Ever feel like you’ve strayed off course?
Like you are someplace completely foreign and you have no idea where you took a wrong turn?
That’s where I’m at right now.
For the longest time I’ve made my own map.
I knew where I was going and I didn’t deviate from it.
The roads were lonely and predictable, but I knew where the destination led to and I would get there with minimal emotional damage.
I couldn’t afford to get hurt because I had already suffered so long for just existing.
My childhood and the consequential depression made sure of that.
But life isn’t a clear course.
There are unexpected twists and turns, detours and ditches.
And somehow, I ended up here.
Feeling completely lost from who I was and where I thought I would be.
I thought I was past all the childhood bullshit.
I thought I had figured out long ago that I didn’t need validation, love and acceptance from anyone else besides myself and God.
But I realize now, I had just been ignoring it.
I had not dealt with it.
There’s a difference between pushing aside a need and actually searching to fill it.
My recent misadventures in dating has brought to light things I didn’t even realize lurked under the surface.
Among the things that’ve come up is that I feel a need to be validated, loved, accepted, and fulfilled by someone else.
That deep down I feel like I’m not complete enough for myself.
This is devastating for me to realize since I thought I was okay and had it all figured out and dealt with.
I mean, I’m independent, don’t generally care what other people think, do what I want when I want, and have done it alone if and when necessary.
Then I started searching for companionship again and those old insecurities, the abandonment and trust issues reared their ugly heads in full force.
My childhood come back to haunt me.
The constant need for validation, for consistent attention, to hear that I’m liked, shown that I’m accepted, giving my all in order to get and keep it, holding my breath and waiting to be disappointed, then feeling devastated when it actually happens… all that stems from the consequential insecurity of hot and cold displays of love from my parents.
The very people I learned love from.
I look at my nephew and I think, “My God, he is going to be such a secure and happy person all within himself.”
He is surrounded by consistent, unconditional love by the foundational people around him, he has no reason to believe that if he does something wrong, love and attention will be withdrawn from him.
He will not equate mistakes as him being a “bad person” or feel unworthy of love and have a constant drive to earn it.
He will never feel the need to beg and search for attention and acceptance.
That insecurity will not exist inside of him.
I’m so happy for him. But I’m also envious. Because I look at myself and my siblings and how we all struggle so desperately to fill that void to the best of our abilities.
In a way, we were set up for failure.
It’s not our fault. I’m trying to give myself grace in my own failings and struggles because it wasn’t my own doing.
But now that I’m aware, I am taking responsibility to do better. To learn different. To work on it. For myself.
My map looks very different from when I first laid it out.
What once was a clear course outlined in permanent marker is now riddled with pencil marks and blank spaces.
I am lonely, sad and feeling hopeless.
I know this is going to be hell to work through and I’m going to have many days of feeling horrible and desperate.
It would be much easier to just keep searching to fill the void with someone else.
But I refuse. Because I know better now. And I want better than a temporary Band-Aid.
I want to feel like enough for myself. I want to be content and secure, even when I’m alone.
I’ve never walked away from something worthwhile because it was too messy and difficult to handle.
I know the value of things.
And what is more valuable than investing in myself, even if it means getting messy and being in pain for a while?