"You're always so happy." "You are always smiling! How do you do that?" "It's impossible to not feel loved by you." "Dang -- you just have life figured out!" "I wish I was more like you."
I get comments like this a lot. I smile and nod and say thank you, then rush to encourage the speaker or point out their good qualities. I appreciate their words. I can tell (most of the time) that they're sincere. And I'm grateful for their kindness.
But -- I don't feel like I'm any of those things at all. I don't have life figured out. I know for a fact I'm not always happy, nor always smiling. People say they want to be more like me, yet I'm constantly wishing I was someone else.
I'm not "that girl." I don't have everything under control. I'm insecure and vain and shallow -- I worry about dumb, petty little things. My thoughts are often obsessive, focused on tiny issues that probably don't matter to anyone but me. I want things I can't have -- I do things I shouldn't do.
Honestly, I feel like I'm always the girl who is struggling with something. No matter what I do, something is going wrong that's outside of my control. Either that, or the internal struggles become so intense that I can barely function.
It's a miracle that I hauled myself out of bed this morning. Part of that was because I know need to work so I can pay for graduate school -- fear of massive debt or financial strain is a huge motivator for me. Part of it was because I knew I'd be more bored if I stayed in bed -- and I felt guilty for feeling bad.
I don't feel like I smile very much. I don't feel like I'm a very happy person. Often, I'm shocked that I have as many friends as I do, particularly after I was told that I'm "an incredibly negative person and no one really likes you, which is why you have no friends. People don't like you; they don't like to be around you." Comforting sentiments, let me tell you.
The happy compliments and this absolutely devastating remark swim through my head on an almost daily basis. I hear "people don't like you," and fight back "but she said I'm nice!" And it comes back, "Yes -- but you know it isn't true. Because people don't like you. You don't even like you. Even if everyone in the world liked you, you'd still be like this."
I have no reply.
Whether surrounded by friends or in the comfort of my small bedroom, it's dark. So often I find myself begging to just make it through the day, or even the next five minutes. I'll sit with my head bowed over my desk, willing the tears to go away; I'll lie curled on the floor of my room, physically trying to hold myself together until it passes.
Each time I make goals or attempt new things, I suddenly feel paralyzed. My motivation to progress and do something, anything, is overturned -- and then I'm in survival mode. Just wake up -- just roll over -- just walk out of the room -- just brush your teeth -- just make it back to your room -- just survive.
I don't want to simply survive life. I want to live life actively, passionately, maybe even a little aggressively, meaning not as someone who has things done to them. I want to be the one doing things.