As a child, I’d throw tantrums so epic, my mother started recording them on tapes for me to listen to later, to show me just how irrational I’d been.
As a teen, I’d push limits and curfews, screaming obscenities at my parents and pushing them away as hard as I could. I’d lock myself in my bathroom, howling at them to just LEAVE ME ALONE, but silently wishing and hoping they’d come knocking again.
The fights I had with my boyfriends were epic, terrifying at times. With everything in me, I’d shove them away, hoping they’d fight for me. Prove to me they loved me.
I realize now I was just scared. I’ve always been so scared.
They’ll leave me. They don’t love me. I’ll be alone. I am unwanted.
It’s hard not to feel this way, when you’ve started life unwanted and rejected. Created by people who wanted nothing to do with me, I’d always said it made me feel special and chosen to be adopted. I painted a picture of contentment and confidence, but somewhere deep inside festered the wounds of rejection. I learned, over the years, how to protect myself and my feelings. Be strong. Be confident. Be tough. Don’t show your love. Your love is your weakness. Do not be vulnerable. Ever.
For nearly twenty years, I pleaded to be heard, to be known, to be seen, to feel safe. I never felt more alone.
I lived every day behind a shroud of brevity, hiding the softest, most vulnerable parts of me behind false strength and bravado. And one day, I finally exposed my belly, allowing the insecurities and sadness to pour from myself, truly giving myself over to another person.
And then he left me.
It wasn’t me, it was him… but we all know it was me. It was always me.
I AM: Too many emotions. Too much expectation. Too difficult. Too much introspection. Too much attitude. Too aloof. Too needy.
I am too much me.
If I thought I’d crumbled before, it was nothing in comparison to the complete breakdown of self I was confronted with next. I sat alone in my grief, surrounded by the memories, unable to piece them together to look like the picture in my head of the life I thought I’d wanted so badly.
I hated myself for thinking I may die of a broken heart. I hated my own cliches. I hated myself for feeling weak and abandoned.
I hated myself for being too much, and not enough, somehow simultaneously.
I rebuilt my fortress, stronger than ever. I vowed I’d be strong again, I’d never be so naive as to think anyone could take this heart and keep it safe. And maybe that’s the truth, maybe I am destined to travel alone.
My biggest lesson I have learned is that being alone is not the same as being lonely. It is remarkably freeing to be content with myself, by myself.
I’ve finally recognized my fear. I’ve faced the darkness, and I know how I got here. I will certainly make more mistakes, but I will never make the same ones again.
I know I’m a lot to handle.
I know I’m a rollercoaster.
I know I am full of loud laughter, and strong opinions.
I know I’m fierce.
I know my tears run too easily.
I also know I am happy. I am finally happy.
And I know that I am exactly the right amount of me.