The last few years have been eye-opening. And as much as I sometimes cringe at this site, it has been the source of so much of my evolution. For nearly four decades, I have been contorting and conforming myself to fit in — mimicking and adapting in order to be “normal.” Even surrounded by friends and family, it’s been quite lonely, to be honest.
The diagnosis that explained so much also brought with it new questions. Is this permission to stop adapting to what I imagine others expect of me? If I drop my filter, am I being true to myself or just being a jerk? Figuring that out has taken years and cost me some precious relationships.
I am now in the year of my 40th birthday and it makes me more thoughtful. This is mid-life, if I’m lucky. There’s no point in dwelling on all the ways I’ve fucked up, but I’m constantly evaluating if I like things because I like them…or if I think I’m supposed to like them.
In this year, I have goals I want to reach before that milestone birthday. And the biggest one is to know myself. The last year has seen more and more of me emerging and it’s been painful. There’s a struggle to not apologize for myself. And to let go of the people who leave me feeling less than. Those attachments were hard to sever, because I used to allow other people’s perceptions of me to become my perception of me. I struggled against what I was being told versus how I felt. In the end, I had to chose me.
Those closest to me now know me well. They see me without the exhausting facade. The following quote from this blog describes fitting in as someone deemed “high functioning”:
”You’ve misunderstood me. You see me here, masking to fit in and you pat my mask on its papier-mâché corners and tell me how wonderful it it. But it isn’t. It’s heavy. It weighs me down and exhausts me. I can’t play with my hands inside my mask, which means I can’t drown out the sensory noise with my nice senses. I have to watch you so carefully to match you expression for expression and check your true meaning against your words. I have to put my face on and decode yours and speak and emote, and communicate in your ways that are so unnatural to me…”
I am fortunate that I have my circle of trust. I try to make sure I am clear about what being one of my people entails…I trust you not to leave. I trust you to hear me out. I trust you not to doubt me. Because with you, I am bare and honest, and to be rejected for that will undo much of the work I have done to be true to myself and others. This feels like it might be a burden, but I give the same to them and feel no extra weight, so maybe it’s not.
In this 40th year, there will growing pains. I have to question everything in order to evaluate if it is something true to me or if it is an adaptation decision. It makes me tired. But this is the work I have to do. Talk therapy does nothing for me, so I have to enact action. Trial and error.
And all I know for today is that I want bangs. I didn’t say these things would be profound…