Words are all irrelevant when I am home alone on my Saturday night. Mr. Helvetica Neue is keeping me company tonight.
No quite how I planned my night. What the fuck!?. How did that happen?. What kind of pathetic fucked up reality is my life?. Seriously now. People are playing in the city with colours, dance shoes and cocktails. People are with their significant others, snuggled on their couches and tonight on my Saturday with out my kids, I’m fucking alone. A failure I tell you.
What have I done that’s so wrong? Well I sort of know. Spent most of my life feeling awkward and neurotic and not worthy. Not even worthy of simple companionship. I always ruin things because my fucked up internal dialogue permeates into my presence. Any glimmer of kindness and I give all the superlatives I have at my disposal, just to let them know how much I appreciate it, thank you, thank you, for gracing me with your presence. In turn of course my intensity is suffocating and they start backing away. Just quietly and slowly backing away. I’ll call you. Fuck, I’ve ruined it again. Why cant I just be cool? Just like the cool kids? Thirty fucking one, and somewhere inside I’m still my 15 year old self, dying for social acceptance.
Be cool Aj, just be fucking cool. So tired of being just me. Social skills, is not my forte. So much better than I used to be. You should have seen me at 21, ball of bloody anxiety. I blame mum. It has to be. She didn’t teach us anything like that did she?! No, of course it’s not her fault. I’m the mum now, 31. Fuck, that sounds so old. I know it’s not really, but conceptually I still feel like I’m in my early 20’s, so it does sound old. My under eye bags and saggy rear remind me it is nothing more than a mere feeling.
It doesn’t really matter what happened in my past life as a child or early teen. The fact remains, that somewhere inside I still don’t really feel worthy. Which is such nonsense I know. But there it is. Its not about a pity party, its not about delving into my past and finding the root cause.
Its just about recognizing it’s there. It is what it is. Not worthy. Now I am aware of the issue I can try to fix it. That is all. Not a pity party, honestly, I promise. So moving forward, finding a resolution to all the nonsense.
I feel very awkward when other women are kind to me or show me any kind of affection. I immediately feel awkward, my body paralyzed, I must be giving off such negative vibes. Back away this bitch be cray cray. And that’s just my own gender, don’t even get me started on the opposite sex. That’s a whole other conversation. But paralyzed doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel when a male gives me any sort of positive attention, physically gripped with fear, is something close to describing the emotional response it creates in me. Fear. The fact that I’ve ever had sex is amazing I tell you, after marriage lets just say it required significant amounts of alcohol. Recklessness and a few unsafe situations I decided a detox was necessary. Until I’m not afraid of them. Hasn’t happened yet. Getting better. Off topic again.
So me, me and just any basic social gathering. Any sort of social situation really, anything that, you know involves another human being face to face, requires a significant amount of preparation. Significant Amount. Of Preparation. Of course this all does improve as I get to know someone, I should hope so. Not always.
Firstly of course there is appearance. This is not that unusual I’m sure, most women would go through a similar routine. Check eyes brows are perfectly landscaped, teeth brushed and flossed, hair whipped into submission, skin exfoliated to within an inch of its existence, eye liner on as thick as you can get it with out looking goth, try on 55 different outfits, cry, lift hands to the ceiling in exasperation, fat sausage in all 55 outfits. Just pick one damn it. The black. Always the black. Apparently people look thinner in black. Not so much, but going with it for now. Brush teeth again, check lippy, or gloss, depending on my mood, undies on and go. Wait one last look in the mirror, shit, as good as it gets, go already, now you’ll have to rush. Out the door. Are you worthy yet? Good enough tonight?
How we going so far ladies? Similar stepping out routine? Don’t leave me hanging. Ok fine, maybe I’m a little bit more neurotic than most about the whole thing.
