Today’s blog post is going to be a little different. Since a healing journey is ongoing, there is always something to new to work on and process. Today’s subject?
We’re all plagued by them, and we’re usually insecure about something that is completely beyond our control. It could be our height, the way our voice sounds, or the way our head is shaped. We can also be insecure about our relationships (not just romantic, but platonic and familial, too), our job performance, and even where we are in life.
In this blog post, I’m going to do something that scares me a little: admit all my insecurities. Yep. Just gonna put them out there for the world to see. You’ll see why soon. So, I’m going to take a deep breath and get started.
1. Being single past age 30
The way the media shows single women past the age of 30 is usually the same. They’re desperate to find a man and start a family. How many Rom Coms depict a woman that chose to focus on her career, only to long for a man and some babies? There’s even a Family Guy clip about a 37-year-old woman on a blind date. I’m not interested in having kids at all, but there’s something to be said for not having a meaningful relationship at my age. It’s getting to the point that I kind of avoid social gatherings because I’m not paired off.
I’m not going to lie. I was ecstatic to be engaged when I turned 30. I thought I was marrying the love of my life, and that I had finally caught up with my friends, and I was no longer a disappointment to my parents. When that failed, I was heartbroken, but also, I was scared because without warning, I was one of them. One of the women that wasn’t special enough to be chosen by a man when she was at her most beautiful in her mid to late twenties. That scared me more than anything, because I was sure my dating pool was shallow, I’d have to be a stepmom because everyone my age was already in their first marriage or just ending it. I was terrified that I was broken, undesirable, and useless.
I’ll be honest, that fear hasn’t gone away completely. I’ve spent over 20 years in military environments as a child and as an adult. People get married fast in the military, then they pop out kids equally as fast. That was another reason I thought something was wrong with me. No one chose me. And no one who had me fought for me. It was the same as being in high school. By Homecoming, everyone had paired off like it was Noah’s Ark… and then there was me. I didn’t understand what other girls had that I didn’t. I still don’t. There’s this fear at the forefront of my mind that there is something fundamentally wrong with me, and I don’t know how to fix it. I wish I knew what it was like for someone to genuinely love me without lies, trauma, or pain attached. I honestly don’t know how that feels. I want to. It just hasn’t happened yet, which leads to all sorts of questions.
Am I that hard to love? I feel like I must be. Am I not attractive enough? Some days I think that’s it. Am I that bad that it’s that hard to treat me well? I guess so. Am I just not good enough? Most times I think that has to be it. I’m terrified that my gravestone will read:
Here lies Iris Findlay,
a woman that was never loved
the way that she loved others.
2. Being a late bloomer
I’ve always been last to get things in life. When I hit middle school, all the girls were becoming women. Puberty was working its magic, and I was so far behind. Everyone was sprouting, blossoming, and transforming. And then there was me, cue the Benny Hill theme song. LOL. Yes, Yackity Sax is what comes to mind when I think about me trying to be pretty, stuffing my shirt with tissue and toilet paper, and painstakingly putting on lipgloss since I was not allowed to wear makeup, to fit in with the other girls. That’s all I ever wanted. To fit in. Instead, I’ve felt like an outsider for most of my life.
After middle school, it felt like I would never catch up. First, it was puberty. Then not being allowed to shave my legs or wear makeup like everyone else. Then it was not being allowed to date like everyone else. Then it was not going to college at the same time as everyone else, even though I had good grades and school involvement. Then it was finding a healthy relationship. Then it was keeping a job. Then it was having a stable relationship. I kept starting over and over and over, and I keep starting over.
I know that everyone’s on their own timeline and whatever, but I would love to have the things that people in my age group have. Like independence, a partner, real commitment, and a home. I never caught up with anyone in terms of social development. I’m always a few steps behind. It’s something I try not to think about, but when it does cross my mind, it hurts quite a bit.
3.Being mentally ill
I hate that on a first date or when I meet someone new, I have to explain that I have mental illness and also tell them some of my triggers. Most people are understanding, but I’ve been out with several guys or tried to make new friends and never seen them again after disclosing that information. I suppose it’s not my loss, but I hate to say it. I often feel like damaged goods. Like I’m not as good as other people because I come with a warning label.
It makes it hard to be confident and try to put myself out there. People wonder why I’m so kind all of the time, but it’s partly because that’s who I am naturally, but also partly because I’m afraid of scaring people off. I don’t have many close friends from say… elementary or middle school because of how much my family has moved. Also, a lot of folks I have been close to have moved on with their lives and have husbands, wives, and children. It feels weird asking for any of their time. I have a handful of friends I keep close, and they all live in places very far from me. It’s hard not to get lonely sometimes. Last weekend, I saw a group of young black women out together at The Chocolate Museum. They were all dressed so cute, all had their makeup done, and were just hanging out enjoying each other’s company. I briefly wondered what it was like to have a group of close girlfriends like that. That I could just call up and be like, “Get dressed, we’re all going out for dinner and drinks.” Even in the book I’m reading “It’s Not All Downhill from Here”, the main character has a group of friends that she’s known and been close to for decades. I don’t know what that’s like, and I would love to.
