… You are always so desperate to find yourself and ready to abandon yourself. You so badly want to be seen and to disappear. You have forever been desperate to yell “HERE I AM” and to fade away at the very same time.
Untamed – Glennon Doyle
Shortly after I am loud, I retreat in panic, forcing and begging myself to be quiet.
I have always been playing tug of war between the two. It has never felt like playing.
I want to tell you everything, and then I want to take it all back, desperately. I have apologized for simply opening my mouth.
The other night my heart broke. Not in the way you might think.
Instead, I looked back on the years leading up to where I am now and saw that I have spent the majority of my life wishing I was somebody I am not. I felt shaken and ashamed.
I narrowed in on a recurring daydream. The one where they find a tumour in me, and once it is removed I magically morph into a confident extrovert. In this scenario, it is in fact the tumour that has caused every seemingly negative aspect of my personality and soon enough I will be made new.
The past 6 weeks I’ve read books like it was an addiction, promising myself it was, at the very least, a healthy one. I flipped through pages searching for myself between the lines. What happens when you don’t like what you find?
I have constantly envied the people around me and because of it I have spent far too much time trying to organize my life around other people’s desires, hoping that they will become my own. The amount of time spent hoping, longing, wishing, daydreaming, terrifies me. How many situations have I put myself in because I didn’t know which life I was aspiring to live at the time?
Some days I think I grew up between two worlds. Neither fully extreme, just different. I’ve always had one foot in each world, I’ve always retreated towards one more than another at times, and then wavered back. I have never figured out how to mesh them together, instead I decide to dabble in each.
I joke that I look for role models who do the same – Christian authors who drink large glasses of red wine and know the right time to let the f-word slip. I imagine that one day I will have to decide what I believe for myself – that right now I am just trying on other people’s clothing and pretending that they fit until I find something that fits better. I imagine I have been doing this my entire damn life. Within and outside of the church. In regards to religion, social circles, work, school, hobbies, clothing styles and so on. I am always jealous of what other people are wearing and never, ever, satisfied with my own purchases.
What I have learned from the pain of relentlessly trying on other people’s identities is that, when you are trying to be a variety of different people all at once, no matter what you do you have betrayed another side of you. You will always feel guilty, confused, anxious, and lost, when your focus is on everyone else. You will never be at peace until you decide, however slowly but surely, that the life you are living no longer depends on, or can be influenced by, how the people around you are living their own.
I was worried that I missed out on my own becoming because I was trying to become somebody else. Now, I am trying to imagine that the turmoil is simply part of the process.