Hello, me. How am I doing today?
Yes, I know, what an eye-roll inducing question. Obviously I know how I am today (so far), but I’ve never really asked myself that question before. The older I get – yes, I’m not exactly at the age of wisdom nor even close to said age yet, the more I realize that it’s important to stop sometimes and do a quick mental check up on how I am.
When someone asks me that question, I answer depending on how close I am to that person. Come to think of it, I don’t think I get a “how are you” asked to me unless it’s work-related. I almost always present the generic answer of how I’m doing well and then deflect the spotlight onto my customer / business partner in those cases.
People I interact with are typically divided into two categories: ones I contact daily (not constantly, because as fun as that might be at times, it takes up a lot of energy and focus, and I typically don’t like half-assing communication with people I care about) or ones I talk to every few days or weeks or months or year. Actually, there’s another category I forgot about – people I know but never talk to anymore (not necessarily because of falling out, but because of changes in life and priorities). I only ask and get asked said question above for those who I don’t contact as frequently.
Before I go on, I feel like it’s important to note that just because I don’t contact someone daily doesn’t mean that I don’t care about him / her. I get that life is overwhelming and constantly changing and sometimes it’s not possible to keep in touch. I mean, it is feasible, but there are certain difficulties that hinder communication, and it’s okay. I’ve been through states of radio silence for days and my best friend has absolutely called me out on it by bombarding me with lots of I’m needy, come back / feed me attention / love me messages (haha, I feel kind of terrible about it, but he knows that I love him though).
Note: My best friend is not needy, we just joke about it. Clingy is not sexy. I used to be really emotionally dependent. My mood fluctuated easily, and it was based on how people I cared felt during that moment. That was my priority, yet I never really put emphasis on how I was feeling. I aimed / still aim to please those who matter to me, but I’ve been trying to exercise my boundaries as much as I can and reminding myself that happiness doesn’t come from anyone but myself so I don’t smother people and accidentally drive them away. Why do I care so much about the feelings / moods of the people I care about? Here’s another confession: because I didn’t, or should I say, I don’t on occasion (again, this is really unhealthy thought) believe that I’m worthy enough to be liked / loved / appreciated by the ones who are in my life. I’m really trying here, so I’m going to give myself some credit.
Sometimes I just don’t have sufficient mental energy to respond to anyone, and I only interact with others when it’s necessary. During those days, all I want to do is to (this is going to get oddly specific) light up a candle, sit on my bean bag chair, and either browse through the internet / watch Netflix or read a book, and drink a glass of wine or whiskey. Shit, I’m actually doing that now. I lit up a vanilla scented candle, opened Spotify on shuffle, and I’ve been sipping mediocre whiskey while writing (Macallan 12 years, I can’t be picky if I haven’t restocked on any, so I went to the communal wine & spirits shelf and reached for the first open bottle whiskey.).
I’m still physically able to reply to people who are trying to reach me, but communication seems quite inorganic from my side because I’m not fully into it during that moment. I’d like to think my incapability at the moment as my recharge time as I’m an introvert.
[For anyone who is curious about whether they’re an extrovert or an introvert with more depth: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test that lets you understand a bit more about yourself after answering a questionnaire (that is, if you answer honestly). As accurate as some aspects may be, it’s crucial to take it with a grain of salt, as the test results cannot fully define you. It’s not supposed to. It’s a tool to make you understand a bit more about yourself, how you interact with other people, and how you act and react to situations.]
A friend of mine sent me a quote that said, “Only a few people care. The rest are just curious.”
Let that sink in a little bit. How much more angst does she want me to have? I’m kidding…or am I?
Objectively, the statement above is true. A lot of times people inquire because of curiosity. Even the people who care are curious, too. I think the main point to grasp here is the motive behind the question. More often than not, we ask not because we care, but because we’re bored. We’re in search of new and exciting stimuli in order to activate our reward system (hello, dopamine, our all-time favorite friend). I’d go into this more, but is anyone interested in learning more about brain anatomy and function? I think it’s fascinating, but I don’t want to ramble on.
The depth of the information is something that’s interesting, too. For instance, celebrity gossip tickle some people’s fancies (am I using this correctly?) and drive their dopamine levels up the roof, which explains why tabloid magazines and reality TV shows are so popular. Another main reason TV and magazines provide gratification is that we’re not that special (sorry, special snowflakes – including me, because how great would it be to be different?) and exposure to them let some live vicariously through celebrities and their glitz and glamour. Others may gain satisfaction by reading and learning more about their favorite subjects that require a bit more brainpower than absorbing mindless reality TV knowledge (one of the the topics that I will never cease to learn about is North Korea).
