I spent my entire childhood, teen years, and the majority of my twenties avoiding myself. If that sounds backwards, that's because it is. While my peers were exploring and evolving into the people they would eventually become, I was shoving her down a deep well, and forgetting all about her.
Having no sense of self left me feeling like an alien who belonged exactly nowhere.
When you are a non-person you have to be crafty. I became adept at observing others and then projecting whatever it was I thought they wanted me to be.
I could be quirky, carefree, sexy... whatever the situation called for.
I always had a story or joke on deck to redirect whenever things got too real.
I had best friends and boyfriends who didn't know me at all. I avoided true connection like the plague. I found that a lot of people weren't really interested in what was below the surface(which was fine by me!), they really just wanted a mirror, audience, or distraction. I was happy to oblige.
This way of existence required constant vigilance. I could never let my guard down, always had to have my stories straight. It became especially tricky when different social circles collided, that could induce a full blown panic attack.
This existence was exhausting and ultimately unsustainable.
I hit my rock bottom when the charade became too much to keep up with. I had so many different 'me's and all of them were in pain.
The catalyst for my bottoming out, and subsequently rebuilding myself from the ground up was my(now) husband. We started dating when I was at my lowest, and had no energy to put on a front.
He allowed me space to simply be. He saw me, heard me, and loved me as I was. He also would not tolerate anything less than true connection, and would challenge and call me on my bullshit. (Still does)
This was terrifying, but it forced me to make a choice. I could continue on my (literal) self-destructive way of being, or I could claw my way back to myself.
Slowly, I began introducing myself to myself. It was such a process, discovering what I liked, didn't like, things I had opinions on, or didn't. Finding my voice and feeling empowered to use it, without worrying about what anyone would think.
I am proud to say that at this point in my life, I am who I am. I am imperfect, I am a mess at times, but I am ok with that. I wear my vulnerability like a cloak, and count it among my greatest strengths, because it was so hard-won.
So, all this to say: You are the longest relationship you will ever have. You are your own constant. You are worth getting to know.
If this resonates, please step out of fear. Take time, find out who you are, be that person, live on your terms.
So much love. 💜💜💜