For a long time, it felt like I was running in a hamster wheel. It felt like I was shoveling dirt into a hole in the ground but it was never getting filled up. Sometimes it felt like I was crouched in a corner, in the dark, with my palms to the side of my head.
My coping mechanisms came in the form of chasing unrequited affection. When I wasn’t doing that, I was drinking a lot and eating. I’d overlook these things like I overlooked myself. I gave them excuses because I thought I was just being a girl experiencing life.
For a long time, I felt invisible.
It was less about being shy and more of a reflection of my self-worth. It had less to do with being timid and more about being angry and defensive. For a long time, I couldn’t see it that way. I just felt crazy or defective. I wanted people to see me but I was scared to be seen because I convinced myself people wouldn’t care for what they saw so I acted accordingly to that.
For a long time, I thought the way I was living my life was what I was meant to live, even though it didn’t feel good. Even though I had moments where I’d break down crying from it. Even though I’d pray for the strength to make it through this life because man, it felt long and exhausting. I thought people dismissed me because I wasn’t worth the respect and that it was a truth. I thought I was a loser for wanting warmer feelings and it wasn’t cool to be like that.
For a long time, I took what I could get because that’s what I thought I deserved even if it meant being an option. I treated the scraps I got with more meaning than it held because hey, at least I was still getting fed. I latched onto the inconsistencies given to me because I thought there was more meaning behind it than just guys who were emotionally unaware. For a long time that’s how I lived; as an option and that I was lucky to even be that. I was scared to connect but also longing so hard for genuine affection. The push and pull with myself and how I was with others was exhausting. There were times I tried to be cool with things when I wasn’t because I wasn’t sure if how I felt was valid and didn’t want to make the wrong impression. It was a lowkey way of overlooking myself for someone who didn’t even consider me all that much.
For a long time, I suffered in silence. For a long time, I downplayed my feelings. I put a lot on myself because I was so busy chasing approval from those I felt I had to earn it from. I thought that’s how I was meant to feel validated. I thought this was normal. For a long time, I thought their lack of belief in me was a reflection of myself as a person.
For a long time, I felt stupid. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to rely on the love for myself because there wasn’t much to love, or so that’s what I thought. For a long time, I felt like an impostor. I was constantly living in anxiety that I was wrong about everything and at any moment, someone would call me out for it and I’d have to eat shit for it. For a long time, it was easier to hide this way. I was so used to the discomfort that I thought it was me and normal.
For a long time, I would be confusing to myself. I tried to be a distorted version of myself. I tried to be someone people wanted and failed so miserably at that. It came from being desperate to be accepted. To have friends. To feel like a part of something. It was always so uncomfortable. For a long time that’s how I lived, in constant discomfort. For the long time that I was trying and failing, I didn’t feel like a real person. For a long time, I’d look in the mirror and try to convince myself that I was real. For a long time, it didn’t feel true.
For a long time, every time I said to myself that I loved myself, it felt like it was a big fat lie. It felt that way because I genuinely believed there wasn’t much to love. That I had nothing to offer. For a long time, I couldn’t understand when an outside voice told me to be more kind to myself. To me, at the time, I thought I was at my limits.
For a long time, most things I did felt like I had to prove something of myself with poor results and just as poor execution. I didn’t know what I was doing and felt stupid as a result of that. Since I had nothing to show, I thought I should prove. It goes back to everything had to be earned because I wasn’t enough.
A long time doesn’t mean forever though because I’m no longer any of the above.