gas canaster under the stove, I am always ready for fire. I flinch before the coaster drops, before the plate shatters, before everything burns. There isn’t a lot of quiet in my head. It’s all noise. All siren song.
How should it be? How could it be? Where is it going? And where, in all of this, will I get hurt?
It’s strange, I’ve always thought confidence to be all-encompassing. People are either are confident or not. Today, I’m realizing its permissible to be sometimes confident and sometimes insecure. It doesn’t always have to be either-or. And on the days, I don’t feel like loving completely it doesn’t all have to evaporate.
And that’s where I’m at.
I’m still learning.