Hello, blogging family. I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret:
I have self-esteem issues.
Rather, I should say that I still have self-esteem issues. A lot of my friends and family seem to have forgotten, but doubts about your self-worth have this nasty habit of staying with you long after you thought you’d quashed them, and rearing up every now and again just to fuck with you.
This is not to say that I’m unhappy. Most of the time, I am very happy with myself, my life, my friends, my hopes and dreams and goals and all that. That’s because a long time ago (not actually that long ago), I said a big fuck you to all the haters and all the crap they were throwing at me. That group of haters included myself. I was the ringleader. I took what the rest of them said and twisted it in a way that would get under my own skin the way only I knew how.
Finally I said, enough was enough. I plugged my ears and focused on myself, thought long and hard about how I thought and spoke and dressed and acted, and eventually I became a person I loved. For the past two and half years, I have been more consistently happy than ever before in my life.
But sometimes my subconscious still likes to fuck with me. Like when my roommates start calling me insincere and distant after I’ve given them a carefully crafted explanation of my feelings, specifically designed in an attempt to be as clear, honest, and gentle as possible. Or when I’m afraid to invite my grandparents to my birthday lunch because then it will be about their petty problems instead of a celebration that I exist. How about when my boyfriend talks derisively about my diet, behind my back, with his ex-fiancee?
It’s times like those when I remember how I used to feel, all the time: that I was a fuck-up, a mess, a totally unworthy, unintelligent, unattractive human being. And I think:
I never want to feel that way again.
So when these situations come up and those memories start weighing on me, I waffle between two extreme courses of action: succumbing to that total, crushing helplessness in the face of my own inadequacy, or saying “fuck you” to everyone I know and isolating myself from humanity as much as possible.
Alternately I’m inclined to weep and punch things. Sometimes I do both. Often I do neither. Usually what I end up doing is shutting up about it, pulling myself together, and silencing whatever lingering doubts I have by saying, “Caitlin, don’t be stupid. You’re fabulous and you know it. Your friends and loved ones have just been momentarily overcome by stupidity and have forgotten how well they know you. They seem to think that you’ve been replaced with a raging bitch, by aliens or something, I don’t know.”
I’ve gotta tell you, I’m finding it a little hard to breath while I’m writing this post. My heart is fluttering somewhere in my throat.
I don’t really need people to boost my self-esteem; that’s not what I’m talking about here. I still love myself the way I am today and that is not going to change, for the foreseeable future. I don’t really know what I want or need out of this declaration, in fact. I just really felt the urge to write it, to remind everyone that I’m not a block of stone. Seriously, I mean, I cry when I drive past homeless people with signs asking for work or families with their cars broken down on the side of the road, because there’s nothing I can do to help them. I cry when I watch videos of orchestra flash mobs.
When my roommates and I argue about something, I’m usually the one saying, “I don’t really care.” But what I mean is I care too much about you to get up in arms about this issue. The truth is that I care about a lot of things, and I have lots of feelings just like other humans. I’m not sensitive about things on a day-to-day basis, and that’s one of the ways I stay happy: by deciding what is and is not worth feeling hurt over. But I do get sensitive when my sensitivity is questioned. Or something.
I’m rambling now, so I’ll wrap this up. I guess the most hurtful thing is when your friends suddenly start to take issue with the way you’ve communicated for two years. Nothing makes you feel worthless like trying so hard not to be hurtful and end up fucking up anyway. And you know what doesn’t help? Having a boyfriend that seems interested and supportive to your face, but that is also making jokes and/or not defending you against jokes made behind your back. That’s not really fun either.