Ever heard about the prophecy of the inherently unloveable person?
I guess I didn’t want to believe it. I mean, when it first happened in second grade, I was so young. I just thought people were confused. Or maybe mean. Maybe it was because my teeth were unsettlingly crooked or I was too fat. And when it happened in third grade, I switched schools. Evidently, a therapist told my mother that it would happen to me more and there was nothing they could do. I was just that kid who was sensitive and open and kids just didn’t get it.
By seventh grade, I figured it out. There was something about me that once people saw it, they ran. There would be this breaking point in a friendship when a person would decide – well no one told me what they decided – but they would ghost me. Shut me out. Ignore me. I no longer existed.
So I created a shell, a shiny exterior. I hated myself more than they could ever hate me. I rejected myself before they could say otherwise. I kept my thoughts to myself, I punished myself emotionally and physically, so ashamed that I was just born wrong.
I was fun. I was funny. I was kind. I was smart. But I showed the parts that were necessary. I gave enough to be worth keeping around. I hid the parts I knew felt burdensome.
It happened again after college. I had managed to have some close friends. They saw some parts, I couldn’t hide it all in such a small intimate setting. But I cloaked it as much as possible – with good grades, activities, alcohol. I hid my self-injury and depression for as long as I could, crying in the dark when my roommate was away. Wishing I had more guts to end my life.
I’ve spent a long time alone. My family doesn’t fully get me so I’m not sure they see what others see. I joined a counseling program and I tried to fit in. I tried to be the person that people would want around them. And they wanted to accept me because our program tells us that all people have worth. Our clients are surrounded by so many messages that they aren’t good enough, but they are. They just can’t see it.
I was cautious with this friend. I showed her what I thought she could handle. And at some point, I thought I had found a compatriot. Sometimes it didn’t feel right. After all, she was pretty, thin, smart, independent. She may have said similar things about her insecurities, but I slowly tried to pull away from the shields. To be vulnerable. To be honest. To show all of my self, to not just give but to ask to take. To say what I needed and what I wanted. And she did the same. Sometimes it felt like I needed to pull back but I tried to be honest, to be myself, to challenge myself to trust.
I’m not sure what I did, though I never am. I suppose I sensed I had pushed things too far, asked for too much, been too needy, took too much space. But we were open books and that was part of the trust you build with someone. That is what people do. I suppose it would have hurt for her to confront me. To tell me that I was indeed a burden, that I was just too much for her, that she did not want to be friends with all of me. I think I would have understood that. I would have been sad and probably angry, but I don’t know, maybe it would be a relief for someone to finally tell me the truth.
But she took time for herself. And then more time. And then I told her that it hurt me and she said sorry and that was all she could say. I thought it was because she was at work. Now I wonder if she meant that was all she could say to explain that she could no longer have me in her life. It’s been almost two months. Two months of nothing. And it feels too late. What reason could there be to cut someone so totally out of your life that you could then bring them back in? How could I ever trust her again? Why couldn’t she have just told me – she knew that was what always got me. She had to have known this would hurt more.
And now I feel alone. Not because I don’t have people around me. But because I tried to be who I was, whatever that means, and once again, a person did not want it. Perhaps it is too hard to tell someone that it isn’t one thing – it’s just them. Perhaps it feels too mean to call someone a burden or just say that there is something that makes them say it’s not worth it. There isn’t enough good to outweigh the ugly.
Perhaps I’ve fooled so many and they have told me they see so much good in me that I wanted to start believing that maybe there was good in me. That maybe that was childhood trauma and that I could be this complicated messy person with needs.
Today the doctor asked me if I had ever attempted suicide. A common question in an assessment. And I felt so ashamed to say no. Because someone like me, I feel like I should be able to say yes. Hasn’t life done everything it can to tell me I do not belong here? That those that say they love me, that those who see this “good” they are seeing what I want them to see. I balance my imbalance with listening and care, I hide the darkest, ugliest parts and I am bearable. They keep me far enough away to have just enough of me. I am good to have in a class, to text during school, to see maybe once a term outside of school. But I’m not a friend. I’m not someone you introduce to others. I’m not someone you integrate into your life. I can only take a small sliver. That’s all people want. But there is all of this “other” me that can’t be loved or nurtured. That has to be hidden and smothered, kept quiet and out of the way. And those parts of me start to die. They wither without attention and love.
I can’t tell if I’m being honest with myself. Am I selfish? Is there something wrong with me? Am I needy? Is there just a point where my insecurities just feel like a weight that others don’t have time to carry. Do I ask them to carry too much? I wish I had the energy to kill myself. I wish I had the confidence to believe it was the right decision. There is a part of me that knows I will live a life of regret. That I will never fully find myself and will never find fulfillment because of it. Maybe it’s in my head. Maybe it’s depression. Or maybe I’m just too much and the only person that can unconditionally love me is someone who is drawn to fix and care. That also has an innate nature that tells her to love, to ignore what she can’t handle and just say things are okay.
There must still be a part of me that believes I can be loved. That maybe I can fix myself or find someone who can hold it. That maybe I am not unloveable and that’s what keeps me alive. I want to believe that I could find someone that would accept me whole. But I think I’m still in fourth grade. I’m still sitting there wondering what I did wrong. Confused. Feeling like there is something I cannot see that others can.
A part of me wants to say she is selfish or mean but she isn’t. She’s a good person. She takes care of herself first and she won’t apologize for it, but those are things I have admired about her. So I can’t fault her for that. I suppose I am angry that she had to end it this way. To just ignore me until I gave up. That she knew this has happened to me so many times before and she still didn’t have the decency, or energy, or felt it was worth it to tell me to my face or even text me. That feels unfair. And once again I am powerless. Feeling sorry for myself, angry at myself, and defeated. But too weak to give up. Or too scared. Or maybe just still in disbelief, wanting so desperately to be wrong about myself. Broken and too lazy and weak to fix myself; but not worth keeping the way I am. I’m not sure how to fix this or what to do. I hurt.