Generally, I like myself very much.
I can say that with a certain amount of pride and clarity because I recall half a lifetime ago when I was not so lucky. When I looked in the mirror and the girl that looked back, her awkward smile and icy eyes, they weren’t what I wanted to see. I was unhappy with who I was but I put up a good front. It was one thing for me to think harsh things about myself… I knew other people must think them too and so I put up tall enough fences to ensure that no one would be able to get close enough to tell me what I already knew.
I was ugly and stupid and had no talent. Oh and nobody liked me. At all.
It didn’t occur to me then, because duh I was a teenager, that most kids are too busy thinking about how tough things are for themselves and don’t really have the attention span to delve so deeply into the true flaws of others. As a matter of fact the reasons I was made fun, the things kids teased me for? They were pretty much the product of the defenses I set in place to keep people at a distance.
One good thing came from all that though. All those protective barriers I set up… they gave me a chance to figure out that I liked myself enough to want to protect my core. My being. I didn’t want to be hurt because I always wanted to be able to be who I am… even if that particular me was ugly and stupid with no talent to speak of.
At the age of 32 I like myself far more than I did as a kid but one thing hasn’t changed.
I protect the core.
Who I am hasn’t changed so much. The circumstances have and my role in this world is certainly different than it was half a lifetime ago… but me? I’m still the same. What I want to protect? It’s still the same though I’ve made a couple of notable additions. The lengths I’ll go to to keep things that are important to me safe though, those have increased. I take a different tact now than I used to. I work hard to obfuscate certain things, and you know… I don’t even do it intentionally. I can look back and see that I did it, but the need to keep me, my heart, my family safe… It’s an undeniable impulse.
Sometimes that makes me silly or withdrawn. I hate that sometimes it can make me a bit abrupt or abrasive, but I would still rather embrace that than risk injury to what I hold most dear. Letting my gaurd down doesn’t seem to be something I want to do. I guess that’s the price I pay to keep certain things safe and I don’t want to change it.