I’ve been thinking about posting this for quite some time, and this is both the longest and the most soul-baring post on this blog thus far. (You have been warned.) Therefore, I shall commence:
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It’s October 2004, and I am 23 years old. On the surface, it would seem that all is well…I live fairly comfortably, I’m getting a free education, I have knowledge and skills that should make me highly employable, I have many friends both near and far away, and (to the best of my knowledge) I’m well-liked by most people I know. Yet, every day, there are moments when I am reminded that my life is very hollow, painfully lonely, not fulfilling, and is ruled by fear and my own unwillingness to change. How did I get to this point? In many ways, I feel that I have failed myself on multiple counts.
Although this may be hard to believe for some of you (I don’t think a single regular reader of my blog has known me for more than four years), I used to be a very ambitious person, and I enjoyed doing all sorts of athletic, academic, artistic, and cultural things. I put hard work and effort into things I wished to excel at, and I succeeded at almost everything I tried. Over the years, however, my interests drifted away from me, one by one, until I have reached the point where I don’t really engage myself in any useful way. Along with my failed interests, I’ve become very afraid to do anything where I’m not almost completely certain of a favorable outcome. I never actually applied to any non-UNL graduate school program; the last time I applied for any sort of competitive job listing was at Pizza Hut back in high school; I hadn’t even been to a career fair before last week, and it still scared me to death. I know these things could have been/can be done; I know many people who haven’t had the opportunities and advantages that I’ve been fortunate to have do so, in fact. Why do I get so anxious about messing up or failing that I just don’t even try at all anymore?
Beyond my fear of failure, I have systematically become numb to my own sense of imagination, my artistic and creative interests, and my own emotions. Ask yourself: have you ever seen me act in a creative or fantastic manner? display utter joy or intense sadness? develop friendships beyond a superficial level? In all likelihood, not ever. My creative and imaginative thoughts have been banished to my dreams and my waking emotions are suppressed beneath a facade of pleasant and unyielding aloofness. I fear that I’ve gone so long without doing so that I’ll be unable to properly form deep and meaningful friendships with other people or be able to find rewarding meaning in art, music, or religion. I feel utterly incomplete as a person.
I’ve always assumed that by some point in my adult life (which until now has been roughly defined as “soon after I graduate from college”), that I would eventually find someone to fall in love with, marry, and start a family of our own. In all honestly, I can’t find anything more noble and inherently good in life than that, and as my own family has shown me the fulfillment that being part of a loving family brings. So, I’ve graduated from college once already, and will be doing so again a year from now, but where am I along this path? NOT EVEN ON IT. Over the years, I’ve had but one actual dating relationship, in which I was used, toyed with, and crumpled and thrown away, emotionally speaking. It’s hard enough for me to admit that I’m even remotely attracted to a female, and I hate flirting (except when drunk); I find it demeaning and embarrassing, and I’m horrible at it. I consider myself to be a kind, intelligent, funny, and at least an average-looking person; yet I’ve been rejected for reasons ranging to my height to my non-Christian-fundamentalist beliefs to the good old-fashioned “sorry, I’m not interested”. I do know that I am considered physically attractive (enough) by at least a few people, but let’s face it, I’m about as emotionally attractive as a garden lizard. Hell, I wouldn’t date me. Can you imagine anyone you know wanting to date me? Why is this so hard for me and so easy for everyone else?
Obviously, I know how I could make myself a better person, but why I can not seem to do so? How can I motivate myself? Why am I so afraid and not willing to change and become the more complete person I know I could be?
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I’m sorry that you had to read through all that whining and self-absorbed musing, but I’ve needed to get this off my chest for some time. I know I should probably have shared this in a less public forum than here, but sometimes you have to make do with what you have.