Checking-In

self portrait 1

I was sick earlier this week and, while taking a photo of a plant in my living room, I decided to prop my camera up on the couch and take some self-portraits. My nose was red and raw, my skin sticky with sweat from fever, and my eyes felt heavy and unable to open all the way. But….I sat down and took some photos of myself, sickly and feeling terrible, anyways.

It had been a long time since I took self-portraits. Just an honest-to-goodness photo of myself. Not a selfie to post on insta or to snap to my friends. Just me-time in front of the camera for no reason other than I can. It was a good time to check-in with myself.

I try to map growth and keep track of the realizations I have about myself. I do this mentally, or in writing, or in conversations with friends. Here are some of the things I’ve been learning, or re-learning, about myself lately:

  • There is a member of my family who I have spent the last 23 years trying desperately to please. And even though I know I do not need someone else’s approval to validate my worth, I seek it from this person anyway. Desperately. And always failing. Even though I know that this person has many issues of their own to work through, I try so hard to please. Earlier this year, I was out for drinks when I told my date, “All my life, I’ve only ever wanted to please [this person].” He looked surprised and then smiled sadly, and I realized that that was the first time I’d ever admitted that truth to myself. So there it is. And I frequently allow myself to break down and cry hysterically because of it, asking myself why I am not enough for that person.
  • Last night a friend with a substance abuse problem called me on the phone to harangue me about everything that he finds wrong with me. This isn’t the first time he has verbally attacked me while drinking. You are so judgmental even though you think you are not. You’re so flippant about dating and don’t actually care about the people you date. You’re always trying to start an argument about every little thing. I cried myself to sleep last night, after texting my co-worker to say, “Even if they are an addict, it still hurts to hear awful things said to you, about you.” Sometimes I let the opinions of my friends, opinions rooted in their insecurities & pain rather than my own flaws, get in the way of how I truly see myself.

self portrait 2

  • I’m heartbroken and pining after a boy right now, even though I get scolded by my friends for doing so. I tried going on a date last week, but got home and was overwhelmed with grief and sadness missing this other boy. He was the second guy I’ve ever loved, and only the second person in my life who I’ve ever wanted to be with. It took me two years to get over my last boyfriend, and now I’m worried that it will be another two years until I’m ready to date again….and probably some time more after that until I find another person who I want to date. It seems like for some people, it is so easy to find someone and fall in love and make life work perfect. To find someone who is willing to make sacrifices for you, just as you are willing for them. I want to find that person, and I wish life wasn’t making it so hard.
  • My friend Lily wrote a piece on her blog today about timing in relationships. I love what Lily has to write about dating, but this one is a concept that I cannot agree with. I’ve never understood – or allowed – stupid reasons for break-ups. Timing is one of those things. If you truly love someone and want to be with them, you find a way to make it work no matter what obstacle is in the way. I live with the staunch belief that relationships – and that includes friendships – are the most important thing in life. When you need help, it isn’t your achievements that come to the rescue. It isn’t the places you’ve been or the jobs you’ve had. It’s your friends. So why do we spend so much of our lives prioritizing stupid things and letting love & relationship get put on the back-burner?
  • I have a business idea that I’m really excited about. I’ve had a streak of creativity as of late and my mind is brimming with ideas of things that I want to do. I came up with a children’s storybook idea for a fun side-project, and am also formulating an idea for a business venture for myself. I love my job so much. But I don’t want to die wondering, “What if I had gone out on a limb for my professional goals? What would it have been like to develop, run, & power my own business?”

self portrait 3

This is where I shamelessly am in life right now. I’m okay admitting to be the girl who cries over stupid things and whose heart is hung up on someone else and who has fears of failure. Although I don’t agree that I actually have the flaws that my one friend says that I do, I know that I have others. And I know that they hold me back and that I need to work on them. So here I am, checking-in, and taking full responsibility for where I’m at right now.

2 thoughts on “Checking-In

  1. I’ve commented on your blog a couple of times now. A long time ago, I emailed you about Christianity and how you made peace with homosexuality and abortion. I’ve followed your blog for years now, and it’s basically the only blog I ever read anymore. I really, really relate to you. It astounds me to know there’s someone like me out there.
    I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling ashamed because, not only does it take me a long time to find someone I like (I’ve been called picky too many times to count), but then when I do like someone, it takes me forever to get over them. I am particular. And I care a lot. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life working on caring more about what I think about myself, and less about what other people think.
    This blog post really helped me feel not alone. I always think I’m odd and I don’t make romantic connections easily because of the way I was raised. But now I see that there are people out there who feel like I do, and that I shouldn’t feel so strange. I guess I’m not strange. I don’t mind being particular. It’s my life. I only mind when other people tell me it’s wrong.
    I don’t understand why other people want to make you feel guilty for taking a long time to get over someone. I’ve experienced this over and over again. It’s not like I’m not trying to move on with my life. It’s not like I’m trying to force my way into the other person’s life. I’m just still grieving. Why is that wrong? Why is that offensive?
    I’m glad you’ve kept up your blog. I relate to your way of thinking and feeling. I respect the things you’ve shared on your blogs. I appreciate your willingness to be open and honest with the world. Thank you.

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    1. Abby – you make my heart so full! I am in the process of writing/deciding to publish a whole post about grieving post-break-up and how to “heal” a broken heart. I think this made me feel one step closer to feeling ready to put it out there in the world. I think there need to be more people like us who make romantic decisions very heavily, and who allow the natural fallout of a broken heart to be natural and okay. I get called “picky” all the time, and never once has it ever been in a nice way – it’s almost like people say, “You are not valuable enough, just choose any old person & get over yourself!” And then the same goes when my heart has been broken – “Get over yourself, ignore your feelings, and move on!” We need to make the grieving process of a broken heart has less stigma, and we need to lift up the fact that finding a partner & being in love isn’t flippant or something that you should settle for. I am SO glad that you are still reading along with me & hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with me.

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