Now that I’ve gotten this out of the way, let’s go back to the basis of the quote, as she’s referring to personal issues. She’s pointing out that a lot of people we know (I’m going to assume mainly work colleagues, acquaintances, friends, and relatives, yes, we all have overtly zealous relatives, don’t even deny this) in our lives who don’t give a shit about us. They just want to know the details, and then get the fuck out of our lives again until the next big thing happens.
“Only a few people care.”
This might seem a bit hard to do, because we all feel a tad bit uncomfortable to question ourselves as a lot of naysayers are doing that for us already – and this task is probably more difficult for some than others, but think of the times (this is plural and the “s” letter is bolded for a reason!) that you have asked people questions purely because of curiosity. Yes, you might defend yourself saying that you cared, but to what extent? I’m going to place money and bet that you stopped caring when you figured out what’s happening, and then moved on with your life immediately. There might be once in a blue moon when that person struck a cord with you, and you actually paused and gave the affair a bit more mental effort, which may or may not evolve into actually giving a damn. I’ll give you that.
Before you get defensive, I just want to say that I’ve done it more than a handful of times and it’s okay. Everyone does it. We’re wired to be this way despite any of our differences. We are not all that special. There’s 7.6 billion people in the world. We’re bound to run into at least a handful of others who are similar to us to an uncanny extent throughout our lives. I mean, I have already, and it’s a bit…surprising in a delightful way. Anyway…back to my original topic before I go on another tangent. Here’s a tough question for you to think about: who are the few people that care? Before you answer that, here’s another one: do you care about them that much as well?
I know, I know. I’m taking the “not making 2018 yet another year of bullshit” (from Unrequited, if anyone is curious) pretty seriously especially because it’s the second week of 2018 only, and I’m tackling questions that makes one pause for more than just a few seconds. It’s okay. This post isn’t going to disappear even if it takes you a few hours or days or weeks or months or years to ponder about the answers to those questions (but seriously, my posts not that thought provoking – if they are, then I’m extremely flattered). Even if you don’t want to answer these questions, well, that’s perfectly fine, too.
I suppose if you’ve read this far already, the questions I’ve asked above probably injected a dose of existential crisis mixed and stirred with insecurity into you (I mean, at least it’s working pretty well for me…unless you’re some well adjusted, confident, and secure person who just happened to stumble upon a relatively unknown blog…and how? I’m genuinely curious, because I’m learning a lot about SEO recently). I don’t think it’s fair to ask and not answer these questions. It’s healthy for me to confront these anyway.
Before I proceed, I value anonymity and privacy a lot, so I won’t be naming anyone (as you may noticed from all of my posts) as I believe it’s a sign of basic respect for them. I also won’t be mentioning any really specific events or experiences, because they’re too personal as well unless I get permission beforehand. I don’t get mind being named or brought up on the internet by others, because, well…I’m blogging (this is a special plugin to my friend who has a Tumblr blog that I frequent in case she feels bad! Hey! You can mention my name or what we’ve talked about as many times as you want.). It is, after all, the internet, and anything that gets posted leaves a trace. As obscure as this blog is, it can be found as it is in a public forum. I feel somewhat like Ron Swanson (anyone who hasn’t seen Parks and Recreation should stop and close this page and watch it – it gets a lot better after Season 1, trust me on this, as this is the only fact I’m not insecure about in this entire post) after writing all this. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…
I can definitely list a few people who care about me apart from my immediate family members. Ironically though, my family doesn’t exhibit too much care and emotions unless we’re going through an argument (well, this is negative emotion) or a serious incident / accident / occurrence – I’m unsure as to which word to use in this case, so I’ll leave it this way.
I’ve been through thin and thick with some of my closest friends, and despite how defeating the lows were, I’m grateful to have gone through them with the support I’ve received from people I love. Maybe it’s the nature of the topic, but I feel like I need to elaborate. Just because I haven’t gone through tough times with some people doesn’t mean I don’t consider them a good / close friend. It’s easier to identify how someone truly stands when shit goes down. When they’ve seen the ugliest sides of you and still want to be there for you. When they’re not just here for the good, but they’re also here for the bad, and for everything else in between (yes, that’s the secondary title of my blog for a reason). However, despite being an occasional pessimist / realist, I still believe in the innate kindness of people, and I can say with certainty that I’d receive the adequate and appropriate support from friends who have never seen me go through serious shit yet.