That is just the beginning. While I’m getting ready, and even days, and weeks leading up to the event, I’m freaking out. Worrying. Maybe I will be all alone, maybe no one will pick me, just like in high school, maybe I will be the only one with last years outfit on. I swear I don’t care about all that sort of thing, but apparently I do. Just acceptance.
what did our high school experience teach us? The only path to acceptance and enlightenment is though social conformity. Yes, conformity. Squish little me into that box and tie a big pink bow on her.
What?! Wait, I don’t believe that. Not for a second. But I must do. My actions before a social gathering tell me I do. Ugh. Again with my logical self and my emotional self not matching. Sometimes I feel as if never the twain shall meet. I hate pink, and the very notion of conformity.
Nonconformist: it’s really just an idealistic dream. We are all conforming, all conforming in one way or another. Either to the majority or some other minority. Conforming.
Anyway, the neurotic internal dialogue continues as the event approaches. Worrying about everything and nothing. Anxiety starts to flood my head. Anxiety starts to permeate into my actions … even with a simple catch up over coffee with a girlfriend I haven’t seen in a while. What if she doesn’t like me? (Which is nonsense given that she invited me!) What if we have nothing to talk about, god forbid there is an awkward silence. What if I say something silly, what if I’m not good enough and she never invites me again? What if I offend her? What if it goes well? Oh crap, then I will feel compelled to tell her/them/anyone. How positively delightful it was to share your company, we must do it again, how about tomorrow? How about I just never leave? Must be on my best behavior. If people knew the real me, the head case I now lie before you, they would all run, run I tell you! Id run! I would head for the hills if I could, head for the hills, shedding this dress of anxiety.
I am sure you get the general gist. The severity will vary depending on so many things. How well I know the person or people, where it is, do I have an exit option? Have I had carbs today? Been on the treadmill in the last 24 hours? Had plenty of sleep? That time of the month? Seriously!! Not even exaggerating! You can now see why it really is just easier to be alone. To be on my own. And all of the above is the precise reason I’m alone on my Saturday night. It is just so much easier. Except then I am alone. On my own, which is ok, ok sometimes. Just not all the time.
I’ve had options, had options. But after the 10th last minute, I’m so sorry I can’t make it text, people stop inviting you. When you are giving off the most unbearable stench of unworthiness people start to back away. So it is all my own fault, which is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing, its means its within my power to fix.
And all of the above is the extreme (well not quite, no need to recount some actual situations from the past!) and of course I have friends and people that love me, there are people in my life I love. People who can bare the sight of me, good and bad. A select few. A select few that I trust. That I show my true self to.
My select few, I love dearly. But of course they have a life to! They can’t just drop everything because I’m feeling lonely. Because when my kids go to their dads my big white house is now full of the most unbearable silence and I would like the ground to swallow my very being.
I am getting better. I said that already. Pushing myself out side of my comfort zone. Internal dialogue. Just practicing unlearning all the negative self talk.
When I start to feel the anxiety flood. Self talk. You are ok, ok? It is ok. Just be cool. It is ok if no one likes you. You are worthy. You are tall. You are strong. You are alive, you are blessed. You are ok. I think about what is the worst thing that could happen, how will I handle it? I would survive, I’ve survived much worse, much worse I tell you. See you are strong. You can do this. I love you. If no body else does, I do.
It’s been 30ish years of a negative pattern. That is all. It will take time to unlearn, that is all. It is all ok. We all do our best with the awareness we have at the time. Now I am aware I can practice until I get better, practice positive thought until it is natural. I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy.
Once I’ve got that bit sorted, I need to be brave! To jump. To free fall. I can do it. The beauty of authentic human connections is all I think this nonsense is all about. This nonsense known as Life. I need to brave to just be me, in all my totality. For my authentic self to not just be displayed here in this font. Me. Honest. I have to decide it is ok if they take it or leave it. Which it is, because I am worthy, worthy of me. I can do it, it is just practice: Brave and Worthy.
‘If I’m a woman with no fears just like a claim I am’
I am worthy. I am brave. I am strong. I am tall. I can do this. It is all ok. I am me.
(I’m a woman with no fears: the line from the song Proof, by Paramore)
self portrait- 2012