Do you ever have those moments when you feel like you’re 12 again? Even though you’re in your 30’s or 40’s, your 20’s, your 50’s? Those moments when you’re standing last on the field, having watched everybody else get picked for teams before you do? Feeling like nobody wants you, or at the very least, they forgot to include you?
That feeling sucks.
I’ve had it. You’ve had it. I think everybody’s experienced that shitty little piece of childhood. Or adulthood. Maybe personhood.
It’s not just the feeling of being left out. It’s the feeling of <em>shame</em> that nobody wants you. <strong>That you’re not important enough to anyone to be remembered or considered. </strong> You’re not cool enough. You don’t matter enough.
I am a reasonably self-confidant woman. Sure, I have my moments. We all do. But overall, I think I’m pretty ok in the confidence department. I know what my strengths are, and I play to them. I know what my weaknesses are, and I work on them, don’t draw attention to them, cover them consciously with humour, or some combination of the three.
Or sometimes…try to ignore them. (Let’s face it: I’m not <em>that</em> fucking evolved. We all have our dark moments.)
So those feelings of total inadequacy – the shame of being the last one picked – that one takes me by surprise. Every time.
Wasn’t my entire childhood about learning to deal with that? I was, quite literally, <em>always</em> the last one chosen for teams as a child. I was always scared I was the butt of the joke. I was never the cool one the other kids wanted to hang out with.
As I grew, I learned not to be a sheep. Not to do what everyone else was doing, just because everyone else was doing it. I learned to think for myself, not get too attached to any one group (clique), and wear what suited me, not necessarily what all my friends were wearing.
I earned some mad respect for being an individual. I have friends I’ve known since childhood who still tell me that on a regular basis.
But somewhere in the growing up and becoming an adult, I started to unlearn it.
Sometimes I don’t express an opinion, just because I want to fit in. (Working on it.)
Sometimes I do stuff I realize afterwards maybe wasn’t the best idea, just cuz that’s what was happening in the moment. (Working on it.)
And sometimes I assume I will be included in something – <em>because that’s just how it should logically unfold</em> – and I’m crushed when I discover I’m wrong.
Sitting on my bed, bawling like I’m 12 and just found out I was the only one who didn’t get asked to the dance.
Let me be clear. I am not 12. In fact, I haven’t been 12 for a really, really long time.
Turns out, it hurts just as much when you’re a full-blown adult, mother of three, as when you <em>are</em> 12.
Gut-wrenching, ugly-cry-inducing, I’m-not-good-enough-feeling, heart-breaking hurt.
I fucking hate that.
Kicks me in the solar plexus. Every. Single. Time.
Logically, I know I’m reading too much into it. But on a gut level, there are too many incidents over too many years for me to be able to dismiss it entirely as my imagination working overtime.
Especially when each of my kids can identify what I’m upset about in the first 5 words out of their mouths. Even they can see what it is that upset me, as easily as if they were reading a menu.
Which leads me to believe that maybe I’m not reacting to something that’s really nothing. I’m reacting to something that’s really <em>something. </em>
Yes, old childhood patterns play into it.
And yes, maybe I do have soft feelings.
But yes, that’s all part of who I am, and it’s all a work in progress.
But mostly, yes, it still sucks. And it still leaves me feeling empty, shattered, and ashamed inside.
Have you ever felt like this as an adult? How did you deal with it?