I am worthless. I am less than. I have no value. I am a burden. I am a waste of space. I am broken. I am useless. Be small. Be quiet. Don’t take up too much space.
I have been going to therapy for years, years upon years, and I have only cried one time and it was at my first appointment. Today was the second time I cried. I was initially confused by this reaction, crying was supposed to be a part of the old, sick, weak Chelsea not this new recovered version of myself. Keyword here is a version, these different faces I put on to face the day, different tools I use to cover the vulnerable parts of me so that I can face my day. In this session I was caught red-handed, no more hiding, no more pity, no more victim, just me and my heart, seen.
Woven into every aspect of my being, my solemn truth that guides every choice I make, every word I say, every thought I have is this: I am worthless, I am not worthy of anything, not breathing, not living, none of it, I have no worth. That is my truth, not in a self-deprecating, woe is me kind of way, in a this is the driving force of my life, a part of everything I believe kind of way.
It came about like this; I got a job this past week, which is a moment that one typically shares with other people in their lives right? I, however, made the conscious choice to not share any of this process with the people close to me, specifically one person I should be sharing life moments with. I ended up mentioning it in passing in some conversation, and when asked further I could feel myself collapsing, I was physically incapable of sharing. Why? Why did I have this reaction? Because every part of myself was saying that I wasn’t allowed to share this thing because my life is so insignificant that I could not burden someone with this. This has been a common theme throughout my life, smiling, staying quiet, not sharing opinions, thoughts, preferences, not making choices no matter how small, not offering up any information about myself but instead having it pried out of me, staying on my island so that I don’t inconvenience anybody.
When I was younger, and my family would go out for dinner I was always conscious of ordering the cheapest possible thing so I wouldn’t put my parents out, when somebody asks me what I want to do, or where I want to go my response is, “Whatever you like,” or some variation of that, when I am in therapy and she asks me what I want to talk about I always say, “Whatever you want”. I have stripped myself of having the right to a life. If I’m asked what’s your favourite food, or what music do you listen to, my throat closes up and I have to remember to breathe, the answer is usually whispered, or giggled with a bright red face, and it’s usually “I don’t have a favourite,” or “A little bit of everything”. God forbid I offend anybody by liking something.
I kind of just thought well this is how I was born; I was born for others, not for myself. My dad made it clear early on that I was a burden to the world, my thoughts and feelings were constantly being called wrong, they were invalidated, all of my friendships up until the end of high school were me following a leader. I’m just shy, I’m just quiet, I’m just an introvert, it’s just a reaction to my trauma, I like being this way, it’s fine, were all the things I would say to validate my lack of personality.
This year more than ever I started to see that not only does this way of life cause conflict, and tension in my life, but not allowing myself to be known is keeping me away from really beautiful things, beautiful connections, beautiful relationships, that could bring so much joy to my world, I am sabotaging myself and my life. So sitting on that couch, with my therapist unmasking me, and as the realization of how sad this way of existing is washed over me, the tears came. Here I was thinking I had tricked the system, tricked even myself into thinking I was totally okay, and happy, and content, but how can you possibly be happy if every day you do everything in your power to give yourself as little of a life as possible.
As I write this it is Halloween; the Halloween custom is to dress up as somebody else, that’s what my life has been, Halloween every day, dressing up as somebody else so that nobody (not even me) could know myself.
Why am I telling you this? Well, this is my best-kept secret; I was so good at keeping this secret that I kept it from even myself. I promised to be open with you, so here is the most vulnerable, fragile, part of myself on the Internet for anyone to read. I know that I’m probably on the extreme end of the spectrum, and that most people can tell you what kind of music they listen to, or what their favourite meal is, but isn’t the fear of being known a common theme in our world? Coming from a corrections, and social service background I’ve seen a lot of things, a lot of costumes, a lot of secret keeping, and I tell everyone the same thing: every single part of you deserves to be loved, even the scary parts, your life was not a mistake, and there is great joy in loving yourself. I sound like a cheesy Hallmark card I know, but I also know that you’ll be surprised how many people need to hear that. So why can I not practice what I preach? Why am I not practicing what I preach? Why am I excluding myself from my core value and belief that every single human being on this earth deserves love? Because this is all I’ve ever known, since I was old enough to have a memory I have always believed that I don’t deserve a life, innately in my being that is my truth. So now there is a choice to be made, I can’t be ignorant to this anymore, I can choose to remain the same consciously knowing that I am far from living a full life, or I can see this really scary, big, hard, confusing part of myself and start the process of change. To be honest I don’t like that I’m this way, I see people who can make choices with ease, they don’t almost pass out at the thought of it, and I feel such envy, I hate living like this. To change your innate truth that is at the core of your being is hard like moving a mountain hard, but I’ve decided that this mountain is worth moving.
Can you see yourself in this? If you stop to reflect is there a fear of being known somewhere inside of you, do you have an innate truth preventing you from living in a whole way? Being known is really scary, being vulnerable is really scary, being yourself is really scary, or at least for me, it’s absolutely terrifying. I think, however, that our lives are also absolutely worth the work – we deserve to be known. We deserve for all of our parts to be loved, especially by ourselves.
So this week I am going to try to make a list of my likes and dislikes, my true likes and dislikes so maybe I can start to know myself a little bit better. And as I write this I am on my way to practice being known, baby steps right? How are you going to let yourselves be known this week?
You are so loved.
You are so worthy.
You are so treasured.
Until next time,
About Chelsea Moore
My name is Chelsea! I am in my third year of university studying Anthropology and Sociology. I started self harming when I was 15, had my first suicide attempt when I was 16, and that is when I was diagnosed with Depression. Since then my life has been about recovery, and throughout this journey writing has been my safe place. Throughout my journey I've learned that everyone has a story, and hurting together feels a lot better than hurting behind closed doors.I am passionate about bringing awareness to mental illness, and couldn't be more excited about this opportunity to write for Healthy Minds Canada!