I have always been introspective and think about why I do the things I do. I think perhaps it might be more accurate to say I’m completely self-involved, but I am extremely negative when it comes to myself so maybe that’s a snap judgement. I don’t know. I’m not objective. You can decide for yourself.
I was in a play when I was a teenager. My character was very modest and obedient. She did what was expected of her. I don’t remember at this point who it was that said it to her, but she was told that if she didn’t rebel in her teenage years, it would all come out in her thirties. I can now attest that this is indeed the truth. I was tightly controlled when I was growing up. My mother loves to tell me (and any other captive ears) I have always been rebellious but I sometimes wonder if she even knows what that means. I wasn’t allowed to do much. I hardly ever left the house more than to just go to a friend’s house for a few hours or the occasional trip to the mall. And even those were battles. I didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs. And forget about boys. Although I can’t blame my parents completely. I don’t know where it came from but there was always such a fear in me to break any kind of rules. I was afraid of getting in trouble, sure, but it was more than that. (Issues for another day.)
Needless to say, I did not have the experiences – healthy, completely normal experiences – that most teenagers do. And in my opinion, should. It’s not like I was one of those robot offspring children that exceeded, or even lived up to, what was desired (doing well in school, excelling in… anything really). But I also never really acted out or did anything drastic (beyond crying and begging to be allowed to have more freedom – which was never granted, BTW.) I never seized any opportunity to do anything I really wanted to. Maybe it became habit or something, IDK, but that inaction carried through into my early adult years. I had such plans. But I never did any of it. Not because anyone told me not to or I was being held back. I just didn’t try.
I often tell people that I was in a mental and emotional coma for the last ten years (Lately I’m thinking it may be even longer than that. Maybe always.), but that I have just “woken up” within the last few years. Part of this means that I’ve been really thinking about all the things I’ve previously believed, not just about myself but in general, and challenging whether or not they are really true. I’ve “discovered” a lot of things about myself recently. Or changed my mind about them.
I grew up hearing I was “rebellious”, the typical middle child, a “difficult personality”. It’s been a burden. To some extent, I think it’s true. I do have a lot of quirks that make me… unique. 😉 (Maybe odd is a more appropriate word.) And I have personality traits that can be difficult to deal with. I am waaaaaay beyond insecure. I am a praise junkie and I seek reassurance and validation constantly. I always question, or just flat-out don’t believe, people when they compliment me. I think people are just lying when they say they like me. And I’m always waiting for the people who do seem to like me to get sick of me or bored or whatever the case maybe. I take every teeny tiny slight against me as a confirmation of my belief that I am unlikeable and not worth being around. Most of the time, I feel pathetic and borderline psychotic. How COULD anyone like me?
So… tonight it just occurred to me to question this. I’m wondering how much of this is truth and how much is self-fulfilling prophecy of the label my mother gave me? I KNOW my emotionally neediness and the desire to obsessively rehash things over and over pushes people away, but how much of that is inherent and how much is learned? How much of my insecurity is reactionary to all the people who have hurt me? How much of “don’t let it bother you” is really a choice and will the “fake it till you make it” eventually work or will I always just have to hide how deeply affected I am by the smallest of incidents?
I’ve always said that I don’t hide anything. That I will tell anyone who will listen alllll about me and my inner demons. Completely open book. …… This is one of those things I’ve changed my mind on lately. I don’t know if I was just deluding myself before or if I’ve changed but it seems that I’m actually a vault now. I am still one of my favourite topics (Self-obsessed, remember? LOL.) but when it really comes down to being REAL – those self-revealing things that really matter, I find I CAN’T talk about certain things. Either I don’t have the words or there is some sort of block where I physically can’t seem to make my mouth form the words. And I find I do actually hide things about myself. Like the needy, clingy, obsessive, pathetic thought patterns. It oozes out, of course. There are times where I am so overwhelmed by what’s going on in my head that I just can’t contain it. (You can bet if I come to you for feedback, wanting to talk about a minor incident, I’ve already tortured myself with it and can’t take it by myself anymore.) But I do try to keep it under wraps as much as I can. It’s exhausting. But I don’t want to put people off or annoy them or burden them with my stupidity. I think if people really knew what I was thinking, they would laugh at me and think I was completely pathetic. They would see how crazy I really am. And then they wouldn’t want to deal with me anymore because it’s too tiresome.
Another example, which I was just called out on tonight, was that I hide from people that I am a fan of a ‘certain actor and associated movie/book franchise’. Around the people that I feel will judge me for it, I don’t talk about it. When I meet new people, I try to hide it from them. Even when I reveal that “I’m a fan” to people who are either not involved or express only a slight interest, they have NO IDEA the full extent of my involvement and preoccupation. I only feel safe to fully enter fangirl mode with other ‘superfans’. Even then sometimes… It shouldn’t matter. I shouldn’t care. It’s fun for me. I know I shouldn’t let fear of being judged hold me back from having a good time. But I do. I care. And I hate it. I want to not care.
I mentioned “it all comes out in your thirties”… So, I’m turning 34 next month. And I do feel like, although I haven’t done anything too crazy, I have been doing things in the past few years that are more indicative of a teenager. Maybe not the acts themselves (I’m talking about tattoos, piercing, drinking/partying, refusing to “settle down” or “grow up”) but the reasoning behind doing them, I guess. They are indeed things rebellious teenagers do, but they are also things that responsible adults do (including many of my friends). But I feel like maybe I’m doing all these things to push against how I’m expected (real or imagined) to act. …I don’t know how else to describe that. I just feel like I’m all of a sudden changing into a different person or doing things I wouldn’t have just a few years ago. People seem to think I should be having kids, getting a job, taking better care of myself, not doing the things I mentioned, not travelling all over and prioritizing that above other things. “People”… Not sure exactly who these people are, or even if it’s just my perceptions of what others are thinking. Or maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m resisting my OWN expectations of what I should be doing. Or maybe I AM slowly learning not to care and just do the things I have wanted to do, regardless of what other’s opinions may or may not be. One thing I’ve noticed is that by experiencing more and more things I held off from doing before, I am finding things out about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s part of what the age hangup thing is… I feel like I should have done these “finding yourself” sorts of things a long time ago.
I spend a great deal of time thinking about things like this. I’ve been told before (by “professionals”) that they’ve never met anyone who thought about their own thinking as much as I do. At the time I first heard that (yes, it’s been more than once), I felt a strange sense of pride. Like I was being called “smart” …or something. But now I’m not sure how to take it. Maybe it’s a heightened intuitiveness in regards to how my own mind works, but it’s just a way of saying self-absorbed, no? That’s not a good thing. At least not unless it’s paired with someone who is also extremely thoughtful when it comes to others. That’s not me. I’m caring but my follow-through sucks. I forget to think of other people. I’m selfish.
Again… just being negative or true? To figure it out, I need to think about it some more. Ha.
(originally posted to wohngsikneuih)