I used to be so afraid of being on my own. I am not sure whether to write this post in the past or the present tense because I still continue to struggle with that fear. Present tense it is then.
My fear of feeling alone has nothing to do with: not being in a relationship or not being around people. Hence the difference with being physically alone. Instead it is about being with ” myself “. So here I am writing to remind me that it is ok to be with my own company.
Running away from my emotions
A few months after I started therapy and really working on myself, I realized that when I was not thinking about food exercise cleaning, daydreaming about a perfect family or a perfect relationship then I was left with facing “me”. The person on the inside. I was left with the emotions I never wanted to feel especially the negative emotions, I was constantly running away from. There I was with my pain, sadness, anger, shame, guilt… I was left being “a human being”, a sensitive person, an emotional person, a state I never allowed myself to be as if it was illegal to FEEL.
Instead of letting these emotions run through me, I punished myself through controlling food, exercise and through rituals that permitted me to constantly drown in my own pity party. Yet, none of it ever gave me any energy instead it drained the life out of me. The pity torturous party was followed by the worst hang over, guilt and shame. I wasn’t actually living my life and being who I am.
I was running from it because it was not the perfect life I should have. I was too busy running away, punishing myself believing that I was the ugliest, the worst person and that I was a failure because I could never ever be perfect in my eyes or in anyone else’s eyes.
From imaginary thoughts to reality
Today I went to the beach with my little dog. I was hoping noone would be there because I did not want to see any human beings around me. I didn’t want to deal with my thoughts that the people may think I’m fat or that I am pathetic because I’m on my own and I have no one around me. I did not want to deal with these imaginary judgments.
That’s just it though they are just imaginary thoughts. Even if people around me might be thinking that I am whatever it is that they think I might be, at the end of the day it doesn’t really make a difference. I can just go on about my day and just be. Easy to say but since I have gotten so used to devilising myself these thoughts still come up often. In fact, just a few months, maybe a year ago, those thoughts would’ve stop me from enjoying a walk at the beach on my own with the cutest dog in the world.
Not where I “should” be
As I drove back from the beach I realized that I am 28 now, at the end of this year I’ll be 29 and at the end of next year I’ll be 30. I also realized that in spite of all of my controlling in the past, I am still not the image of the person that I thought I should be. I wanted to be thin with perfect hair, perfect skin. Only then, I believed, I could be loved by anyone. Truth is only then I would love myself. You see because only then would I look perfect.
I forgot the part that none of that mattered so long as I embraced my extra weight, sometimes dry hair and blemished skin. I was also blinded from the fact that I could not be thin without abusing myself. I misunderstood what dieting or healthy eating was. I used it to my own advantage to torture myself to attain the impossible.
At this point, since as early as 13 years old, I set myself a goal that : I had to be a lawyer and married with a dog and one or two kids in my twenties. Because this is what I should do to be the perfect daughter, sister or whatever. I still want this but in reality I have absolutely no control over it.
Law, I can work toward, and I have, I still feel I want to progress but I believe it is a healthy motivation because it is rooted in me wanting to better myself for my own intellectual challenges.
Relationships, marriage etc…. It takes two and the second person has not walked into my life just yet. You see in my culture and may be just as a social construct in general, if you are passed 25 years old, my understanding was that I should already be either settled down, in a relationship or planning or somewhere along that path. Since none of that happened for me, I always thought that I was a failure, I still sometimes think that I’m a failure and that’s part of not accepting who I am, who I have become and where I am at now.
Making peace with my emotions
I became a little scared on my drive back home. Then, with some degree of logic and before I threw myself into my past habit of a pity party. I reminded myself that I am not so bad afterall. Even though I don’t have a perfect body, it is ironically twice the weight that I wish it was, my hair has become fluffier than ever and my skin has some acne free weeks and some “oh my gosh what the heck happened kind of week”.
At the end of the day if I keep running away from myself, I will keep on missing out on who I am and missing out on my life. These days, often when I feel down or when start thinking “I’m a failure” . I reverse these thoughts by “getting real with myself”. I go through an exercise where I count my blessings and accept my imperfections. Where I bring to light what I could improve in my habits and most importantly congratulate myself for what I have achieved.
Peace with inner “me”
It has now become easier to sit with myself because I can accept who I am. I can accept when sadness, anger, joy, disappointment and fear that visits. The are at the end of the day what makes me the person I am and I am comfortable with that. I allow myself to cry, to be angry and scream into a pillow.
Accepting outer “me”
My physical self is much more difficult to accept because it is what is seen on the outside. Also because I tend to jump into judging myself or imaginning that others are judging me. There in lies my rejection. I have come to realize that it actually takes longer for my body to mould without me controlling it. Because it is a reflection. A reflection of what is inside. When I am broken and abused on the inside so it is mirrored on the outside.
The struggle continues
There are times, I can accept that I have one body and mind to love, one body and mind to cherish. That my body needs time to adjust, to change and that for me drastic self imposed change leads me down a path of destruction. My mind needs acceptance and understanding.
I guess what I am most thankful for is that this body and mind saw me through thick and thin. Literally. I have abused my body left and right. Starved it, overfed it, dehydrated it. Yet it is still standing. I now know that this will only happen from the inside out. With a lot of patience and acceptance.
I know this still journey has just started. I still have a long way to go. Yet I am thankful I had the courage to start it. I had the strenght to own up to my own abuse and to free myself for my illogical thoughts.
Therapy continues. Work continues. Acceptance fluctuates but at least it is there now.