“Who am I?” I have been asking myself this question since I can remember. That’s how I imagine a person who has amnesia going about life in an effort to figure out their identity. But when did I lose mine? Did I ever have one?
In “A Good Actress”, I wrote about me ‘putting on a performance’ for people so they wouldn’t see the real me. I did this for so many years that it was even hard for me to know who I truly was! I’m not talking about split personalities here. It’s just the fact that I never took the time to get to know me, because I was too busy wanting to be someone else.
When is it that we refuse to get acquainted with someone? Is it when we learn of their status in society? Maybe we’ve heard they have a bad reputation. Or their appearance may not be to our liking. What factors are involved when we make an effort to get to know someone? It may be an overall attractive appearance, or having heard good things about such a person. So when it comes to ourself, why do many of us (I’m aware I’m not alone) walk around confused about our true identity? I personally didn’t want to know myself. I hated my entire being! Don’t we avoid people we hate? I do! Self hate kept me hidden away all these years, but why?
Showing others my true identity meant that I was comfortable with who I was, and I wasn’t. This involved a lot of denial on my part. I lied to myself because I didn’t want to face things. It had been a good coping mechanism when I was a child, but in my adulthood it was the source of my loneliness. I didn’t understand how withholding my true self from others kept me from forming meaningful relationships. How would I describe it now? Imagine yourself going over to hug someone, but first, they made sure to place a pillow between the two of you! How good would that feel? That would drive me crazy! Yet that’s what I was doing.
In order to begin the process of knowing me, I had to deal with the self hatred. That hate came with plenty of hurt feelings. It was all a heavy load I could no longer carry. It was time to let it all go. I needed help with this. I had tried doing it by myself before, but it became overwhelming and I gave up. Having someone who will be neutral and non judgmental is essential for this step. You need to feel safe in order to open up. And if the nature of all that self hatred is sensitive, a professional will be better equipped to help you through it. I went through two different therapists, a psychologist and a psychiatrist before I found my current therapist. The fact that they are professionals doesn’t mean that just any one will be a good match for you. Don’t give up!
I’ve always had an identity, I just wasn’t aware of it. Now when I look in the mirror, I no longer see confusion in my eyes. I probably still look ‘spaced out’ from time to time, but that’s because I may be processing something profound (for ex. the weather)! It seems like every new thought nowadays is like discovering something wonderful. I don’t dread getting to know me anymore. I look forward to it. I have a lot of catching up to do. This gal is not so bad after all, she’s pretty cool!
So how well do you know you?
Love you guys ; )