Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dumb.

I can't sleep. I'm tossing and turning, the way my mind has been going back and forth these last few weeks since I left him.

I hate this job. I hate this state of unknowing. I want to go home but I also want to stay so I can experience more up here before I have to go back to my normal place.

I finally was able to see a therapist yesterday. I was so excited because I've been wanting more and more to work on these doubts and hurts that have been plaguing me, to work through this relationship that has been consuming my thoughts.

The woman hit me with a barrage of questions about where I was working and living and what career I wanted to pursue and whether that was really my passion. I tried to patiently answer them, understanding she probably wants to get a sense of where I am in life. But I was frustrated because this was not what I wanted to talk about, and I tried to broadcast that but she wasn't seeming to pick up on that. I missed my old therapist who I just clicked with and who got me, which made me miss this man who I just clicked with and who was so perceptive of my needs.

I finally told her I was here mainly because of a relationship I had developed over the summer months that meant a lot to me but was now kind of stuck. She just told me that I needed to ask him if he had any time free to hang out and leave it in his hands and if he said he was busy, I probably needed to move on and focus on my own life. I nodded but explained that I was confused because he had said he was too busy once to see me and then another time he had come up to the area right next to me and not offered to get together. It made me question whether he wanted to get together.

Eventually she told me that I needed to focus on clarifying my own direction in life and my own needs and working on my self-esteem, and once I did that, I would find the right person. I told her that a lot of people had told me that. She laughed. I wanted to scream. If I had a dollar for every time I had gotten that bullshit advice...

For one thing, I hate being told I need to focus on myself and work on my self-esteem. Don't just assume that because I want a boyfriend, that means I don't have good self-worth. I like myself. I also like other people. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Also, both these concepts of "focusing on yourself" and "self-esteem" are so nebulous, I don't really even know what they mean. I feel like a lot of mediocre and bad therapy can rely on these sorts of catch phrases. My session ended with an exhortation to, "Live in the present moment." As my mom said, "What if the present moment sucks?"

I recognize I'm driving myself crazy worrying about this guy. I also recognize that I hate the place that I am in in life right now, but I don't know whether it's worth staying or not. I realize I probably just need to bite the bullet and ask this guy whether he wants to get together or really isn't interested. I need to let go, but my fingers are clenched so tightly around this....I don't know how to move this forward and I hate trying to have to read his mind. I guess if he were interested, I wouldn't have to. But I just really want things to work for once. And I realize that once you find someone who made you so happy in the present moment, it's stupid to let them go without a fight.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Proud.

'Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I'll just say this is "I wish you farewell"
I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'
I'm proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
'Cause I can make it on my own
And I don't need you, I found a strength I've never known
                  - Kesha, "Praying"


I'm proud of who I am.

The last couple days - probably longer than that - I've struggled with self-doubt as I've revisited my past. I met up with an old friend from the first college I attended yesterday. We had some great conversations about faith and our disillusionment with the Evangelical Christian culture and our evolving understanding of religion. It was nice to talk about things that have been on my mind for a long time but who I haven't really had much opportunity to discuss with someone who's on a similar page.

But on a certain level, I left wanting something I couldn't quite identify. I realized that on a certain level, our conversation had left me feeling bad about myself. My friend seemed so confident and self-assured. She knows how many kids she wants. She knows what kind of man she wants. She's comfortable without a man. She seemed to maybe even be judging me for being hung up on the man that I am. She has a fervent faith and prays and goes to church and has strong views on political issues. I just felt like a bit of a mess.

I don't know where I'm going. I've probably said this before, but I'm afraid to plan my life out any more and I constantly flip-flop about what career I should pursue. I don't know whether I want kids. I know I get hung up on guys who don't like me back. I know I'm messy. I know I overshare. I know I'm not entirely sure what my faith looks like. I know I like to push the boundaries of the straight and narrow but I also am a square compared to most of the world. I know I shouldn't be writing all my feelings on the Internet. I know I don't know how to pursue the man I want and I've probably made a mistake in pursuing him as much as I have. I know I should probably find a church. I should know where I stand on all the issues. I should be passionate about more than mental health advocacy because that's not what's in vogue to care about.

