If you ask my boyfriend what his favorite thing about me is, it’s very likely that the first thing he will say is how bubbly I am. And I’m self-aware enough to know that about 95% of the time, this is a totally accurate word for me. I love laughing and making other people laugh, and I love making other people feel cared for and happy.
I often joke that I am ridiculously emotional and that every day is a rollercoaster ride with my emotions. Of course, not all days are insane, but, well… some are. And some days, I spend the entire day in a self-created pit, feeding my old insecurities a diet of loathing, lies, and hatred for an idealized version of myself that I can’t seem to completely turn into.
Well, today was one of those days.
I woke up this morning at 5:45am, but stayed in bed with my exhausted eyes shut until my alarm went off at 7. I couldn’t fall back asleep because my mind was racing through self-analysis.
My mind has learned to combat spiraling into the dark pit by becoming introspective. I know how to take a step back from the situation, ask myself why I’m acting so bonkers, make peace with any hard feelings, and move on to a more steady range of emotions. This helps me feel better the vast majority of the time. But sometimes, that doesn’t work.
Yeah, today was one of those days, too.
Through a long and winding story that’s much too long to explain here, I was recently reminded of the version of myself that existed in high school. Back then, I constantly ping-ponged between wanting to stand out and be appreciated for being uniquely me and wanting to be accepted into the fold of anonymity and fly under the radar. I also wanted every single person to either like me and think of me as a friend, or essentially not realize that I existed.
Well, one of the harder lessons of growing older is learning that you’re not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Whether for a good reason or not, someone (or multiple someones) has responded to my name with “I don’t really like her.”
And that used to bother the CRAP out of me. I just wanted to know what I did wrong so I could fix it. I’d run back and forth, plugging every new hole in my personality that sprung up. Eventually, I was an unrecognizable version of myself, about to erupt just under the surface.
Around my junior year of college, I made some pretty drastic changes and have blossomed into the version of myself that I am today. Most days, I love this version of me. It’s so much more comfortable than who I was — and I typically don’t really care if people don’t like this version of me as much as I do.
But every now and then, after a series of events causes me to spiral into my deep, dark pit of despair, this old tendency comes up.
“Is everyone laughing at me and making fun of me behind my back?”
“Should I take a few steps back into relative anonymity, where it’s safe and comfortable?”
“I am not bold enough for this path I have chosen.”
“I am not strong enough.”
“I am not funny enough.”
“I am not enough.”
And I’ll dry my tears enough to face the world and joke with my friends about how I toootally had a mental breakdown this morning, and yes I know I should have reached out for some love and support, but I’m sooo okay now! Don’t worry about me! I’m fine! I mean, I’m going to change the subject now or I might start crying again, but I’m fine!
No, I’m not.
And as I’m blinking back my tears, I look around at everyone else and think “why can’t I just BE OKAY?” I have an amazing family, loving friends, a supportive boyfriend, and a great safety net that allows me to jump into the unknown and return relatively unscathed.
I hate when people bring it back to the flaws of social media… but that’s what I’m about to do.
We are inundated every single day with everyone’s highlight reel. If someone puts up the “real” side of their life, it’s seems to be mostly for a laugh (“oh my gosh, look at what a MESS I am since I had kids! Ha ha!”). And I know that that’s our tendency, so I remind myself of that when I catch myself comparing my life to others’.
But y’all. It’s hard to pull yourself out of the pit sometimes. It’s even harder to let others try to help.
So, I’m using my platform to share a side that I don’t usually show the general public. This is a real piece of me, just like how the bubbly, happy side is a real piece of me, too. This is my ugly truth, and all I hope it does is shine some light on someone who is in their deep, dark pit, too.