Chapter 7: I <3 Me

The hardest part is always picking up the pen and putting it to paper. Somehow I’m afraid that I’ll screw things up. I don’t even know how I COULD screw up, but I’m afraid just the same. But then fear isn’t exactly a rational thing, is it?

(I’m talking FEAR, fear that my humbleness is gone)

(Fuck yo’ humility)

So…. previously on “The Tales of Taylor the Bard”….my home life was fucked up. Our living situation was unstable, there wasn’t always enough to eat, and the world can be a dark (literally when you can’t pay the electric bill), difficult, and depressing place when you’re stuck at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. This tension manifested itself in many ways at home: my dad was both emotionally and physically abusive, my mom was at-best unaware and at-worst inert, and my older sister derived some sick pleasure from tormenting me.

And I…. I was a very emotional little girl. I was the little girl at 5 passionately singing “Part of Your World” into my hairbrush/microphone and crying over the fate of Belle’s poor Beast. I had to set all of my stuffed animals up in such a way that they all had a good view of my room, and I would get VERY upset if anyone moved them or committed blasphemy by sitting on them.

And I cried. I spent long hours listening to sad songs on repeat, sobbing, wondering why I had to be so damn WEIRD and so alone all of the time, and if no one wanted me, why was I here? Why wasn’t I good enough for my sister to love me, for my parents to SEE me?

So yea, I was a big softie. The positive spin I put on this (because EVERYTHING must have a silver lining) is that I’ve always felt every inch of the emotional spectrum vividly, good, bad, and in between, often all at the same time. This means that it is very easy for me to put myself into another person’s perspective; I wear emotions like each is a perfectly fitted glove just waiting for me to slip my hand in. The major downfall to this is that people find me disconcerting. I feel too much, am too open, I say too much, and I make people uncomfortable by knowing more about them than they often understand about themselves.

I can’t even blame people for being put off by me. Most people don’t have the necessary tools for interpreting their own emotions, let alone handling those of someone else. Hell, most people are the emotional equivalent of cavemen, barely aware that tools even exist to cope with their emotions. Then I come in, the emotional Prometheus, and scare the shit out of everyone…. I can see why it would be easier to dismiss me as crazy rather than try to adjust their own worldview.

Overall, people find me weird and annoying. Because of this I always felt safer away from the judgmental eyes of others. I spent the bulk of my childhood alone with books, building the fortress of my mind and letting the hallways echo with the voices of the authors that knew me better than my own family. In my mind, in my books, I could be whoever I wanted, and that exploration of my own potential sparked a fire in me that burned hotter with each new story, stoked by every new character. Other people didn’t “get’ me, sure, but how could I ever really be alone when so many characters WERE me?

Once that fire was stoked, I just couldn’t hide it. I wanted to be me.

I tried on several facades, but never managed to find one I liked as much as my own unbridled soul. Unfortunately for me, some kind of filter is necessary to gain acceptance by the general population of the Sioux City Community School District. Which brings me back to the beginning, to the 12 year old girl I once was, staring out a classroom window on a rainy day and thinking, “I’m really weird….and I’m ok with that.”

I could never force anyone to like me, but learning to be ok with myself was a battle I COULD fight. I could present reasons to like me, debate the validity of those reasons, and ultimately concluded that liking myself was a viable option.

(It was always me vs the world

Until I found it’s me vs me)

However, like Roe V Wade, the case of Me V Me was decided many years ago and yet somehow dissenting factors still like to bring it up as though there’s anything left to debate. I learned to counter that voice of self-doubt by making MYSELF my priority, even when I didn’t really want to. While most adolescent girls were doodling boys’ names in the margins of their notebooks, I was filling little hearts with one word: Me. I ❤ me became my mantra, even going so far as to cover my bedroom walls with it in sidewalk chalk. I may not have always BELIEVED it, but self-love was the only glimmer of hope I had to escape loneliness. My mind fortress may be filled with voices that understand me, but it is large and lit only by my own fire. And have you ever tried to have a conversation with an echo? It’s slightly more satisfying than a brick wall, but still leaves a lot to be desired.

But sadly, loving myself didn’t make me immune to loneliness. Being okay with who I am, warts and all, doesn’t make it less painful when other people stare and sneer at those warts. If anything, loving myself made it hurt that much more when others rejected me. Was there something WRONG with me that others could see, but I couldn’t? I was smart and kind and silly….what was I doing wrong?

I never figured it out. If there is some specific set of steps you take to make friends, it never became clear to me. I had one notable friend for each level of primary/middle/high school, but none of those relationships lasted more than superficially into adulthood. And romantic relationships…..well, that’s just gonna be a different post, lol.

In summary, I’m a big, soft weirdo who never made it from wallflower to person of interest. I put people off by nature of simply being myself, so I’ve spent much of my life alone, exploring the darkest hallways of my mind for answers I may never find. But hey, I like me?

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