I had a happy childhood. There were some dark and scary moments, don’t get me wrong. I’ve lost more close family members than most people my age. I can remember things that I wish I could forget. But I choose to remember the happy parts. I shove the less than ideal parts off to the fuzzy and distant corner of my brain where they cannot hurt me.
I have a phenomenal memory. So when I recall things, I recall how I felt when they happened. So that gut-clenching feeling when a total stranger reprimanded my siblings and I for having fun in a fast food joint? Still with me, even as I typed those words. It makes it hard for me to get over hurts. Because I really can’t forget how I felt when so-and-so said such-and-such. It’s all there.
Still, I had a happy childhood. I remember my sister complaining to me one time about the ups and downs of hormones. We were both teenagers by then and were supposed to be moody little emo-brats waiting to happen. Except that I couldn’t find any moodiness. Anywhere. To me it was non-existant. My sister said once that while most people went up and down like a roller coaster from happy to sad and back again, that I just ran like a level train up at the top of the happy spectrum. And it was true.
I don’t know when that changed. Actually, yes I do. I broke up with my boyfriend at the tender age of 16 – because I didn’t want to marry him when I turned 18. I wanted to go to college. So I told him we were through – especially after he cussed out my sister for no good reason. And I lost every one of the people I counted as friends. They all quit speaking to me. Even my best friend, she was dating his brother you see. I went through the last part of my junior year and all of my senior year with almost no friends. It brought back losing all of my friends inbetween 2nd and 3rd grades due to a social worker with a big mouth.
That’s when I started holding on to every hurt. Because, at least those hurts were real. At least they were there with me. And every snub, every turned down invitation, every non-date reinforced the idea in my head that no one wanted to be friends with me. There were a lot of those in college. I was a phenomenal student, so lots of people knew my number when it came time to study, but they all seemed to lose it when it came time to party. One guy in particular abused my crush on him to get me to run study sessions. I was asked out only once in four years. I would call home weekly, in tears, asking my Mom what was wrong with me. Was I ugly? Was I boring? Why didn’t people like me? I came away from undergrad with very few friends. There were even fewer that I thought I could count on.
Grad school did a little bit to help me put the pieces back together. I was asked out 4 times in two years. Three were nice guys that I just didn’t click with, one was a douche who lied to me for the entire time we dated. I had friends who actually wanted to spend time with me. But there was still the highschool level immaturity. I would still be the only one from our group not invited to things because one girl thought I was all that stood between her and a husband. People still “lost” my number when it came time for fun things to do. At times it seemed like everyone would disappear for no reason that I could find.
I still deal with shadows of it today. I’m always worried that no one wants me around. Time has taught me, over and over again, that people only want something from me. They don’t actually want me around. That if I don’t reach out to them that they won’t reach out to me. There are times now, that I feel like my roller coaster of emotions is still broken – but now, instead of staying at the top I’m stuck at the bottom. I have to fight for each little happy moment.
I’ve been working on letting go of hurts. I’ve been working on fixing my roller coaster. And I’m modifying it – leveling it out. I’m trying to make it shallower and higher. I don’t want the drops to be so steep – it’s so hard to climb out the other side. I don’t want to go down so low.
And I’m learning to trust again. Falling in love with B has healed a lot of the hurts. Being loved by him has healed even more. Though of course, now, the little things that pop up cut with the weight of a thousand hurts. Him wanting a guys night twists in my mind to mean that he doesn’t really want me around. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. But still the fears lurk in the shadowy recesses of my mind, waiting to pounce.
I’ve realized, that to get rid of them, I have to level the ground. I have to raze it. I have to quit shoving the hurts to the side and actually process them. I have to forgive the people who hurt me. And there’s the rub, because I don’t want to, because those hurts have become so familiar. But I’m tired of being this way. I’m tired of feeling completely rejected when I write someone and get no response. I’m tired of feeling utterly alone when I try and reach out and get shunned.
What I’m really saying is, I’m tired of feeling worthless because I base my opinion of myself on other’s opinion of me.
I have to heal.
I have to forgive.
I have to let go.
I have to love myself.