However, when I overthink (a lot more times than I’d like to admit, especially given my history – I’ll go into that another day when I feel brave enough), I tend to panic and get insecure. Are the people who are here for me actually just tolerating my existence? Maybe they don’t actually give a damn about me, but they’re just too kind and they feel too sorry for my pathetic little being to say that directly to my face. My logical self says that I’m just being silly, but there’s always the tingling “what if” phrase that dangles in front of me. These “what if” thoughts create a direct downward spiral. I’ve spent minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and even years (especially during my childhood) agonizing over all of the scenarios that might have miraculously salvaged certain inevitable outcomes. The ability to think is powerful, but an overdose of it can be toxic depending on your mentality. It’s crucial to remember that at times and tread carefully.
I’m also able to think of a few other people who care about me, but…yes, there’s always that conjunction that creates an exception, but unfortunately we’re no longer as involved or extremely invested in each others’ lives anymore. Have you ever had someone you loved so much you thought you would never let him / her go? I suppose love is too strong of a word in this case, depending on the person. Basically, I’m referring to someone you’d never expect to leave your life…at least, not for a while. Then obviously, life has to throw a curve ball (how else would it be fun and exciting? Or as I’d like to call it, sporadically gut wrenching and slightly annoying) and complicate certain dynamics up. My point is – I believe that some still care about me with varying extents, and it concocts a bittersweet sensation. I can still run back to some of them for support and I know I’d be able to elicit some sort of response. It’s unhealthy though. A robust relationship should be more or less balanced, and there’s always at least a reason why there was a fading out. Going back to some of these people might provide temporary satisfaction at the moment, but in the end…it’s hollow. Interpersonal interactions without much meaning usually leaves me in a state of emptiness, anxiety, and sorrow afterwards (this excludes business meetings / dinners and meeting new people).
Now that I’ve gotten one of the difficult questions down, here’s the succinct answer to the second one: yes, I care.
I don’t think it’s easy for me to open up. I think I used to be able to open up and spill out my thoughts and feelings too easily, and so I’ve toned that down…a lot more than I should. There was a metaphor that I used before to describe someone who I really want to understand (directly to that person, actually), but I got refuted immediately by that person and said that I was probably talking about myself. As much as I don’t like admitting it, I think it’s an accurate portrayal of me, even though I was in denial then. The metaphor is along the lines of someone being an open book, but even if the pages were flipped and the words were read, there’s no point in reading if the meaning behind the text is indecipherable.
I am that damn book.
I can be candid and answer questions that are thrown to me (obviously, it depends on boundaries again and how close / connected I feel towards the inquirer). Someone can learn more about me, such as my favorite colors or dog species or specific memories and anecdotes, but they only know specific facts. It doesn’t mean much. It just means that that they know a bit more about me. Do I like this person more? Maybe, maybe not. Do I feel closer to them? Not necessarily. Does that mean I want to start spilling all of my inner fears and insecurities to them? Not even close. The pages get read, but there’s more to just the written words on the surface. I’m not even trying to be cryptic or hard to understand here, but apparently I am more difficult than I’d ever expect myself to be. I’d loved to be grasped and figured out and deciphered and despite all the lousy shit that I produce still have someone by my side.
Doesn’t it feel extremely liberating to be vulnerable and completely honest (I mean this in an emotional context) in front of people you care about? I don’t even think I’m like this towards my immediate family members. I think I’m only comfortable with displaying this state to two or three people, and it would absolutely break me (obviously I’ll heal from it, but it’ll take a while) if they were to suddenly be one of those people who suddenly withdraws and moves on with his / her life without me. To be fair though, that might be good for their sake, because I know I’m a pain to deal during my terrible times.
Just because I feel secure enough to display my raw, unfiltered states to them, doesn’t mean I do it often. I really hate inconveniencing anyone with anything (which explains why I seldomly ask people for favors and feel bad about them even when I didn’t prompt these actions & I’m always willing to assist ones I care about without expecting anything in return). Showing my most vulnerable state to them feels like the peak of inconvenience.
I’m also extremely insecure about people just leaving me. If we’re going to be really honest here, what do I have to offer to others, anyway? I’m not even referring to people who are closest to me, but to everyone in general.
What factor of me makes me worth liking, anyway? Am I a nice person? Scratch that, because what does nice even mean? Sometimes I feel like the word nice is a double edged sword. It could mean that someone’s a kind person. It could also mean that someone is bland, and there’s no other better descriptor. What parts of me do people see any value? Is it because I give them (what I think are) great advices? Is it because of my attempted humor? It is it because of my looks (haha, see what I did there)? Is it because I’m generous and giving? It it because I don’t judge (I mean, honestly, I’m not even entitled to judge anyone at my state, nor should I do that because life is hard already.)? Is it because of my intelligence (because I’m going to regretfully inform those who might’ve befriended me due to my alleged knowledge that I’m not smart at all)? I don’t even know.
