The past three years have been very emotional. 2015 was nothing but emotion. 2016 was growth. 2017 was spreading my wings. 2018 is shaping up to be a very introspective year. Not that the others weren't, but it took three years to set me up for a healthy place to breathe, think and understand.

I was having a game night with a group of friends last week. We were drinking beers, laughing, singing 90s songs and playing Settlers of Catan. At one point, the youngest person present said, "Would you ever have imagined when you were little that this is what it would mean to be a grownup?"


I actually do think about younger me a lot. What would I tell me? What would I tell her to change? What would I tell her to stand up for? The reality of this fictional situation is that I don't want to tell myself anything. Yes, mistakes were made. Yes, things could have been different. And I've said it before and I'll continue to say it many, many times, but I am who I am and I am where I am because of all of the shit that I've been through. Life is too short to dwell on regrets.

So what should I dwell on instead?


But not really.

So I wouldn't say that I'm dwelling, but what I'm dealing with has two parts to it. 1) Learning to be complete on my own and 2) fighting every instinct to feel at all inadequate because of the things I "should" be/have been.

Being complete. That's a frickin' tall order. The subject first came up sometime in late 2016, early 2017 and I don't know why it didn't occur to me before then. Well, my therapist was the one that brought it up. We were talking about dating and blah blah blah, but the out come is that what I want out of life is to be my own independent person. I want to live a full life and have it be enough if it's only ever just me. And if there's someone by my side to hold my hand and walk with me, just as complete and independent on his own, fantastic. Otherwise, I have me, and that is enough. Yeah, tall order. It's one thing to say all of those words and to want them and to believe in them. But it's a completely other thing to actually LIVE them. But I think I'm starting to.

So why is that important to me? I feel like it should be obvious, but I'm gong to say it anyway. I'd much rather be alone and live the life I want to live than be stuck with someone living a life I hate. Did that. I'm over it. I lost myself and I stopped growing. Life has a lot to offer and I can't explore it by standing still.

The second part about fighting Should. This one is hard because it's not just me I'm fighting; it's family, friends and society. Every time I was asked as a child what I wanted when I grew up. Things like where I would live or how many dogs I would have or what my job would be always fluctuated. But you know what didn't change? I was always going to get married and have kids. And I'm not alone on that. A lot of people are set up with that expectation. And that expectation is drilled and hammered in so deeply that it's still there. I'm personally letting it go, but I can't go a week without someone telling me that someday I'll get what I deserve. Or that the moment you stop looking for Mr. Right, that's when he appears.

Will everyone stop being my cheerleader, please? You're not actually helping. You're brining pity into a situation that doesn't need it.

I'm doing my best to be enough on my own. And I'm inching my way there. Yeah, it's sad sometimes and of course it hurts when I feel like the third wheel in life. But there's something to be said for my complete freedom.

So. I'll be living my life. And loving it as often as anyone can. I'm good. I'm enough.

[She repeats "I'm enough" over and over to herself as the room goes dark. End scene.]

What is it Ben Folds says about growing up?

Oh yeah, it hurts, it sucks. But everybody does. I've had a rough stretch lately. I go into the weekend promising myself it's going to be great, relaxing, fun, productive, and best of all, I'm not going to cry. Well, that doesn't seem to work out. Maybe it's because I'm calling it out and acknowledging the elephant in the room. And my elephant is a big-ass drama queen with tear ducts on overdrive. His name is Melvin.

So what's getting me down? I have no reason to be such a sad bastard. Nothing's "wrong." Seriously, absolutely nothing is wrong. Everything is going great.

If I'm honest, I'm what's wrong.

I'll be honest, I'm what's wrong.

Growing up, I've recognized things about myself, mostly as the outcome of terrible interactions, let's call them fights. I'm not as grounded as I'd like to be and I act on emotions. Worse that that, my emotions aren't based in the world that I now find myself living. My emotions come from my past. They come from childhood. And I suppose that's not uncommon. Everyone is who they are because of the ways in which they were formed. But the problem with that - for me - is that most of the time, those emotions weren't selfish. I'm not sure I'm making much sense.

I'll break it down.

What's wrong with me?

  1. I have an inability to make a decision when it will directly effect anyone other than just me. This infiltrates everything, right down to how I want my fucking eggs prepared. I don't know how I want my eggs prepared - just give them to me how you're having them, because that's easier for you.
  2. I have a martyr complex. I generally need help. But I don't ask for it because I don't want to inconvenience anyone. But then I feel resentful and feel the need to make someone/anyone feel sorry for me guilty that they didn't help, even though I never gave them a chance to.
  3. I cannot directly identify my emotions and therefor, don't let them out. It's not that I'm not feeling emotions in the moment. I'm feeling them. But if I were to open my mouth to try and explain them, it would likely just result in a series of exclamations that wouldn't have a chance at forming an actual sentence. Explaining emotions takes practice and it's a set of muscles I've never exercised. And as a result, people don't realize there was ever a problem. Which is my own fault. Fuck.
  4. I don't act for myself. This I suppose ties back in with #1. I don't like sushi. I don't like fish in general at all. But if a group of friends is going out for dinner and everyone likes sushi, I won't say a word. I'll just have a ball of rice for dinner. It's "fine." See #2 for how I'll respond if questioned about it.
  5. I feel that I am responsible for maintaining the good mood/emotions of those around me. This ties in with #4, but it's worse than that. If someone I'm with is having a bad time, it'll ruin my good time and I'll feel that they must be mad at me for being in that given situation. I'll also feel that it's my responsibility to fix it, even if that compromises me/my emotions/my anything.
  6. I'm insecure and afraid I won't be liked... or loved. Here's the thing. There's love. I understand love. And often love trumps like. You can love someone and not like them one bit. I believe that. (It's really hard for me not to re-write that in a more audience-friendly way because, after all, what would happen if someone read that and didn't agree with me? Chaos would surely ensue.) I believe that I have relatives, for example, that by familial convention, love me, in whatever way they can. However, I'm likely viewed as offensive and rude and ungrateful and selfish. Fine. Ha. There's the trick. I said, "Fine," but it's not fine. I'm a good person. And I think I know that. (Fucking self doubt.) And THAT needs to be enough. The rest will either fall into place, or it won't.

To sum up. I'm fucked up. And there are a number of things that I need to work through. But I don't know how to. Identifying the problems is supposed to be the first step. Working through them is the painful part. But I have to. Because Elephant Melvin is everywhere. I can't keep living ignoring these things because they're poison and they're ruining everything - they're ruining me.

We'll stop there. That's enough.