(Also, sorry it's late. I spent the morning getting rid of a virus that kept redirecting my webpages to some other page)
Most of you know about my almost-breakdown that happened as a result of the reactions to THIS post. Hint: it's the one about me not liking it when people give me compliments on my physical appearance. That post opened up a massive storm, apparently. Some people really got it (glad you did), some people were indifferent about it, some people didn't get it, but decided to respect my quirk, and some people took it as an affront to their own person.
Apparently writing about my own personal feelings on being complimented was "biting people's heads off" amongst other things. I defended my right to feel as I do, and it soon blossomed into a colossal battle that, frankly, still has me reeling.
It also had me thinking. A lot. I'm not going to rehash the two week long argument, but I do mention it because it had me questioning my sanity and directly placed me where I am now. Being treated like your feelings are not only wrong but entirely unimportant and unworthy of consideration can really - pardon the language - fuck with you.
Though the argument has ended, it has left me struggling with myself.
Am I insane? Am I wrong? Why don't my feelings count?
It's something I've dealt with practically all my life. Looking back now, I can see the pattern of treatment that continually repeated up until now. It's part of the reason, I think, that my putting my foot down created such a furore. I've almost always sacrificed my self-respect for the sake of "peace." To keep the boat from rocking, I let people trample all over me.
My "friends," peers, colleagues, sometimes even family.
I was repeatedly shown, and so came to believe, that I did not matter. I was, in effect, not a person. I was a mat, a peace-keeper, the bottom rung on a ladder, a mud scraper, but never a person. I figured that if I was talented enough, smart enough, pretty enough, good enough then people would respect me. Since very few people ever did, clearly I was not talented enough, smart enough, pretty enough, good enough.
It's flawed logic, I know. But it made sense at the time.
Naturally, this attitude spread into every aspect of my life, from my hobbies, to my ideas of what my profession should be, my studies to my own opinion on my physical appearance. I was not talented enough, strong enough, smart enough, thin enough, pretty enough, good enough to get serious about any of it.
I'm not telling you all this to re-open wounds or to pick more fights. It's just what is... or was, actually.
This attitude has definitely changed of late.
It started with my martial arts training, and that start is the reason I feel as strongly as I do about my training. When I started training with Wutan Canada, I was a chubby, withdrawn, shy and miserable young woman of twenty-four. I had one real friend in the world (with whom I've recently reconnected. Yay!).
Now I'm a slightly less chubby, capable, confident and mostly happy woman who will be teaching two martial arts classes of my own this spring.
The people at Wutan Canada were all so welcoming, patient and fun that I was able to be myself and, most importantly, not fear rejection. And I was not rejected when I proved what a goofy dork I can be. In fact, they accepted it easily and readily. I now count these people amongst my closest friends.
They're actually a lot like family to me.
It was through my friends at Wutan that I met and moved in with the Amazing Flatmate, who is practically a sister at this point.
It is because of the confidence I found while training that I decided to give my hobby the chance it needed to become a career. I decided to get serious about my writing. I decided that I had what it took to be successful. I decided I had talent enough.
So I dove in. I've made a tonne of mistakes, and am still making them (points to whomever can find the most typos in this post). Along the way, I've met the most incredible people. People I respect and admire a great deal and, importantly, who respect me. I have now close friends I adore because I started this writing journey. That alone has made it worth it, critical success or no.
My rising self-confidence and my experience of what mutual respect looks and feels like means that I will no longer tolerate the treatment that had me feeling subhuman for most of my formative years. However, whenever old patterns threaten, or people try to pull the same shit, the fact that I spent so long feeling at fault makes it difficult to accept that I'm not really wrong.
Logically, I know the my feelings are my feelings, and are thus not wrong or stupid. They simply are.
I know that I have value.
I know that I'm a person.
Yet the old emotions flare up, and it is a struggle to reign in these ghosts from my past. That is where I am right now. I'm struggling to remember that I have value, and that I deserve respect.
I will get there. I have amazing people in my life right now. By the by, I love you, amazing people. Every one of you.
The same supports that dragged me from where I was are there to catch me if I start sliding back.
Even if they weren't, I have gained too much to revert to the way I was. That person is no longer me, even if the baggage of old me does weigh me down sometimes.
I also want to address something that was brought up to me. Some people have variously expressed admiration or discomfort with how much of my inner life I'm willing to share on this blog.
I don't believe in presenting a lie of perfection. I'm human, like most everyone reading this. As a human being with a function brain, I have thoughts, and opinions. Things happen to me. They aren't always good things.
The take away I would like from this blog, however, is not that bad shit happens, but that bad shit can be overcome.
Not only is it a little cathartic for me to share my burdens with the world a bit (not all of them, mind, nor many of them in great detail. There's a lot that I leave out), but I do it because I know there are other people out there struggling with the same bullshit I have dealt with (and still am, in some cases).
I've said it before, but it bears repeating. I write these things for others who are struggling; so that they know they are not alone, that others have experienced similar hurts and made it through to see happier times. It's the same reason I write openly about my depressive spirals and my anxiety. My hope is that someone might read these words and no longer feel alone, and feel comforted, and hopeful.
So, if you're feeling down and you're reading this, there is something I want you to know:
You are talented enough. You are smart enough. You are strong enough. You are good enough.
I believe in you.
Now, GIANT INTERNET HUGS FOR EVERYONE!