top of page

A War Within

For most of my life, I’ve felt as if I did not belong. No one told me this. It’s just something I felt deeply within me, a rotting root that I can’t completely yank out no matter how much I meditate and repeat affirmations of acceptance. It always comes back like a weed refusing to die–the fear and experience of loneliness.

It’s not that I never got along with people. There was a time I could easily reshape my interests and personality to fit in any environment, if necessary, especially if it meant I could be included. The issue was that pretending to be someone else was absolutely draining and it left me irreconcilably angry and bitter that I could never be truly myself.

All I have ever wanted to be is myself, but being myself has always meant that I am separated from my peer group. My interests, values, and boundaries aren’t anything out of the ordinary (at least, not to me) but they don’t appear to be the most common in a world of thirty-somethings caught up in the disenchantment of societal ills and mores. For a period of time, I learned that loneliness and being alone are not the same things, and I was content with being alone without the desperate need to foster (inauthentic) connection I was learning to accept myself and lean into the beautiful idiosyncrasies that made me, me. That is…until the fear began to bloom again.

Wanting to be accepted and loved feels like a constant battle that I am fighting. The only thing is that there are no external forces that keep me in a whirlwind of low self-worth and loneliness, it’s a war that I am raging from within. My desire to be included and my fear of missing out will outweigh the reality that some experiences and people, no matter how “fun” or “lit,” do not support my overall well-being. For example, as I examine my relationship with alcohol I notice how a majority of experiences for my age group involve having a drink in hand. But I don’t want to be the oddball out, so I take a shot of tequila with everyone else, even though I despise the taste and the way it makes my body feel. Yet despite my growing awareness, I still will choose to show up. I still choose to do the things that I know do not serve me because….the little girl in me wants to feel like she’s not alone. I am waging war with her, sword drawn ready to slay self-imposed demons because I seek to escape from my emotions of being misunderstood or disappointing people who never have fully seen me.

Whenever I fall into the cycle of expecting everyone to make this little girl within me to feel safe and accepted, I am always brought back to remembering that all she needs is for me to stop trying to please everyone else and to try–just once–to take fear by the root, sit with how it feels, and to still choose to show up for myself even if I fear that I am missing out on a presumably good time.

Whether I feel like I belong or not. Whether I feel like I need a stadium full of people around me or a quiet room with a book, I can always, always choose myself and if anyone is disappointed in that, then maybe it’s better that we never are in the same circle.


bottom of page