But I kind of like me anyways. If I overshare, it's because I'm trying to be vulnerable to help other people who are going through something difficult but maybe are afraid to say something. If I love people who don't love me back, at least I love without expecting something in return. I hope I'm honest and that I let people know how much I care. I know it doesn't come as easily to everyone as it does to me, but it's nice to know you're appreciated, especially after you have expressed admiration for somebody else.

I guess I'm frustrated because I invested a lot into this friendship but never felt like that was completely reciprocated, especially after I left that school and we were geographically separated. I had to stop talking to her for a time because I was so emotionally drained getting angry at how she wouldn't acknowledge my feelings or share about herself and be honest about her own life. All of a sudden, in the last couple months she was suddenly interested in being friends again. It was nice to meet, but I felt a bit incensed that after she didn't prioritize our relationship, she could make me feel bad about myself. If anyone should feel bad, it's her for not appreciating my friendship and for never apologizing for never (as far as I recall) checking up on me when I was fighting depression after I left school.

You don't have to have it together or pretend you don't. Who even likes being around someone like that. Maybe it's my personality, but my favorite moments I've had with people have been when they let the pretenses drop and they were goofy and weird or honest and raw. It's easy to feel inferior to people who don't appreciate the love or friendship we extend them because that means they have the power to reject us and a reason to not want us.

But tonight I'm listening to a song I wrote about the guy I liked my junior year who I always kind of wish things had worked out with, and I'm proud of myself. Even if nobody wants to listen, I created that song, and it is a masterwork to me in that it perfectly encapsulates how I felt in the period that I wrote it; it is a monument to a heartache that has haunted me the past three years of my life. It bring a tiny bit of healing to me whenever I sing it. I created something beautiful out of shit. I keep doing that.

People may never apologize for the way they've let me down or even outright hurt me, but I choose to let go because I don't want to hurt myself any more.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Black River.

I'd like to say to you come follow
But I'm afraid my heart may hollow here
And though it seems the water is shallow
It's over my head, but still I swallow
A black river runs down my face
I guess now is not the time or place
A thousand years is but a day, they say
And maybe in a thousand more I will find my way 
                        - Sierra Hull, "Black River"


I always end up putting a positive spin on things. The songs I've written about my depression end up with a comforting chorus of joy finding me or God understanding our pain. When I try to reach out for help to people, I couch my desperation in statements of optimism. I poeticize the pain. I point out what I've learned from difficult periods and turn it into a teaching opportunity. So people ignore what I say or give a tight smile and say good for you, I'm glad you're out of danger.

Inside I feel like I am dying sometimes. And if I'm not dying, I wish I were.

I'm sick of this back and forth. I'm sick of being faked out, thinking I am out of danger, I have crossed the threshold and am in brighter territory, only to find that dull, familiar ache that can't be put into words has found me again.

I thought this summer would be good. Parts of it were. But I didn't know that until it was over. Now I'm home, where I longed to be, and I feel so numb and empty and raw, it's like I'm being emotionally crucified. I wish I could go back and relive this summer and cherish it, but at the same time, I know it was what it was, and I was completely justified for being overwhelmed by it, wanting it to be over.

I don't see how I can ever find purpose of fulfillment in life. I can't find meaningful relationships. Nobody I love, platonic or romantically, seems to feel strongly enough back to make the relationship keep on going. I know people say not to put relationships first, but I can only feel so fulfilled by careers and blog posts and other shit. I want to pour out my love and know it is appreciated. And maybe even receive a little love in return.

Which brings me to him. I know there are a million red flags and reasons I shouldn't love him, but I almost think I might. Or I could, if I got the chance. And oh, my God...God, how I miss him. Please, you have to know that, God. It's like I left part of myself elsewhere. Sometimes in those last weeks, I would see him across the room and feel like my heart was outside of my chest, right there with him.

I tried my best to walk the tightrope...Say little things to show I cared about him and admired him, brush my arm against his, say thank you - attempts to give a bit of an idea that I had feelings for him without going too far. Sometimes I wish I could go back and be more straightforward. I wish I could go back to that last night and look him in the eyes after we said good-bye or uncross my arms while we were at the graveyard - some signal that I felt more than I was letting on to. But then I think that if he was interested, he would have given more signs himself. And I remember all the reasons we probably wouldn't work. And all the reasons he probably isn't interested. But I can't shake that feeling that my heart is elsewhere and there is no other him in the world.

