Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who Am I, Anyway?

I’ve been meaning to post for days now, but I just don’t know what to say. I have plenty to say when I’m commenting on others’ lives, but mine just seems so unworthy of mention.

The truth is, I feel empty inside. I was a pretty fun kid, then a wild and rebellious teenager (by Happy Valley, Utah standards), then a passionate college student. I’ve always liked myself, even when I was down about my looks, or my job, or some of my self-destructive tendencies. I always felt like I had personality to spare, that I could shine and sparkle and charm and generally feel great about myself because people liked me. I’ll admit it, because you are my no-censorship crowd: I always thought I was pretty damn cool.

Now? I hardly recognize myself. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of myself, usually in a storefront window reflection, and I can’t believe what I see. Am I that old? Am I that fat? Worse, am I that frumpy, in my orthotic shoes and the outfits designed to cover my flabby tummy? When did I become so … ordinary? So lifeless? So joyless?

Would I feel this way if I had a child? My first baby would be one and a half years old now, in those early stages of learning to walk and talk. And I don’t grieve that baby. It was never all that real to me. But the loss of opportunity, the time passing while my body grows older and older, while I watch myself fade into the washed-out background of my empty life, that’s something that hurts more and more, day by day.

So I guess I’m depressed. Not surprising. And I’m terribly lonely. Also not surprising. But mostly I’m just tired and disappointed with life. I want to go back in time, not that far, maybe eight or ten years back, and start all over again. I want to be young again. To be thin, to be sexy, to have energy to play, to go out dancing, to be wanted. I want to be able to work out without hurting myself. I want to wear pretty shoes. I want to have friends again, not the kind you see every three months––the kind you have to talk to on the phone every day. I want to flirt, to have guys flirt back, to feel that thrill of knowing I’m sexy. I want my husband to be thinner, and interested in having sex even when I don’t suggest it. I want our bodies to fit together the way they used to, and I want to be able to have wild sex without my back hurting the next day. I want to go back to a time when my whole life was ahead of me, when I could still dream about the joy (and discomfort) of pregnancy with the innocence of someone who’s never crashed and burned. I want to feel hope, without having to smash it down, terrified of letting myself dream.

I just want to be me again. Whoever that was. I really really miss me. I liked her. And I don’t like this me so much at all.


Jill said...

You have no idea how close that is to exactly how I've been feeling for the past week or so. It's hard and it sucks and it's consuming and defeating at the same time. You can email me any time if you need to talk or just complain for hours and hours.

I hope things start to look up soon!

annacyclopedia said...

Oh, sweetie. I know this pain so well, missing my old self. Hope it makes you feel a wee bit better to know that I adore the new you.

Mrs.X said...

I know this too - it is a consequence of all that you have been through - and hasn't it been enough? You will find yourself again, it may take some time. In the mean time, be kind to the woman you see in the window. She is grieving and needs all the love in our hearts.

seriously? said...

I am so sorry that you are feeling this way. I understand not recognizing yourself. I often wish I was the girl who never thought about this stuff.

Your old self is there, just give her some time and love and she will come out.

Io said...

Wow. I think you just articulated exactly how I feel most of the time. And I'm only 26. There ya go. I trumped your depression by being EVEN MORE depressing.

Wait. That's probably not helpful.
Well, like Anna said, I think you hung the moon. I know that's not really very useful in real life and in fixing your sense of self worth, but I believe in your ability to make change. If something makes you unhappy, can it be fixed or changed?
I sound like a doofus. Maybe you should just ignore all the above.

Ms. J said...

Your words definitely speak for thousands of women . . . I remember those very feelings all too cruelly myself.

Wow. Powerful stuff. Whoa.

Amber said...

I can relate to how your are feeling. Recently I started to think..OK I'm not in my 20's anymore. I know who that women was ...but who am I going to be now? There are some awesome things about being who I am right now. As I recall, I put lots of energy into my "identity" in my 20's. Maybe I need to do that type of work on myself again. Maybe I have outgrown that identity. Perhaps this not knowing who you are anymore is the results of growth? You have outgrown that young woman and the desires, attitudes, frivolity of a 20-something.

beautycourage said...

