I just hide it really, really well.
My personality is a lot like my writing---loud, all over the place, whimsical, witty. (Is my writing any of those things? I have no idea.) In new situations, I'm chatty, I make jokes, I laugh often and with great enthusiasm. I talk to strangers, I'm friendly to cashiers, I smile at people who cross my path.
But a lot of that is, if not quite an act, a "show", if you will. It helps covers up the fact that I'm petrified of being disliked, of people thinking I'm obnoxious, of being out of place in the world around me. I live in constant fear that who I am is not enough, or too much, so I work hard to overcompensate by being me, but on full blast. Nothing I do is inauthentic, it's just...practiced.
Wednesday in therapy the discussion turned to my childhood, because, of course, obviously much of my crazy finds its roots in sad little pudgy Taylor in her round purple glasses and Winnie-the-Pooh sweatshirt. As you know if you've stuck around my blog for awhile, I moved around a lot as a kid. Four times before the age of twelve, again in the middle of high school. I was always "the new girl". Always.
I spent my formative years constantly worrying about being liked. Trying to be liked. Thrust into new situations where I was the odd person out, always needing to prove myself, having to learn the new slang and what was cool and what wasn't. Always having to try to make people want to get to know me, try to be what they wanted. I've always been desperate to fit in, desperate to be liked and loved.
It's no surprise that living my childhood like that had an affect on who I am as an adult. I am still that desperate, needy twelve year old who just wants to be accepted. I am still unsure.
Just identifying this made me breath a sigh of relief, even though it should have been obvious all along. But it wasn't, really. I always wondered what it was that made me feel so different, what it was that made me feel so out of place and uncertain. And I think I've figured it out.
It physically hurts, to feel so goddamn socially awkward. To constantly worry about what I'm saying and doing. To spend my time obsessing over everything I've said and done. To wish so hard for people to like me, embrace me, open up to me.
But then, when people do, I'm totally oblivious to it, or I retreat, thinking they're just being nice for the sake of it.
I'm quite the conundrum.
I just want to be me, authentically, without this constant battle afterwards. I want to stop feeling like I'm constantly putting on a show, and just be my naturally sunny self without forcing it because I think it's what people want to see. I want to say what I feel and think without regretting it and wishing I could take it back. I want to just not give quite so many fucks.
Part of me thinks that, knowing that I am how I am, all I can do is move forward and try to change. Obviously I'm not happy as I am now, so I have to choose a different path. Maybe I can try to take a bit of a pause before I act. One problem I think I have is that I speak before I think, I rush to join in, aching for acceptance, then regret it immediately because I didn't think it through. If I do take that pause, speak less, quiet down, then maybe I can at least curtail some of my self-judgement, and know that no matter what I've said or done at least I gave it a little consideration beforehand.
But then the other part of me says, why should I have to change? So I talk a lot, I make random comments, I'm a bit of a spaz. Is there inherent badness in that? Maybe I just need to accept it, be me, and not care who doesn't like it.
I don't really know how to fix me. All I know is I want to be happier with me. And that's the first step.