I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and most of it is unpleasant. I feel like I’m regressing to my seventeen-year-old self or maybe my twenty-three-year-old self but either way it’s not great.
I’m worried that everyone is doing cooler stuff than I am.
Yeah, that sounds silly when I write it out. But honestly? I work with people who have done so much. People at my company have directed award-winning films, acted in independent films, been on television shows, worked as professional athletes, owned highly-rated local bars/restaurants, and lord knows what else. I? Have done nothing.
And I’m worried that, by virtue of everyone being cooler than me, no one is really going to like me.
It took until my last job to finally know the feeling of fitting in. I had a group of girlfriends in elementary school but I’m so far removed from that – and most of those people – that I don’t consider that to count. I had a group of friends in middle school – until they all decided the new girl was prettier and cooler and stopped saving a place for me at the lunch table (and, you know, speaking to me at all). I had friends in college but hung on the periphery of everyone else’s social groups and my study-abroad experience involved nearly the entire group disliking me. At my last job, it took months but suddenly I fit in and everyone liked me and it didn’t matter that they had been the cool kids in high school and the Greek kids in college and I had been the awkward loner. People just liked me. I always felt in the middle of things, like I was welcome and included and wanted.
I don’t want to give that up. Yet suddenly, I’m noticing how desperate I am and I hate that it probably comes through. I’m loud and I’m obnoxious and only half of it is because of my personality. The rest of it is because I’m afraid if I let myself fade into the background everyone will forget about me and I won’t matter anymore. I’ll be left out again. Because I don’t have a lot about me that’s interesting, it’s even worse.
For some reason, I also worry that if people really like someone else, that means they have less capacity to like me. If I’m not everyone’s favorite, that means they can’t like me at all – in my mind. The rational part of me knows it doesn’t work that way; the seventeen-year-old inside hasn’t learned that yet.
Because I have no definining characteristics, no exciting experiences to talk about or any discernable talent to speak of, I have to figure out how else to make people like me – and how else to feel like I matter. And sometimes it’s really, really hard.