The Lonely Side of Independence
This summer, I've learned a lot about myself by staying still. I've also learned a lot through the relationships I have with the people around me. I guess there was a reason for all those "I miss you! Let's hang out!" interactions that never went anywhere. I've seen how much I love, how much I care, and how dependent I can be on others with my happiness. I've exhausted myself trying to answer the gaps of questions never answered, I'm running on low energy, but I now know that the little voice inside of me that always encourages me to persevere is supported by many. Whether it's just one person verbalizing their support or a stranger from the other side of the world reading my words, I know how much I support others from a distance, and it's about time I start believing that others reciprocate the support.
Unlike Shrek, my Self can't be compared to the amount of layers in an onion. More so, I imagine a locked treasure box; within that box, there's another one, and within that second box, there's one more. To open each box is an intuitive process on both ends. Usually, it's pretty easy for others to get access to the first layer of my personality. Once I'm truly over something, I can talk about it casually, no matter the subject. The second box is usually accessed by close friends and those who have been around me for a few years. It's also the box that contains the lens in which I use to edit my articles.
Now, the third box. The third box is home to my subconscious and secrets I keep to myself. Sometimes, my close friends hear a bit about my innermost thoughts, but most of the time, even then, it's quite difficult for me to share. My articles are basically third box information wearing a second box shield.
I like to explore the whys of my feelings and thoughts (and those of others), which is why when I'm feeling intense emotion, I need a while to try to understand the triggers to those emotions.
I'm stressed out.
Why are you stressed out?
Because I've got expectations coming at me from all directions, including ones from myself for this project.
Why are you insecure?
It's always been a problem for me to feel satisfied doing work when I don't feel appreciated or that I deserve any praise from working hard. I think that I over identity with my work, because I put my maximum amount of effort in it -- especially passion projects. I'm doing so many at the same time, and I want to excel and succeed in all of them. Most of the time, my effort goes unnoticed because no one sees the tears, headaches, and feelings of pressure I have towards myself.
Why do you give yourself such a difficult time?
I almost wish I could say it stems from parental pressure or pressure from an outside source, but it doesn't.
Actually, I think it's because of the lack of external pressure. At my most insecure, internally, I feel like a little kid screaming for attention, along with the desire to not necessarily be centre stage, but for once, to be picked first, be a number one point of contact, and to feel as loved as I love others. That's why I always root for the underdog in movies and films. It's not a place of comfort, but it's a place I've gotten used to. For most of my life, up until now, I blamed my position of being the middle child, my self-sufficient personality, my quietness, my height, and even my geographic location (I've always been the friend that lives far away from everyone else).
In a way, I think that part of me has accepted that I may not ever be everything I hope. So I built this strong guard, made of self-help books, independence, optimism, and will to give others what I can't receive myself. After some time, the little kid stops screaming and realizes that she holds the power to controlling her feelings and thoughts. We'll be okay. I'll be okay.
I'm afraid that my insecurities will eventually get the best of me and that my guard will be too strong to a fault. I feel like my sadness and loneliness is a burden to share with others, so I suppress it within me. I'd rather hurt alone than bring others in the depth of these feelings. I self-sacrifice my own real issues because I feel helpless and can't detach myself from them. With helping others, I can clearly see solutions and goals to uplift them. For some reason I haven't yet discovered, I can't do that with myself. I'm too familiar with the dark ocean that is my psyche and I'm afraid that if I spend too long in it, I'll lose myself. I definitely have before.
I run away before things go bad. I deprive myself of love because fear is what I'm used to feeling. I'm scared that my own demons will scare everyone else away. The only way I've been able to shut them out has always been me, mainly because I don't let anyone even try to help me. The word 'independent' is a defense mechanism I use, and emit, to show others that I can take care of myself. It sounds badass, but it's quite lonely when it gives off this air of intimidation that I can handle everything. I can't handle everything. I let my thoughts consume me, I frequently self-destruct, and the little sad kid within me visits again.
Sometimes, she doesn't scream. She's just helpless. She doesn't know how to ask for help, because she's afraid she won't be heard or that her feelings will be belittled. I know the deepness of my mind. The subconscious is a scary and dark place, but I always go back to it, because I want answers and sometimes, I have good news to comfort the little kid. After 20 years, I've started to learn how they work and studied this pattern of self-deceit. Most importantly, I got a hold of the little girl's hand and slowly, we're making our way out of this dark place to meet my alter ego.
With her and this guard that I created, a new identity has started to bloom -- one that has access to both the brave face and the little girl. It's the me that's speaking right now. It's the me sharing this story. I don't feel super stable in this new skin, but I'm open to exploring it and watching it grow. I've spent too long in the dark; waiting and being scared. Well, I'm still scared, but I'm moving forward.