There are many things that I wish I could change about myself. Much like every other 20-something year old, I’ve still yet to find my footing in this world, nor have I even begun to comprehend its complexities. Part of me believes that there is a darker side to my personality that manifests itself when I find myself alone with my own thoughts for a prolonged period of time.

This is one of those thoughts.

As introverted as I may be and as much as I adore my alone time, there are days when it can get to you.

One thing I could never understand about this particular facet of my personality, where I find myself yearning constantly for real or true connections with other people, is how intense I can be about finding the right person to build that connection with. I am not made to function on falsified relationships filled with empty greetings or a cheap attempt to conduct small talk with those who just do so for the sake of doing so.

Maybe it is my envy that is tying me down. I am ashamed to admit that I am envious of those who appear to live a charmed life with their seemingly perfect lifestyles. I have never known what it means to be “popular” in any sense of the word.

I know what it means to be a social pariah. At one point, I may have even deserved it, given my tendency to lash out when I was younger. I was so full of fear and anger from being told how being myself was not the way forward, that being myself was probably the worst thing I could have ever done. It took me a long time to realize how fighting back drove people away. I know that I did it to protect myself from hurt and betrayal. I know that I shut those whom I felt were not worthy enough away because after all, we are not all saints. I am no saint myself, but I do know through those experiences, how important it is to be kind and patient in the face of adversity. But I am still afraid that my kindness means nothing to those who only seek to take advantage of it. So when I see these perfectly constructed events being posted on social media, this horrible feeling just wells up inside of me. My logic tells me it can’t possibly be the case for them all the time. Nobody lives that perfect a life. Everyone is flawed and everyone has problems that they’d rather not divulge to the public. My logic is infallible yet my emotions get the better of me.

This all seems like a contradiction when I put it all down on paper. I yearn to build relationships yet I am wary of people and their intentions. I could blame this all on my past. I could easily say that it has turned me into what I am today, but that would be taking the easy way out. I have grown so much since those days and learned valuable lessons, so why do I keep holding on to painful memories that only serve to remind me of the person that I was?

Perhaps I’m just a sadist. I am 23 years old and living in one of the busiest cities in the world — this should be the most exciting experience of my young life, yet I am afraid to branch out and live. I know this and yet here I am, sitting at home typing away on a machine that I’ve turned into a crutch I lean onto whenever I’m faced with immense change. To some extent, this city overwhelms me. It’s like I’ve been taken out of a pond and been thrown into the ocean with no life jacket to help keep me afloat.

The world is passing me by without even blinking while I’m struggling to hold myself together with whatever resolve I have left.

At the end of the day, I am still that scared little girl who’s deathly afraid of being hurt and I wish I knew how to stop being her.

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