Is there a part of you that feels like you don’t really know who you are?
As I read through old journal entries dated from childhood to adolescence, there is a common theme to them.
“Who am I?”
“What is my identity?”
This confusing sense of identity has been a constant in my life.
I know myself but I just feel like I’m missing something… who am I really?
The moment I “lost myself” is not an incredibly clear one.
My best guess would be the transition into teenage years.
When you are struggling to fit in, you keep trying on different masks until you find one that people like.
I never found that mask but I did find alcohol, which always took the edge off of the excruciating feeling of living in my own skin.
Tired of failing at being accepted for who I was, I stopped trying completely and pursued the next best option- numbing.
When I was 13, I achieved the feeling of being completely numb for the first time.
Alcohol became my best friend.
When I was drinking, I just didn’t care.
I didn’t care that I was ugly.
I didn’t care that nobody liked me.
I didn’t care that life was racing in a blur around me when I was supposed to be growing into a decent young adult.
The negative choices I made in my adolescence are what robbed me of my identity.
I freaking gave up on myself, gave up on finding my mask.
I chose to hide behind the emptiness of covering up my pain with substance.
Now in my adult years feeling a void in establishing my personal foundation.
I missed all of that and so now, that I’m mature enough to go and try on masks again, I’m figuring it out one mistake at a time.
Life is crazy you guys.
I took a risk when I chose to find myself.
Self reflection isn’t the easiest when you have a battered past.
“I want to go back and relive my worst traumas!” Said no one ever.
But those traumas are literal chains that will keep us bound until we face them.
In the process of finding myself, parts of the old me had to die.
The haunting shadows of the scariest memories of my life felt like a reality again for quite some time as I sorted through it all.
I got a lot crazier before I got better.
I’ll never forget my very first session with my anxiety therapist.
I was two months pregnant with my second child and had already gained 20 pounds.
It was the first time I had eaten like a normal person after an Exercise anorexia 8 month spiral.
I had stopped taking 4mg of prescribed Xanax a day cold turkey because I didn’t want to hurt my baby.
Every day was one big panic attack.
She asked me to say aloud,
“I am beautiful.”
And I couldn’t.
Instead anger and tears erupted in defense of my self deprecation.
We spent three years poking and prying, in which time I became completely nuts.
The first phase of finding myself was filled with anger and blame on others.
In that time I irrationally pointed the finger and blew up on my mom multiple times.
I would call her and be freaking out, sometimes even yelling, about something that I was understanding for the first time.
These memories stemmed from my grieving mind fiercely and emotionally believing that I had been done wrong.
It was a long going, deep seeded outburst of emotions I was just coming to terms with for the first time.
I found out that my Mom has Borderline Personality Disorder.
Her symptoms of the mental illness distorted my perception of myself.
I wasn’t actually “the ugliest kid in the entire world”, and if we are being real, I can’t blame her for the fact that I never found myself.
The first part of finding myself required facing some heavy shit so that I could live a better life.
The second part of finding myself was a beautiful blossoming into who I was always supposed to be.
Like a butterfly spreading its wings for the very first time, I broke free from the hell that had been consuming me.
The process of finding yourself is a journey of understanding that you are the only one who can change your situation.
The moment you decide to own responsibility for everything in your life, is the moment you become a butterfly. 🦋
It’s worth the process.
Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content and resources. ❣️