I’ve always had an insecurity problem, ever since I was young. I never had that many friends, and even in my small circle, it was hard to pinpoint one person I truly shared everything with and felt comfortable around.
that in itself was a self-perpetuating cycle. poor self-esteem led to negativity and passiveness in character - traits that repel others, which led to poorer self-esteem.
my life revolved around how many people liked me and to what extent they liked me. those measures alone determined my self-worth.
i was raised that way too, by my parents. I was put down and yelled at if I chose an outfit that looked “ugly”, if I spent too much time running and still couldn’t make the Varsity team, if I made a wrong decision, if my grades were lower than expectations. to me, the last reason was the only reasonable one to condemn a kid.
as a result, i started to hide. everything.
I began journaling in fifth grade and dropped it soon when my mom discovered them.
but it was hard to keep everything in, especially when high school started and the friend issue didn’t go away. the inferiority complex still existed - i had too many emotions bottled up that I couldn’t tell anyone.
so piles on piles of notebooks ensued, a note pad here, a rant there, stashed in between the mounds of paper at the bottom of my drawer, the small crevice behind my bed, the cracks beneath my bedside table - everywhere I thought my mom wouldn’t look.
what did i write about?
friends who pissed me off, my dreams, my goals, crushes, romantic poetry (gross), my mom and her parenting style which I disagree with, my frustrations - all about me. it was a place where I could be completely selfish and blow off every steam choking my lungs.
but that was just hiding from my parents. how about my friends?
I had two friends in high school who I actually talked to, about real stuff. One of them I don’t actually hang out with ever, but we both enjoy talking about experiences, life, dreams, being happy, dealing with negativity, and other topics I don’t typically share with the rest of my friend crowd.
and I had another friend - also my first guy friend - whom I only met in senior year. he was the only one who truly asked me, “so, what do you want to do after college?” and actually listened and cared. It’s so rare to find someone to listens in this age.
but he had to be the one who probed bits of me and dug my secrets out. I was wiling to share, but would I have been if I had to initiate the conversation?
then in college I met my best friend-now-boyfriend. we clicked immediately. somehow, I could just open up so well to him. to this day, i still don’t know why or how. there was just something that allowed and made me want to tell him everything. the scars built up through the years, my mood swings, the ugliest parts of me I wouldn’t ever want anyone to see.. and I felt comfortable enough to open this up to him.
but we didn’t only share secrets. we also shared laughter, inside jokes, and every moment with him just felt right to the extent that I sometimes feel like he’s me and we’re just the same person.
I guess that’s what made me open up so much to him.
so, now what? I’ve opened up to one person. I’ve been real (blunt) to one person - how about everyone else?
it will take time, and luck. and the willingness to risk-take and open up when the moment is right.
it will also take confidence, at least for me. believing that i’m good enough for people to like me. during the first few months of my relationship, part of the reason we fought was because i didn’t think i was good enough to be with him - i didn’t understand why he would like me. I basically had no friends, wasn't "cool" enough, had shitty grades - I don't deserve to be loved, I thought.
but i realized after a year that first of all, everyone has friends and everyone deserves to be loved and second of all, I'm not that bad. i may be socially awkward, especially in a large group, but that at the end of the day, I still do have some friends, I'm sorta caring, and I have someone who I love and really loves me back, so I must have something worth clinging on to, right?
we all wear these masks; we all hide things. they're essential for surviving in society - there's a reason so many people seem "fake" and air headed when you talk to them, and there's a reason we don't go around telling strangers everything about ourselves. but to eventually develop a deeper connection with someone, we must be willing to open up at some point, and that's something I need to continually work on.