Nothing makes sense and everything feels like shit. I know I accomplished something great this summer. I know it is all part of a journey. I know these are growing pains. But sometimes I'm afraid all of life is growing pains. Because we never stop changing. And I don't know if I can bear that.

I'm not even going to try and say something positive.

Friday, August 4, 2017

hollow.

I feel numb.

I feel hollow.

I hate today.

I can't wait for tomorrow. Maybe if I get out of this place, I will shed this skin I feel trapped in. Maybe if I start moving again, I can get away from this horrible emptiness.

I know I only have a short time left with him. I spent the whole summer dreaming about how we would keep up after this was all over, but now it's niggling in the back of my mind that we might never see each other again. Who knows if he'll ever want to talk again. He has plenty else going on in his life.

I didn't realize how badly I had it for him until I felt the hollowness of not having him near. We even saw each other, but we haven't gotten to really talk. Every part of me aches to text him, to ask to do something together, but I always tell myself he's busy.

Part of me keeps thinking maybe this was just something that was supposed to help me get through this awful summer, a ray of light in an otherwise dreary time, and now I'm just supposed to move on. But I hate that part of me. I hate that thought.

I wish we could either go backwards, to when we finally got to be alone together on equal terms. When he was honest. When he needed me. When he wanted me there. Or we could go forwards and I could know whether this is a lost cause or my happy destiny.

I know we're so different and I am probably too naive to be with him. He's probably not sentimental enough for me. But I care for him in a way I've never felt for anyone else. For once, I felt like letting go and not overanalyzing and just falling, but of course I've fallen for yet another inaccessible person.

I'm numb.

I'm hollow.

I don't know where to turn.

I'm supposed to be past all this - the unrequited love, the falling for people who don't want me, the depression, the panic attacks. But they keep coming back. I keep falling into them.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

insecure.

Isn't it stupid, sad, and funny how you can unravel so quickly. I don't know if it's the stress or the PMS or that I forgot to take my meds this morning, but while I was okay - not great, but okay - this morning, tonight I'm in one of the darkest places I've been in in a while. People said little things here and there and my anxious mind took advantage of my insecurities to spiral those minor comments into a much bigger ordeal.

I feel inferior because I didn't go to a "good school." It didn't help when he made the comment about my "backwoods school in the backwoods town." Everyone probably thinks I'm stupid because I went to schools they've never heard of.

I feel stupid because this summer just keeps proving over and over again that there's so much I don't know.

I feel frustrated that I can't express my feelings to people when they've hurt me. I don't want to get mad and say something hateful that I can never take back. But that means I just don't say anything and the anger festers inside of me. I hate that about myself, but I don't know how to change.

I feel insecure because I hate criticism and I'm already so fragile inside and words on a screen are so hard to interpret. They feel so harsh.

I feel disappointed because I can't get the chance to get to know a guy and I always freeze when we're all talking in a group and I can't be myself. I just want to be appreciated for who I am, to get to know someone for who they are. Why does it have to be so hard.

I feel like a square because I don't drink but I don't because I'm screwed up and I don't want to become dependent on alcohol to try and alleviate the pain and just end up making things worse.

I feel lost because I don't have a ten-year plan. I don't even have a plan for the next ten months. I don't know what my calling is. I can't find my purpose or my place. I feel like I don't have an impact. The path I'm on now feels useless and I hate the rat race of advancing yourself and impressing big wigs instead of helping other people. I hate the criticism and the stress and the feeling stupid all the time.

I'm sick of the suicide jokes, the toss-away schizophrenia comments, the misuse of the descriptor "manic-depressive," the fake masks we put on and the stones we through in an effort to make ourselves seem cool. I don't know how to correct people when they say insensitive crap and I'm mad that people don't realize that it's not okay to joke about people's suffering.

I don't have answers. I'm haunted by the wrong answers I gave. I keep trying to put myself out there, but it's terrifying. I've grown so much, but people don't see that. I wish people could be more open, more sensitive, more loving. I wish we didn't all have to tear each other down. I wish I could write crap like these blog posts and they could be considered a contribution to the world, not something I have to hope my boss never finds.

