worth and the single girl
So, maybe this is obvious to everyone, but it wasn’t really to me. No, not really. I had a big insight into myself tonight, after I woke up from the longest nap ever. So, we’ve learned recently that my whole motivation behind having a solid career and a great love life is about purpose. I’m a meaning-driven human. Makes perfect sense.
And like a typical love addict/avoidant, which is what I learned to be from the dysfunction of my childhood, I chase after meaning like it’s heroin. And I’m not picky about where I find it.
The revelation? All of my settling for less than was about self-worth and my method for getting that self-worth was having a purposeful life. Because that was success. That was what overachievers sought out. If I had a purposeful life, my life would mean something and I would be worth something–not just taking up space and a waste of soul and spirit. Not some girl everyone could just throw away.
Take a breath. Stay there. Let it hurt.
Be so wonderful, so essential to your employer that they can’t say no. Be so easy–so cheap–so non-demanding–they won’t dare abandon you. Be the good girl always cleaning up the mess, hoping today Daddy will notice you need him to hug you. That, today, you’ll be good enough, in his eyes, to warrant attention.
It’s not so much purpose I’m looking for. It’s attention and love–being seen and valued. Both of those things. That’s my driver for absolutely everything.
The problem is–I’m so hungry for it that I will take whatever scrap of it I can get–even if it’s a lie. Even if it’s not worth the cost. Even if it’s not mine.
Sure–I have ethics and standards–lines I won’t cross. I won’t maim another for my own fulfillment–but that has less to do with goodness and more to do with my own devaluing of myself. Other people are always more valuable to me than, well, me.
So, this struggle I’ve had my whole life with work–and finding my purpose–with love and finding my “soulmate”? It was all about one thing: knowing my worth and letting me love me.
Which I sorta knew–but didn’t–not really–until tonight. That’s all it really is. Every bad thing in my life boils down to that–and really–I had no idea how much I didn’t love or value myself until I moved out here. Mostly because I had to confront parts of myself I really didn’t like to get over those pesky feelings I kept having about myself. That here provoked. If you ever want to make a girl who grew up in poverty feel really awful about herself and where she’s from, plop her in the heart of Silicon Valley.
And you know what? On some level, I knew that’s what I needed. But I was wrong about why. I didn’t need to confront my privilege. I needed to feel my own self-loathing. Life takes you wherever you need to go, even if you’re wrong about why.
The reality of it is that I have been recreating that search for love from external sources that started when I was a motherfucking baby in all things. It just so happens that work is less obvious and personal. I’m better at achieving than I am at loving. Because I also never learned how to love people. It was always this wild and mysterious thing in my life–a lot like the outbursts of emotions I used to have when disassociating didn’t work anymore. And well, that’s no way to love.
No wonder I settled. No wonder I was disrespected and neglected. No wonder abuse crept in. No wonder they left. No wonder it was wrong.
But, for me, with those failures? It wasn’t a bad job or a shitty lover or just a mismatch. It was a bad, worthless, unlovable me. So, clearly, I needed to work on myself. Clearly, I had to fix myself before I inflicted myself on someone else. Before I could possible deserve to be part of the valued part of society–those who procreate, get married, and make money. Of course, I had to struggle with absolutely everything. That was what I deserved, right?
Where did this idea that I was bad and awful come from? My parents never thought that. Except maybe in moments. It was nothing they said to me.
It was what they did. So, as unconscious as it is that I don’t love myself, it was also unconsciously communicated by my parents that I was not worth anything. And it’s been repeated in my love life and jobs. Again and again and again. Even in the aftermath of those relationships. I’m not worth being his friend. I was never that important. I will never be that important. They never say that, of course, but it’s said loud and clear in the ways they disappear. And that will likely always sting. And make me hate them. And make me try to prove how wrong they were–to myself–while believing they are absolutely right. And not knowing I believe it.
And isn’t that what I do with work, too? Only I leave before they can abandon me. I demonize them and show them I can do better, while choosing just a gussied up version. Look at me in my big girl pants.
To be fair with myself, I will say, I’m better in a lot of ways. My choices have been better. My current job has elements that reflect self-love, but the underbelly is there, too, and tends to clock me. At the same time, the foundation of it reflects my devaluing and was never a mystery. It was a case of trying to delude myself into thinking it was something it wasn’t. And you can see that same pattern in my love life emerge after my last major relationship. After that debacle, I actually found and chose someone who was everything I wanted and needed–someone who was actually capable of what I needed–but I set myself up to fail from the very beginning because I didn’t believe he could ever love me. It eventually bit me in the ass, and because I did that, it wrecked the whole thing and created insecurities and doubt where it shouldn’t have existed. And after that, I went back to that settling and then isolating shit because–clearly–I was bad and wrong and that’s what I deserved.
Something clicked over for me recently. Where now I see the shit I do–what I’ve allowed–what I attract. It’s always stuff that makes me feel less than. Always some kind of manipulation or mixed signal. Always non-commitment. Even in my fucking career right now with the new client! The delay is their non-commitment to us. And instead of doing right by me and letting me go and be happy, my managers have me chained to this wishy-washy bullshit that makes me hate myself and everything I do. This fucking limbo. I’d rather be discarded than half-valued. Again, so black and white. The mind of a child.
The good news about all of this is that I know exactly what it is that needs healing and even where it comes from–and I’ve been healing it…and had an instinctual understanding for what was broken. The bad news? This is the work of a lifetime. This is grieving a life I will never have. This sucks.
But this is my journey. And at least I know what it is now.