I wish I could say something to take away your suffering. The only thing I can think of is to say that you are not alone carrying this weight around in your heart (or on your body, for that matter!) I've been thinking a lot about suffering lately, how it forces us to grow, but how unbearably painful it can be. Here's to growth, I guess.

DC said...

I'm sending big hugs your way. Getting older sucks, but we don't have to take it lying down!

Shinejil said...

There's a new, older, yet sexy, joyful woman in there, Babychaser. I just know it.

peesticksandstones said...

Urgh... I understand this so, so well. It especially sucks having this battle fought inside your body again and again -- but having to walk around with the bloated, battered package. Pretty hard to ignore it and feel joy regardless, pretend to live normally, etc.

You are such a strong, smart, very cool lady -- I know you will get through this. Working on it myself right along with you! You are so not alone.

Newt said...

Oh yeah, this sounds familiar.

I think you're pretty swell, too, and awfully cute, to spare. Hope you can find a new new self you're happier with. I know it's a long road.

Deborah said...

Oh my gosh, can I relate. With a birthday and IVF #2 around the corner, age and the life I use to know and the one I thought I would already have, weigh heavily on my mind. Take some "me" time and some "couple" time. Reconnecting with yourself and your partner is very important. You will be surprised to find the new you, in many ways, is a lot like the old you, maybe even better in ways that you just need to discover.

Barb said...

So well written - such a document of what depression feels like. I've been there too, and it's one of the reasons I'm so afraid of starting treatments again.. b/c in my head I really don't think it will work and then I'm back to the depression you describe.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this crap. I know what you mean about going back. But I swear, if you can get the depression licked, some of that will come back.. at least it did for me. Even though I'm older, the happiness allowed me to like the older things about me, and to enjoy the things I have. Sex even seemed to get better, and the crappy stuff didn't matter as much. I hope you can get through this ok and will be sending my support while you try.

You are a beautiful writer and still seem to be that fun, cool, sexy lady. At least, that's the impression you give in your blog. And I bet others IRL think that too.
Lots of hugs.

Ally said...

I'm just going to repeat what everyone has already said, but sometimes that's good to read when you are in this place:

1. I think you are completely amazing. You are a great writer, a compassionate person, and a very strong woman.

2. The "real" you is still in there. She just needs a little bit of time to lick her wounds before she comes out. Be so very, very kind with yourself. Even when you are angry about the disappearance with your real self, be sweet and patient and forgiving. It is not easy to do, but it will help.

3. You are definitely not alone in this battle. You articulate so much more clearly, and beautifully, what so many of us (myself included) are thinking and going through. I am grateful to know I'm not the only one-even though it means you have to be stuck in the mud with me.

4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. This is what I am sending you.

Take care of yourself, sweetie. You're in my thoughts.

Malloryn said...

I'm sorry that you're in so much pain. It can be so easy to lose yourself in all of this.

I want to thank you for writing your blog, and sharing thoughts and fears that many of us experience but don't know how to say. You really are an amazing woman, and you have a lot of inner strength. You might not think so sometimes, but it comes through in your words.

I can't say that you'll ever be your old self again, but you can grow to love who you have become. You'll find your way again, just be patient and kind with yourself. ::hugs::

kate said...

Well, as random as it is, I think you're a pretty bad ass chick. I think that you and I are pretty similar. There are plenty of times when I'd like to go back and start over for a bit, to appreciate myself for the badass I was back in the day. The only thing that seems to save me is that most of my tragic mistakes were in the education arena, and so now, I'm risking a potential family to take care of that misstep. But OH WELL.

I totally think that I would like to have you as the kind of friend that I would talk to every day. We should hang out sometime, you know? Any plans to come to (crappy, depressing) Winston-Salem?

kcmarie122 said...

I'm so sorry you're in this place right now. I wish I could say something to take away all the pain and frustration but I know I can't. Just know we're listening and we care!

Ms Heathen said...

I identified with just about every word of this post - particularly the sense of time passing while my body grows older & older. Sometimes I just long to go back to a moment before I discovered that I was infertile, before sex became bound up with doomed attempts at baby making, before I got so old, so bitter & so cynical.

As many others have said, there is a sexy, joyful, vibrant, clever, funny woman lurking underneath the reflection you see in the store window - orthotic shoes or not! And I would be honoured to hang out with her IRL.