It's stupid, sad, and funny how this darkness hides in the back of my mind, haunting me with the fear it will return. It amazes me how even when I'm doing well, the thought of turning back to self-injury still lingers in the back of my mind. I don't know why. I don't even have scars any more. I don't want to go back there, but for some reason it's always calling to me. Some nights I hear it louder than others - I have to put the music on a little louder to try and drown it out. I have to count the minutes until tomorrow to make sure I keep going. I have to remind myself to keep breathing. Count up and down. Maybe in the morning life will look a tiny bit clearer. Or I'll be busy enough to crowd out all these overwhelming feels and thoughts, if only until they all they come crashing back out of the closet again.

But I'll just take out my headphones and broom and sweep up the mess as best I can one more time.

One foot in front of the other. We can do this. We'll make it through this. We may never bloom where we're planted or whatever it is they say, but maybe one of these days we'll be able to put down some roots and feel comfortable in this skin.

Monday, April 24, 2017

This is who I am.

The past several days, I've been dealt some heavy blows that have left me reeling. I've taken trips back to some of the darker parts of my thoughts and emotions, which has left me feeling pretty unmotivated to do schoolwork or exist really. My counselor had to stop coming to my school's campus because of how busy her life has gotten, so I've been therapist-less for over a month. Before, I was doing pretty well and figured I should start learning to stand on my own two feet anyways, so I didn't bother to try and start with a new counselor. I guess I also dreaded the whole "getting to know you" process, which can be tedious and at times even demeaning, especially with counselors who aren't as good at what they do. Teaching someone about your entire background can take several sessions in itself and they might still not understand where you're coming from, so I figured I'd be okay without.

Anyways, since my last post, I found out that: 1) because of a series of mistakes on my school's part, I can't graduate next month, and 2) the guy I liked is even crappier of a person than I thought, so now I definitely can't like him. Two big things that have been driving me through all the stress and busyness of this semester have been: 1) the knowledge that I'm finally graduating, and 2) the excitement of liking someone, talking about them, trying to talk to them, and anticipating the possibility of dating them. I think I had honestly convinced myself that I would finally get the chance to have a romantic relationship by the time summer rolled around, and I was so excited by that prospect that it propelled me through all the assignments and late nights. I like most of my schoolwork this semester, I love creative projects, but nothing motivates and excites me the way having a crush does. I don't know why that is, but it's just the truth.

Unfortunately, the reverse is that nothing breaks me the way that "losing" that person does. Usually I realize they just aren't interested in me, though sometimes, like in this case, I have to come to the cold, hard acceptance that they aren't the person for me, even though I really, really admire them. I really love caring about people, admiring them, looking for the best in them, so turning myself against someone I've grown to adore is heartbreaking. I guess that's why I (and many others) often turn to hating and talking smack about that person; it seems like the only way to channel such strong feelings into something besides admiration. Sometimes I'm still as obsessed with the person as before, just this time I want to berate them or hear others tear them down or have lengthy discussions wondering why on earth they weren't interested in being in a relationship with me.

Ultimately, these two blows robbed me of my two big dreams and sources of excitement and motivation. Now I feel stuck. Time inches along whereas before it felt like it was zooming by at the speed of light. I still have major assignments due almost every day, however, and I really don't want to let this growing darkness get the best of me, so I'm struggling to fight it. But my brain feels like it's off in Neverland...Never going to find love, never going to be happy, never going to escape depression ruining things for me, never going to be desired...I chase my tail in a prison of anxiety and angst.

Today was especially bad. It's been rainy for days, which doesn't help, and on Thursday I had a particularly frustrating interaction with the guy I liked. We actually had some good banter and he even told me he had heard about my not being able to graduate and was really sorry - more than the majority of my girl friends have even done - but later in class I heard him talking about drugs and realized we really lead completely different lifestyles. I gave a big presentation that afternoon, which was publicized in the class we're both in, and he missed it because he was off getting high somewhere. Flashback to all the other times I've hoped guys would come to events and support me and they didn't show...