Full disclosure – I don’t think I possess a lot of skills that matter. Sure, I have the ability to recognize songs from the tunes before the singing comes in. I’m also capable of noting what types of snacks or new food taste similar to. I also remember the most minuscule detail and conversations with different people that have long been forgotten. These are pretty much impractical proficiencies in life. Sure, I’m dealing with a startup that’s somewhat successful and I’m importing food and wine, but progress is slow at times. I’m fully aware that Rome isn’t built in one day, but sometimes when I stop and really give my career some thought…? I can be frank and say that I don’t even know if what I’ve done / what I’m doing is correct more than half of the time. Basically, I’m unsure and insecure in almost every important and insignificant aspect of life – career, friendship, relationship, or what to eat for lunch / dinner. It sucks.
What do people even see in me? I desperately want to know. What do they see in me that’s worthy? Why do they even care, or want to care? Are they just curious, like the quote my friend gave me? I can definitely point out the curious ones and explain the cause and effect easily. How about the people who are still here? Why? Keep in mind I’m only referring to friendship. I don’t even want to dive into romantic relationships, because I don’t think I’ve done much to deserve a fulfilling, loving, and healthy romantic relationship with someone I connect with (core values, beliefs, and backgrounds) as much as I crave for one.
There’s so much agony and doubt. I’ve always been someone who overthinks a lot. I don’t think that’s going to change soon, so I’ve already embraced it. My thoughts chew and chip away my sanity frequently, especially during the times I ruminate about specific topics like these. I can actually confidently say that my head is buzzing with negativity now, because I’m writing about my insecurity now. These thoughts are pretty much recurring and there’s nothing fresh there, but it doesn’t mean that the stinging sensation they provide doesn’t hurt. It does. I’m the one who’s able to hurt myself the most, because I know to hit where it hurts. That’s what my insecurity does. It makes me want to down a bottle or two of wine and then curl up in bed, cry until my eyes get bloated from self-loathing, and then rinse and repeat the entire process again the next day.
Don’t worry. I’ve only had two glasses of whiskey (and I’ve stopped!) with sufficient amount of water tonight. I’ve been writing for about three hours, and there were times when I’ve stopped and re-read parts, and also times when I’ve paused and just thought about some of the questions I’ve asked. There’s no desire to cry or to binge drink tonight, because I’ve done that enough times just to escape from acknowledging my insecurities directly.
I suppose one of the first step to overcome anything is to recognize its existence. I’m not referring to maybe pinpointing it at the back of your head, but to absolutely identify its presence.
I am an insecure person who craves the confidence and certainty I see some people exhibit. I’m aware of the fact that I do not know the entire story behind these people, but whatever they seem to be displaying is the state I strive to be one day. I may never get to their level, but at least I’m willing to give it a shot.
I’m also really thankful for those who are still in my life. I feel like I’ve stated this in a lot of my posts, but I consider this to be a statement that’s important enough to be repeated not just once, twice, but many more times. Some of you may never even see this post. Some of you may never even know the existence of my blog. Some of you may feel like the most insignificant person in the world at times, especially during times of defeat and self doubt. Trust me, I can relate to that feeling even though I may seem like I have myself together at times. I’m a mess. However, I feel less of a fuck up and a disaster with some of you anchoring me down. This keeps my insecurity and my mind at bay, even at the worst times.
My journey to overcoming whatever recurring insecurities I have is a long one, but I think I’m going to do just fine with what I have right now. Actually, cross that. I’m going to feel like absolute shit at times. I’m going to want to just indulge and give into my insecurities at times, and I know for a fact I’ll do that at times. I’ll hate myself. I’ll think of myself as useless and worthless. I’ll temporarily believe that all of my friends and family are just here out of pity, and not love. The most important factor to note is that I’ll be able to overcome that, no matter how long this process is going to take. I hope you’ll be able to do that, too.
PS: This post took longer for me to complete than I thought it would. I’ve had the idea to write about insecurity since a month ago, but never executed until the beginning of this month…so it took some time to gather my thoughts and put them into words, because it always feels a bit strange to be somewhat vulnerable on a blogpost in a public domain. I mean, I don’t even know who’s reading this. I think I’ll take a stab at something lighter for my next post.
PPS: Yes, I’m still blogging. Surprising, isn’t it?