I recently read the book ‘What a time to be alone’ by Chidera Eggerue on the reccomendation of a good friend and i am very glad i did. Some parts of it were inspiring, other parts were eye opening and then some were just downright uncomfortable because of how unsettling it made me feel about myself and my life as a whole. I realised that the most toxic person that has existed in my life is the same one that stares back at me in the mirror. Ive always been hard on myself for the things i cant control and for the choices i have made in the past. I always put the needs of everyone else above my own and i now see that the only thing that shows is that i wanted to avoid my own insecurities. I wasnt important enough to myself. Why should anyone else care about you if you dont even care about yourself?
I also realised that there is two separate versions of me. The me that the world sees (lets call him liam A)and the me only i know (liam B) The problem with this is that liam A is controlled and conditioned by liam b. B would never allow liam A into a situation where this deception might be uncovered because liam A does not exist. He is merely a tool i used to hide in plain sight. People might not like the real me and that is a scary thought so the longer people got to know liam A, and hopefully like him, the easier it was for liam b to stay hidden behind closed doors, too fragile to step out of the shadows. This mentality is severly damaging because now that ive become aware of this i dont know whats real anymore. I have no way of knowing if certain aspects of me are the real me or just something i manufactured in order to survive for so long. All i have now is doubt.
A part of the book talks about victim mentality and this struck a chord with me because for over 6 years i was bullied, harassed and abused by an individual. After every encounter i would blame myself because on some level i was agreeing with his actions. In my mind i deserved to be treated in such a horrendous way because of how i was different. If it hadnt been him it would have been someone else, and on many occasions it was myself.
I made myself vulnerable and the world is full of people ready to take advantage because it makes them feel good to know there is a pecking order and that theyre the ones doing the pecking. I made myself too available for people, scared to lose them if i said no but the result of this prolonged behaviour was that i ended up losing myself and became desperate for validation in any way i could find it, such as social media. I was obsessed with messages, likes, shares etc anything that meant i was being noticed. And i always checked who it was that was paying attention and making a note of who wasnt. I didnt know how to value myself because by this point i had no idea who i was so i tried to craft the perfect persona, someone who mattered to other people.
Every day i wake up and think is this the day people realise im just not worth knowing anymore. The fear of being forgotten intensified to the stage where i found myself desperate to unburden myself in the hopes of being understood, but all this lead to was regret for having ever opened up in the first place. I had given people the perfect reason to shut the door on me because surely no one wants to be around someone so dark and down. Convincing yourself that the people around you are only kind to you out of politeness and assuming that you are hated, abandoned or ignored is self sabotage. I have ruined good things by assuming the worst and its a vicious cycle that seemed unending. Its hard to ignore the voice inside your head when its not on your side, and in my case it doesnt just whisper, it screams and screeches until i pass out with worry.
Its going to be a long journey unlearning all my toxic behaviours and defences and i suspect that when im done walking this path my shoes will be worn through. But in the end, fingers crossed, I will be liam again, no hiding or extra personalities, just me. And maybe then i will be enough.