Anyways, I went through a period of shock as I wrestled with my admiration for this guy's good qualities with the growing amount of information I was receiving from a friend of mine (as well as my own interaction) about this guy's seriously immature traits and his interest in other women. I didn't want to let go, but I slowly realized I had to, for my own protection. Naturally, being the lovesick young thing that I am, I turned back to a former crush of mine - someone I really, really liked and subsequently had to really hate to try and get over him. I don't know what made me go back to him except that he really has seemed like one of the most compatible people I've liked and I had very strong feelings for him. Only problem is, to get over him, I cut off all communication with him, including unfriending him on social media, so I had no non-awkward way of getting back in touch.

Of course, I began to obsess about the situation and ask myself whether he really is compatible with me and rack my brain for a way to get back in touch with him. Subsequently, I've been miserable from the anxiety of obsessing, but also from the shame of admitting to people who I've ranted about how awfully he treated me that I'm actually interested in him again. I was afraid of their judgment, but I hate bottling things like that up.

I decided, impulsively, to try and reach out to some of our mutual acquaintances from my old school and ask about him, but this led me down the dark hole of, well, interacting with those people and remembering what shitty friends they were/are. I got even more upset and frustrated and lonely, feeling like nobody really cared or understood me. My friends would rarely ask about me and their answers were condescending or overly brief. Nobody asked me if I was graduating. I started recalling how the same people didn't respond when I said I wouldn't be coming back to that school. How they didn't check in to see if I was doing okay. How tempting coldness like that made ending it all seem. I want so badly to love people and invest in friendships because I love showing people kindness and thoughtfulness, but I get tired of how little people invest in relationships or appreciate other people's lives. I felt tempted to stop investing in relationships at all, but that's a depressing prospect too.

Ultimately, today has been really tough and I'm scared to think of what tomorrow is going to be like, but I realized that I need to be the one who embraces myself. I felt so embarrassed today for being interested in this guy who I previously ranted about, but at the end of the day, I'd rather be somebody who is honest about going back and forth than someone who denies they were ever on a different side than they are on now. At one point, when I was driving to class, I decided to just accept that I flip-flop a lot on things. It is part of my personality and the way I process. I don't think it's necessarily wrong, though I understand why it might frustrate people. I would rather be open-minded about things than be someone who makes a snap judgment and never reconsiders. People and situations are constantly changing, so it's oftentimes worth reevaluating your opinion. I've changed so much in life, and I firmly believe most of it has been for the better.

I also accept that I am who I am. I want to be the person who is in my corner. Obviously, I'm not going to get the validation and acceptance I'm seeking from other people. I either get torn up because those people disappoint me in their friendship, or I do experience validation via grades or applause or the occasional positive interaction and still feel unsatisfied. I guess I need to accept myself because even if I do get what I really crave - a relationship where the other person is really invested in and excited about me and vice versa - I will need a firm grounding in who I am so I don't get lost in that other person and so I can survive if the relationship doesn't work out.

So I'm not perfect in any way -- I'm sure anyone could read this post and pick it apart to identify a host of character flaws and psychological issues. But I'm trying really hard to be a better person, to love others, to improve my own methods of dealing with tough times. And I choose to accept that I am still growing and that's just the way life works. We can't get it all right at once. Or maybe, like, ever.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I'm not okay, okay?

Days haven't been too dark lately, but they haven't exactly been light either. You know how you get your hopes up about something - or someone - but then your happiness gets tied to that idea or that person? Well, I'm guilty of that.

I'm sitting in my school hallway and silently crying. I'm on Crisis Text Line because I was shaking and I wanted to puke but I have class later so I can't go home and I was starting to think about ways to end it all but knowing that I shouldn't end things over a stupid little thing like this.

An hour and a half ago, I went through the effort to come to campus extra early so I could try and get a chance to talk to him. I should've just stayed home. I don't know why I keep putting all this effort into these relationships that won't work. Why can't I learn that when the other person doesn't put any effort in, it's not worth doing the pursuing? I should have listened to my mom's advice that a relationship that's supposed to work should be easy, should work out well. But I was infatuated.

