Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I don't know where I fit.

I've been doing really well the last couple weeks. I let go of the toxic people in my life. I decided not to visit the social media pages of the people who have hurt me in the past. I shed my old skin and finally let go of my disappointment and grief over my old life.

I felt like a new woman. A burden was lifted off my heart. Light finally got through to my soul. My foundation was finally firm and I could start building my life again.

Today I feel lost again. I feel like I've slid back, but I'm trying not to obsess about it because that seems like something my therapist would tell me to do.

I don't understand what my place is in the world. I feel disappointed, I feel scared, I feel insecure. The other women at school were swapping stories about men asking them out and overhearing men ranking women's appearance. I started to wonder where I fell on the list, which any woman knows is a poisonous thought that eats you from the inside out. Am I pretty enough? Do I really look as fat as I do in the pictures? Does anyone want me? Or on the converse, am I just being judged based on my appearance and objectified instead of being valued for my intelligence, compassion, personality, and character? Pretty or not pretty, you feel scared and devalued, like the ground is slipping and the world is suddenly full of predators and you're the prey.

Maybe it's the lack of sleep...Probably it's the lack of sleep. But it's also everything - all the little comments and criticisms and mistakes - coming together and weighing on my mind. It's the conversations with friends I thought would be fun and uplifting but ended up being discomfiting. Where you say something and they don't react and you're scared you said the wrong thing.

I feel like I've been walking on eggshells around everyone lately. I'm so scared of saying something offensive or incorrect that gets me in trouble and tarnishes my reputation or hurts my friends' feelings and gets everyone whispering about me behind my back. I try so hard to be sensitive and to push myself to be open-minded and aware of others' struggles and points of view, to understand their arguments and be sensitive to their needs. But I feel overwhelmed. The eggshells are turning to broken glass underneath my bare feet.

I don't feel safe with people. I can't be myself. I feel my insides tighten with fear and stress over the angry words I know I'll have to patiently, passively listen to. On the car rides home, my mind races with social anxiety, going over my conversations and class contributions from the day, worrying whether I said anything offensive, trying to figure out if people were angry with me or if they were just tired.

I don't know where I fit in this world. I don't even know where I fit in my own little world - my friendships, my family, my faith. Even my therapist wants me to fit into a little box. I don't know where I stand on everything and I feel like everyone is scrutinizing my every word and move. I have to have it all figured out and be consistent, but the truth is I'm still picking up the pieces and trying to figure out how to make them into a new picture that fits the frame my life has taken lately.

A couple of days ago, I had hope that maybe someone was on my horizon -- our lives could fit together, even if we didn't fit anywhere else. But shit I don't know any more. Last week I kept catching his eyes on me. My heart beat so hard all class period, knowing he was just in the same room. I hated the anxiety it brought back into my life, but loved the anticipation. The possibility of the complete unexpected being within reach. But we spent a semester sitting next to each other and not talking...Why would we start now? And I hate putting pressure on myself to approach him. I hate leaving school, feeling like a failure because I didn't overcome my fear and end the purgatory of dreaming of what's just out of reach. I hate begging my friend for hints whether they think I might have a chance with him. I hate feeling at the mercy of what I know will, given my track record, never be.

I guess we all have things that make us feel like we don't quite fit in. We're all misunderstood and hurt and broken and vulnerable. I just hope we can all find someone - or better yet, some people - who accept us in our brokenness, who embrace us in our vulnerability instead of using it to whip us and point out our flaws. I keep worrying about what qualities to look for in a man, what red flags to notice. I guess the core of the thing is finding someone who I feel comfortable being my full, most vulnerable self with and who accepts me wholeheartedly even when I'm broken or a bit out-of-bounds.

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