Like everyone else in the world I follow several celebrities and accounts of people I don’t know on Instagram. Celebrities, hashtags, yadda yadda. You know the drill. Just recently a friend got me into watching the stories people post, which I had previously ignored completely because this is what I do with new technology and such things. I shun them until someone makes me see there’s a reason it’s popular. Late to every party….that’s me.
So I’m watching the stories the other day and a favorite one of mine in particular is a person suggested to me by (the same) friend. I look forward to this woman’s posts and stories because she’s funny and open and unapologetically herself, which is something I love to see in other people.
Have you ever seen something in a person that hit you with an unexpected jolt of realization? I was watching one of her stories and somewhere in it something reminded me of myself….but not exactly myself, more like the person I could have been. And the worlds between there and HERE.
I have spent a good deal of time since then thinking about that difference and what happened to get me here. The best word I could come up with to describe the current version of me is ‘muted’. Whatever it was I saw in that story reminded me of who I was when I was younger, and suddenly I saw how small I have become.
I live a muted version of the person I truly am inside. To be completely honest, most of the people who know me do not truly know me. Even on this blog where I am virtually invisible, I am a muted version of me.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I walked into a situation with people and showed my true personality….if I have at all as an adult. I go into every situation and feel out the people there, then I respond accordingly. I am guarded, suspicious, and closed in most every social situation.
As this realization hit me, a relationship in my life has also brought up some disturbing realizations about myself. He’s one of very few people in the world who I am my true self around, the person who makes me laugh harder than any other, and I want to think that’s the reason I am so weak with him. While certainly a reason I love and appreciate him so much, in all honesty me sticking around probably has more to do with the fact that paired with that love for him, I have a phobia-like fear of losing people. That and a nonexistent amount of confidence.
Things moved into a place for me emotionally where I felt like I had to earn his love very early on and since then I have done everything in my power to do exactly that, while never quite accomplishing the goal. I gave him the best of me though I was just his “friend”. In the meantime he has given me less and less of himself because each time he does I prove to him I’m not going anywhere. I’ll accept the crumbs.
Recently he and I had a conversation where he said most people would have left a long time ago. I immediately piped in to let him know I don’t do that (because loyalty), and he said, “I know you don’t.” Very matter of fact. Right there. In that moment the truth in his response slapped me across the face. He will do what he wants because he knows I won’t leave.
Later I was having a conversation with a friend and I hear myself telling her, “The worst part of the whole thing is that I know. I know I’ve given everything. I know I’ve treated him like a king, while I barely get anything from him. Not even regular phone calls and texts at this point! I know he takes me for granted because he knows I won’t leave. I know he’s lied to me. Not a hunch….I’ve seen actual proof. I know. And I still won’t walk away.”
I felt like trash just saying those words because I knew how true they were, and I knew how pathetic it was. What is wrong with me?
I get angry at him, of course. I tell myself this is the time I’ve had enough. This is the final straw. Then he calls or texts acting like he didn’t just disappear for an extended weekend without any contact at all, and I fall right in line and mirror his mood, acting like I didn’t spend the past few days feeling unloved and unworthy while waiting for him to reach back out to me.
Because he wasn’t my boyfriend. And because the first time he did that and I did say something, he said I was crazy and didn’t speak to me for a day or two.
So here we are. With all the confidence in the world I could call myself a “ride or die” chick and I guess with a different situation that might be a good thing. In this particular situation I could just as easily call myself a doormat and a fool. I have allowed him to treat me like that’s exactly what I am, despite how good I know I have been to him.
I am finally admitting to myself that what I am doing is not earning his love like I tell myself I am. What I am doing is teaching him I am worthless and in the process I’m losing what small amounts of self-confidence and self-worth I had.
There is a wake up call in these realizations that I definitely appreciate, but there is also this sense of being out in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. I don’t know where to start or how to get back to there….the world where I am my true self. The distance between the two places seems insurmountable.
After a long night of tossing and turning I did something this morning I’ve never done in a “relationship” before. I walked away. It sounds so small but it was a huge step for me. Understand it’s not a decision I took lightly. It broke my heart and took me two hours of tears and mental pep talks before I finally built up the nerve to hit send with trembling hands.
I want so badly for him to be the person in that place in my life, but I also know it is time for me to stand up for myself. Not just with him, but with life in general.
It’s like the whole universe has conspired lately to show me how far from shore I’ve drifted and to push me into action. I’ve been losing myself piece by piece. I have to find my way back to me.
I don’t like this muted woman I’ve become. She is weak and timid. I am not. I am full of life and fun and laughter. I have a huge heart and the people I love, I love big. I want to be my genuine self – unapologetically – no matter who is around. I want to be able to be vulnerable with people I know I can trust. I want to take chances and not be afraid to fail.
I got wrapped up in this post describing the situation with the guy, which I didn’t mean to do. It’s not all about him. He’s taking advantage of a situation I gave him. It is the most painful to me because not being good enough and people leaving me or not sticking around are things I’ve struggled with for years.
However, I’m going to turn the pain into a positive. This pain is my first step toward trying to find my way back. I don’t know what step two is, but hopefully it will reveal itself soon.