It really matters to me if you like my post. Like way too much. I know it shouldn’t but I find myself checking every few minutes to see if my “likes” have gone up. I rank my posts against each other to see what resonates with you.
I’m not really talking about a healthy desire for people to appreciate my success… honestly I’m more sensitive about posts like this where I let you peek behind the curtain to see who I am on the other side.
For me it’s more than just do you like my writing or style, I question if you like me. Am I enough?
If you’ve ever played peek-a-boo with a baby you may, like myself, be amazed by their inability to perceive permanence. If a baby can’t see you, they think you’re gone and can’t see them. When a ball rolls behind a sofa, it ceases to exist.
That’s cute and comical in a baby … but I started to notice the same behavior in myself.
Over Thanksgiving break I had a few days without plans where I was just at home. Other than Sunday school and a quick trip to the store, I’d been isolated from people since lunch Friday. With friends and family busy, I didn’t really get texts or emails and I felt totally alone.
This was extremely productive time … I acomplished quite a bit. The bizarre thing is that by Sunday night I found myself questioning “am I really here?” As if the fact no one saw or acknowledged me for a few days called my existence into question.
Rediculious, right? But unfortunately very true.
What’s worse is this isn’t the first time … not even close. Anytime sickness has me trapped in the house, travel seperates me from my community, or even just a lonely afternoon… I drift into questioning my purpose and even my existence.
I think back to a song that went “if I could fall into the sky, do you think time would pass me by?” and I want to scream “YES” at the top of my lungs. On multiple occasions I’ve actually calculated how many days I could be dead in my apartment before anyone would even notice I was missing.
Where does this come from? This uncertainty of my own permanence? And how do I cure it?
Honestly I don’t have a magic answer but (as usual) welcome to my messy progress.
I’m not fully sure where this comes from but I believe it may be years of drifting between the real world and my pretend worlds. My escape mechanism from perceived irrelevance, as a middle child in a family with four kids and both parents working, was to fabricate imaginary worlds where I’m the most important person.
Over time these pretend worlds became more my reality than the world around me. So maybe when I feel invisible here I start to question if I belong there. (It has been years since I’ve even visited there… so maybe not.)
Regardless of why I question my existance, the medicine I’m learning to take is pretty simple… I question my thoughts:
Why do you think you’re unreal?
Who says you’re not enough?
What scares you about alone time / down time?
Y’all, I wish I could tell you I do this every time. But it’s exhausting! Sometimes I just want to throw up my proverbial hands, say “you’re right, I don’t exist,” eat a cookie, and go to bed. (Hey, if I don’t exist then calories don’t count.)
Last week I was in a situation where everyone around me was moms and the entire conversation was about babies. I had nothing to contribute, as a single girl with little interest in tiny people until they can at least communicate… I felt pretty irrelevant.
Historically, this would be a scenario where I would question if I exist. Surrounded by people yet unable to participate. I texted Donovan that night:
Spending 90 minutes with three women talking about their pregnancies / birth / mothering experiences made me feel left out / incomplete. But I didn’t feel unreal. Like I didn’t question my existence… In some strange way that feels like progress.
And really, progress is all we can hope for because if you aren’t growing you’re dying and perfect can never improve.
Maybe you don’t question your existance but you dislike your body? Maybe you just wish ___ would notice you. Challenge your thoughts and see if they’re valid. You may find the ball behind the sofa after all. 💖