Written in 2018
I’ve been thinking a lot about my life (I think it’s a symptom of turning 30 and screaming internally about everything) and I’ve been doing quite a bit of reminiscing about high school.
High school was not a kind place for me. I was suffering from un-diagnosed depression and anxiety and involved in an abusive relationship (which had me suffering from complex PTSD symptoms throughout my twenties and even today). I contemplated suicide pretty seriously throughout junior year and consider myself very lucky that I was able to survive.
I had several circles of friends, some closer than others, and some that were beloved. And, it hurts me to say that I wasn’t always a very good friend to these people. My self-loathing and social anxiety manifested itself in very maladaptive ways, and I was very judgmental and self-righteous towards my friends. Internally, I had them up on pedestals, considered myself too fucked up and awful to be loved, and yet held them to impossible standards simply because I could never meet my own.
(This is not to say that my friends at the time didn’t have their own fuck-ups; but I’m focusing on my own mistakes at the moment).
On top of this, I was struggling with romantic feelings towards some of my girl friends, which I was never able to recognize because they weren’t connected with sexual attraction (this is before I realized I was on the ace spectrum). So, I had deeply intimate feelings towards friends that didn’t really feel like friendship and was in no way equipped to handle those feelings.
This culminated in my senior year where pretty much every friendship I had blew up in my face and my abuser abandoned me after cheating on me (a blessing at the time, but one that I didn’t recognize). I was very lost and deeply hurt. But, mostly I was disgusted towards myself. I’ve never engaged in cutting or other physical forms of self-injury; I was much more prone to internal dialogues of how I deserved nothing and even death was too good for me.
This was how I entered college. I tried to start over, tried to be a better friend. I went through some pretty transformative stuff, got counseling, started recognizing that it wasn’t normal to want to be hit by a car when crossing the sidewalk. And, it certainly wasn’t normal to think all your friends hated you and thought you were annoying and were just putting up with you out of pity.
I entered a time where I loved myself furiously, with indignation, because I was so, so angry that no one else was going to love me that I figured FUCK IT I’m going to love me.
So, now I’m 30, and I’m in a very different place. I don’t have many friends, but the ones that I do are loved and cherished and I know, I actually KNOW, that they love and cherish me. I have a partner that treats me with respect and fills in my quiet spaces without treating me like I’m incomplete without him. I have the tools to manage my anxiety and depression; I have the words to tell that voice that tells me I don’t deserve things, that I’m fucked up and worthless, to fuck right the fuck off (it helps to have the voice sound like Donald Trump).
I am learning to love me, all the jagged bits and rough edges where roses bloom in between the cracks.
So, to all those people I knew in high school, friends and acquaintances and people I passed in the hall, I am sorry. We were all struggling, we all had our own demons. I hope you all are finding your way and falling in love and walking the path that you’ve chosen.