For over a decade I’ve held on to someone who was never mine, someone I should never have held in such regard. While there were some wonderful moments, they were far less than the pain I’ve carried throughout its duration. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you want, especially when you’re too blind to see that you’re not wanted.
My self worth was always defined by external forces, by other people, by two people. And since both of those relationships failed, I felt that I too was a failure. That I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t worth it, that I was undesirable. With my formative years now decades behind me, I see where things took a developmental turn for the worst.
For those who interact with me, I often appear to be a well-accomplished, confident, and intelligent woman. I don’t think I’ve ever felt or thought that of myself without there being someone in my life whom I believed also saw me in that way. They were my validation. In truth, I’ve always felt afraid of what people would see if they looked behind the curtain, finding out that the great and mighty Oz is just smoke and mirrors. Hell, I also feared looking!
To my detriment I would always allow the wrong people (men) to get close to me (excluding my husband). Add to that the self deprecating low self esteem that I began feeling in early adulthood and continued to feel, I seldom felt like I was enough.
Those two people had a god-like hold over me. I allowed it because they are intoxicating. They had, without having earned it, the ability to make me feel special, like I was the person that everyone else saw. My everything was caught up in them. The sun rose and set with them. Their good qualities were over amplified and their bad qualities were ignored.
I think that something in me has been broken for sometime. I was never prepared to be loved or to fall in love. My ultimate frame of reference was my parents who married young and have remained together for over forty years. Despite that, my EQ has always been underdeveloped. That singular deficiency has wreaked havoc over my entire life. Growing up, I spent more time on academics and extracurricular affiliations so any attention I received from the opposite sex was never scrutinized in the ways they should have been. There are still moments of regret where I wish I’d remained solely focused on my professional life. I was better prepared for that.
In identifying my areas of opportunity I am learning to acknowledge my shortcomings and to not cringe away from overcoming them. I’m not unlovable. I just need to give that love to those who respect, care about, and appreciate me.
Today I said my definitive final goodbye to the last of the two people whom I’d given my everything to. I’ve been emotionally and physically ill for some time and will be recovering for some time to come. With them, I would wish for things that they were incapable of providing. I sought from them what I needed to first find in myself. And no, that doesn’t absolve them of their bad behavior. It does however, mean that I have to take responsibility for my part in allowing the bad behavior. I must finally pack up the memories and the feelings and move on. I’m not defined by what they may or may not think of me.
I don’t yet see myself through the correct lens but I accept that I need a new pair of glasses. I’m forty-one years old and am just starting to get comfortable in my own skin. I’m still a bit wobbly but I know that I’m baby stepping in the right direction.