This is a stream-of-consciousness piece I wrote earlier today after I had my car towed while I was in a somewhat stressful meeting, talking about my future after grad school. I was waiting around to be picked up and I just had to get all my emotions out somehow, so this jumbled but honest piece came out. I figured I'd share in case it resonated with anyone:
I feel…I feel the way I always feel when I leave a social situation. Vulnerable. Stupid. Lonely. Full of second-guesses and critiques and criticisms. All of myself.
I guess this is why I don’t get out much. It’s too painful. It’s too overwhelming. It makes me doubt myself all over again. It makes me feel hopeless, like there is nothing I can accomplish and the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
I was so excited to spend time with people because I get so tired of sitting in my room doing homework. But then I leave and think, “I talked too much. I held everyone up. I was too open. Maybe I offended someone. Maybe I interrupted someone. Maybe I said something stupid.” And I feel overwhelmed and stupid.
To make matters worse, I made a real, undebatable mistake. I parked my car where I wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t notice the sign that said “No walk-offs” (in my defense, the print was small.) But I was in a hurry and I didn’t know if my school permit from last semester was still valid and who would notice if I went somewhere else? I could get something from the store later to assuage my feelings of guilt. But someone did notice, and when I came back my car was gone. Disappeared. Vanished. I wandered around before calling home, tail between my legs. “I should be more self-reliant. I should figure this out myself.”
My sister told me to call the number on the sign, so I did. Found out they had towed the stupid car and I needed to pay $150 to get it back. Okay, I could do that, I thought. Until I Googled how long it would take me to get to the place by bus...An hour. And I didn’t even know how to take the bus. So I dialed my mom to ask for help, feeling more and more like a spoiled white girl.
Sometimes you have to ask for help. Sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes you don’t know everything. Sometimes you put yourself out there and you don’t get the affirmation you need. Sometimes you drop your Chikfila iced tea on the street because you’re so flustered about your missing car and then so you don’t even have something to drink while you wait to be picked up.
I hate that stupid parking lot even more now.
I feel so anxious sometimes, like I’m locked in a room filling up with water. I’d rather pull the plug at the bottom, just back out of thing I don’t want to do, than build up the strength to push open the ceiling to break free. All the talk about overcoming your social anxiety…that’s what it feels like to me. Trying to break open a damn ceiling.
I spent the morning talking about careers. I love and hate it. I like planning out what I’m going to do and I even like applying to summer internships, but I hate the burden of realizing I have to make myself “make it” in the world. I just want to write, to help people, and to make a difference. I want to make people feel less alone, less worthless. I want to learn to be myself and be confident in being myself. I want to find some relationships where I actually feel appreciated and wanted, even if I never find a husband.
People are talking politics again. It always makes me so uncomfortable. Nobody is being fair. Nobody is listening. Everyone is talking. My friend who I’ve been so frustrated with because she doesn’t seem to give a shit about me just texted me out of the blue to tell me her sister is coming to the Women’s March this weekend. I guess that encapsulates why politics frustrates me; it’s almost devoid of humans. It’s about ideology and action, ignoring the people who have those beliefs or will be affected by those actions. My friend texted me about the March because she knew I voted a certain way, but she didn’t bother to ask how I was or really anything about me. She didn’t even ask if I was going.
Why did she even tell me this information? So I could congratulate her? I feel like political support - of whatever side - has, in some ways, turned into a badge to get acceptance or praise from friends. We hate people we don’t know – or, even sadder, people who we once loved – because they vote for a certain person or support a certain policy. I don’t get it. I hate the hate. Why can’t we just drop the subject and why is it such a big deal? People expect me to have an opinion on politics but I would rather know what’s going on with my friends, how they’re doing.
I wish I could be more honest about how I feel. I’ve gotten so used to putting my best face on. I let out glimpses of my vulnerability but I always feel like I said too much afterwards. I wonder if it would surprise people how broken I feel inside. But then I sometimes wonder if everyone else doesn’t feel equally broken. But then I come across people who really are happy. Or I tell people about my anxiety and the overwhelming stress I feel and they stare at me blankly and then pat my shoulder and say, “Oh, I’m sure everything will be fine!”
I know who I am, but I don’t know what I want. And I’m afraid of letting everyone who I’ve told what I thought I wanted in the past. Life is a journey and journeys are about finding yourself. Nobody is supposed to have it all figured out at twenty-two. Go back to focusing on just putting one foot in front of the other. All we’re guaranteed is this moment; who knows if we have the future. Who knows what’s in the future, if we are lucky enough to have it.
I am enough for what is here right now. And if I’m not enough, then maybe what I’ve put on my plate is too much for me and I need to downsize. But either way, one foot in front of the other. Today was a bad day but tomorrow is a new one. I'm going to be okay.