Anyways, I walked in, my heart pounding, going out of my way yet again to try and talk to him, and he was talking to another girl - a loud girl - asking about another woman. Asking if she could set him up with this other girl. Saying she was hot. She said something about how he has a crush on so-and-so. It was enough to know he had moved on, if he was ever even interested in me.

I don't know why I still tried to talk to him. I guess because I had gone through all the effort to go there and I didn't want to feel like I hadn't tried. The conversation wasn't anything special and just in the way he talked to me, I could tell something had changed. I got that sense of pity, of him wanting to be polite but not really being super interested in talking to me.

I know it's stupid. I know it's small. But it's the cumulative effect of over and over having the same story play out: Girl meets guy. Girl observes guy from afar and slowly grows to admire him. Girl imagines them together and develops embarrassingly strong feelings for him, but they don't interact much. Girl tries to overcome her shyness and talk to the guy, but they have little more than occasional conversations but her friends all say they would be so cute together so she keeps hoping. Guy never shows interest or straight up chooses someone else. Girl feels like a piece of shit nobody once and hates herself for not being outgoing and bubbly and sexy and normal.

That's happened so many times, I've lost count. So now that it's happened again, can you blame me for feeling a little worthless? More than anything though, I feel stupid. I feel mad at myself for falling into the same trap, telling myself the same lies, devaluing myself again by chasing after someone who doesn't make an effort to do the same for me.

In the mental health world, people talk a lot about triggers. Usually they think that reading about something traumatic you've gone through will trigger you to have upsetting thoughts or other negative emotions. I haven't found that to be true for me, personally. I've found my biggest trigger is experiencing rejection. I got a lot of rejections in the past; literal ones like, "We don't want you in our club" and more indirect ones like, "I told another friend my big news before you", or "I'd rather date this bitchy girl than you." Sometimes people don't come right out and reject you, but they get the idea across pretty well regardless by just ignoring you or not answering your messages any more or whatever.

When I was going through my hellish depression, I was also experiencing rejection. Rejection on a larger scale of realizing that I was never really accepted into the school I had been attending for three years; they just tolerated my existence, but I was never really part of their community or one of them. Rejection in the sense that friends were showing that they didn't really care about me enough to be there for me when I needed it most. But most of all, rejection from a guy who I really cared about. He seemed interested at first. He came to see me play a concert, we had nice conversations, he checked in to see if I was okay a few times when I was depressed. In turn, I tried to talk to him, get to know him, learn about the things he was interested in, support his music, send him encouraging notes. But ultimately I felt him slowly drift away and found out halfway through the year that he had decided to date a particularly unpleasant, jealous girl.

That was all happening as my mind and my life and my happiness was rapidly unraveling. It wasn't the cause of the destruction, but it sure added insult to the injury. It multiplied the pain infinitesimally. I turned to self-injury to try and deal with the pain so deep and intense I couldn't communicate it or even figure out how to endure it. People don't understand unless they've been there.

So when I experience rejection again, in whatever form it comes, I fall apart. I unravel. It's my trigger. I can't even help the emotions. They're just a reaction I can't control. Friends judge me, wondering why I have such a strong reaction to something so small as a conversation that didn't go well, and I can never get them to understand it's because of my past.

The Crisis Text counselor sounded more like a robot. They fed me the lines. I've heard all the lines. This month is my three-year anniversary in counseling. I know all the right answers, but I can't just give them to you right now because I'm hurting. I know you want me to just pull it all back together so you can don't have to feel uncomfortable, but I'm hurting right now and I just need you to let me hurt and be on my side, in my corner.

My friend told me I need to grow thicker skin, to be positive, to believe things will work out in the future. She told me she had endured actually breaking up from a real relationship but she was okay now. I felt disrespected. I felt betrayed. How dare she compare our experiences to devalue mine. And I've been through loads of shit, even if I've never been through a breakup.

I know all the answers. I also know my own history. I know my heart. I know the hurts its seen and the places that never healed quite right so they just burst at any tug at the seams. I feel self-conscious about how sensitive and emotional I can be, but at the end of the day, I don't think I want thicker skin. Because then I'd be the kind of person who tells a girl crying alone in a school hallway to have a thicker skin.

I just want you to be okay with me not being okay right now.

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.