4. Being weird
When I was walking across the stage during the practice run for my high school graduation, a guy named J.H. said rather loudly, “That girl is WACK.”
Everybody heard. It was really embarrassing, and it hurt my feelings so much that I remember it more than ten years later. I get it, I’m on the strange side. But damn, that was mean. It still stings.
“You’re so weird!”
I’ve heard this one quite a bit. Even though it’s usually followed by a laugh, I get self-conscious about it because of people like J.H. I own up to it. I do, for lack of a better word, goofy shit. It’s not for attention or anything, it’s just who I am as a person. I fall over stuff all the time. I get pen ink in my mouth when I’m trying to be professional. I’ve been told I have an odd world view. If you’re friends with me, expect some odd ass conversations, and weird ass text messages and gifs at 4 a.m. Trust me, they’re used to it by now. If you’re dating me, guaranteed, you’re some weird ass presents sometimes. I did a boudoir shoot for Valentine’s Day once, and I had the photographer doubled over laughing at one of my costumes. In reality, I wanted to have a super sexy shoot like all the women I saw on Pinterest and Google. Instead… well… I made my photographer snort, cry, and gasp for air. The recipient of said photos had a similar reaction.
5. My skin
I’ve been plagued with acne since I turned eighteen, which is usually when people’s hormones figure themselves out. They become an AdultTM. I don’t know what’s going on hormonally for me, but since I became an adult, I got acne. Loads of it. It’s been a constant struggle. I’ve finally gotten some kind of control over it, but it bugs me to no end. When I got ECT, my skin had an allergic reaction to the gel used during the treatment. It turns out, my skin is allergic to ALL gels, but I didn’t know that until the damage was done. I will literally sit in my sink for an hour searching for blackheads and other squeezable things when I get anxious. It’s something I thought I’d never have to deal with, but the hyperpigmentation that each pimple leaves behind makes me want to scream. I didn’t have these issues when I was fourteen or fifteen. Why do I have them now?
6. My relationship with my parents
We are not particularly close. I have a lot of issues with how I was raised. Culturally, emotionally, spiritually… I disagree with so many things that they chose to do as I grew up. I get that parents are doing the best they can with what they have, but my relationship with my mother and father is strained. I would love to respect them and feel safe enough to come to them for advice, but I’m not there yet. I have a lot to forgive, and the way they perceive the world is completely different from how I perceive it. I don’t like that my parents motivated me through fear and shame. I am so self-conscious of my body, my hair, my job, just everything about myself because of how hyper-critical they were (and still are). Nothing I do is good enough, so even as an adult, I’d give up even before I tried anything, because I figured I’d fail anyway.
The family that I wanted/needed as a child was one that hugs a lot, laughs a lot, and encourages while making mistakes and apologizing, teaching courage instead of fear, and teaching self-love instead of nitpicking at every last thing. I feel like I never learned how to be a human from either of my folks and that has impacted my friendships, relationships, ability to function in a corporate environment, and so on and so forth. I can directly link my anxious attachment style and borderline personality disorder to the way they raised me. They read my journals, I was not allowed to shut the door, and I could not show any emotion other than happiness for fear of getting hit. My fear of pregnancy (like, I’m literally phobic) is also directly linked to threats that I would be kicked out and left to raise a child with no help. I can’t help but get angry and sad sometimes. If they had actually loved me and cared for me emotionally or let me have some freedoms or respected any of my boundaries, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be this way.
7. My history of emotional/ physical/ sexual trauma
This might be the one I’m most sensitive about for many reasons. I mentioned feeling like damaged goods earlier. This is 100% the reason. Reading through old journals, I tell myself the same thing over and over again. “Girls like me don’t get happy endings.”
It’s been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since I’m damaged and come with a warning label… there’s no way a healthy person would want someone like me. I’m like the car that you have to have a system to get the door open. Jimmy the keys, knock twice on the trunk, and then stomp your left foot once, then bump the door with your right hip and pull up and backward with your left hand. You have to do all this to get the door to open. Sadly, I attract the worst kinds of people… because I don’t think I deserve any better. And I think that even though I’m not trying to, I put that vibe out. I attract liars, abusers, cheaters, and assholes. Sometimes I attract all of that in one person. It’s not fun. I really thought I had a great guy when I was engaged, but it turned out that he was just like everyone before him. I’ve been used, abused, and hurt too many times because I believe that no one worthwhile would ever love me.
Okay, I’m taking a cleansing deep breath now.
There you have it. Iris’s insecurities. Out there in the open for the world to see. How do I feel right now? Exposed. Self-conscious. And ready to put a paper bag over my head and hide for the rest of my life.
What am I going to do with them? Tune in to IGTv tomorrow afternoon to find out and don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter below!