I’ll settle for watching… No. No, I won’t.

“I’ll settle for watching,” hm?

Well, not anymore. Not. Any. More!

Because you know what?

I am a person.
I am real.
I exist.

I’m not invisible.
I’m not unnoticed.
I’m not nothing.

I’m in an oddly happy and confident mood right now. “Oddly” only because I’m not used to this. But I like it. I want to feel like this more often. Like it’s okay that I exist.

Aaaggghhh, even as I type that, there’s a part of me saying, “No, no, you can’t say that, no, it’s not okay, not okay, not okay!” *sigh* Why won’t you go away, stupid voice in my head?!

I know, I know – it’s not just going to go away all at once. When you’ve been *holds breath* (do I dare say it?) abused most of your life, it’s not going to get better overnight. But I wish it would. Sometimes I just hate looking at everything through the eyes of an abused and bullied child. (Gosh, that makes me sound pathetic!) Why can’t I just be normal, why can’t I just forget about it and stop overthinking everything and just be happy and have fun and not hate myself, not see myself as just…dirt. (And now I have to go dig out an old poem….ah, found it.)

Once again, this was supposed to be a happy post, but I seem to have gone on a bit of a tangent, as usual – I’ll get back to the happy by the end, though. Anyway, that reminded me of a poem, and now I have to share it. It’s one of my favorites.

I’m used to it
All I hear is criticism,
Everything I do around here is wrong.
He pushes me and pushes me,
Yelling, guilt-tripping, threatening.
No matter what I do, it’s never good enough.
I start to believe the lies, implied and blatantly spoken –
lazy selfish stupid helpless no good burden WORTHLESS!
Pounded into the ground,
face in the dirt,
where it belongs
“Is something bothering you?”
“No, I’m fine.”
It’s okay…I’m used to him being mad at me.

Anyway. I just wish all that crap would go away. I’m sick of believing it, yet I can’t just decide not to. It’s too deep, too much a part of me.

But – here’s the thing: I’m fighting it.

And I think I’m starting to win.

More and more, I think I’m starting to win.

I’m starting to show up, instead of fading into the background.
I’m starting to speak up, instead of being silent.
I’m starting to feel like I’m okay. Like I’m not a waste of space.
Like I’m not just a problem – like I don’t just get in the way all the time.
Like maybe I have some value. Maybe it’s okay that I exist. Maybe I am a real person after all. Maybe I’m not less than human.
Maybe – it’s okay for me to be around other people.
Maybe – people actually…want me there. Actually like being around me.
Maybe I fit in after all.

Maybe I’m a real person, just like anybody else, no different, no less valuable, no less human, with talents and flaws, with value, with a right to live and take up space in the world. Maybe I’m somebody that people would actually want to be friends with.

I don’t know how to explain it, all this is part of it, but I can’t find the words to explain it fully. The only way I can think of to say it is that I’m real, I’m human, I’m just like anybody else. I’m not this…worthless piece of dirt that doesn’t matter and only gets in the way.

There’s a piece I put in my Relationships project, something I originally wrote in my rant book – part of it explains things pretty well, I think:

If you don’t get your hopes up, they can’t be crushed.
If you expect the worst — expect a trick — it’s not so bad when it comes.
If you tell yourself you deserve it, it doesn’t hurt as much.
No one can do wrong to you if you deserve it all anyway.
If you don’t matter, then nothing anyone does to you matters.

That’s how I live my life – but it’s starting to change.

I’m starting to hope again. I’m – cautiously – starting to believe that I don’t have to be that observer, sitting on the sidelines, always on the outside, watching everyone else have friends and be included, and live vicariously through them because I don’t matter, I’m no one, and I don’t deserve to be included or have friends or be noticed or exist anyway.

I’m starting to believe that I can be included, and not just as an afterthought. That people might actually want to be my friends (another “no, no, not possible!” from the inside).

I really struggle with this, as I’m sure is obvious from this post. There’s part of me that’s breaking free, yet there’s still part of me that’s holding back, because it’s not safe to believe otherwise. See, I could get hurt that way. If I start believing that I’m all right? If I start believing that people want to be around me? Because if I’m wrong…and they don’t want me around…I could get hurt. And it’s hard for me to chance that, because I’ve already been hurt so much by hoping and believing the best. (Thanks, dad. Thanks, mom. Thanks Tim, and Callin, and all of the other guys in middle school who picked on bullied me and made me fear people so much.)

But I’m fighting back. I am fighting. And I don’t intend to lose. I am going to fight my way back from this, no matter how long it takes. I am not a victim. I am a survivor. And one day, I will be a thriver!

Right now, I am coming off of three of the best weeks of my life here at NWC. I’m finally, finally! involved in theater. Did sound for the last two shows of summer stock today, helped with strike, and went out to Perkins with a bunch of people afterwards. And it was just amazing.

On my way home afterwards, I had a big smile on my face, and this thought repeating in my head: I’m in. I’m finally in!

I’ve just wanted to be a part of theater for so long. Wanted to be friends with so many of the people I’ve met over the past few weeks, for so long!

And for so long, I settled for watching. Being on the outside. Going to see plays and then standing around awkwardly afterwards, because I wanted to talk to the actors, but I didn’t know them or felt like I didn’t know them well enough to even go up and say hi.

But I’m not on the outside anymore. I still feel weird saying this (not safe to believe stuff like this, remember), but I’m in! I’m included. I’m part of the group.

I’m slowly starting to come out of my shell again. It’s been so long since I’ve felt like I actually have a life! My “life” has consisted mostly of sitting in my room, doing nothing productive, isolating myself from the world. That’s mostly been my life for the past 5 years or so – ever since Mercy. (I need to do a post about Mercy soon. It’s weird how, the farther I get from that time, the more I realize how much that one month in St. Louis destroyed me. It makes me sad. I never thought it would have such a far-reaching impact.) Anyway. I just…haven’t had much of a life. I’ve been hiding. Surviving. But now? I feel like I’m starting to live again. To have a life! To do things! To have friends again! And it’s so, so, so wonderful. It honestly makes me want to cry sometimes, because I just don’t have the words to explain how wonderful and beautiful and amazing this is to me. It’s like coming back into a world of color after spending the past 5 years in black and white. And it’s so, so beautiful. Sometimes it’s like I can almost feel the healing happening in my soul. God is so good. He is just so good. That’s such an understatement, but sometimes I feel like understatement just highlights the vastness of things. I know I can never express how amazing God is – no matter what I say, it will fall short, so I will just say this: God is good. And I am so thankful.

And if any of my new theater friends are reading this – just know that I love you all and think you’re great.

This entry was posted in NWC, Recovery, Summer Stock in April, Theater. Bookmark the permalink.

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