I don’t know who I am…

I know the core values I embrace. I know the person I’d like to be. But I don’t know who I really am.

Does that sound absurd? It does to me…

A friend once said she was proud of me for an achievement I had accomplished. And I wondered – do I feel proud of myself? No. I don’t. I feel proud of events I’ve been associated with. My children are my pride and joy. I even have a handful of successes I can acknowledge I have played an integral part. But no – I don’t feel proud of me.

I’ve heard friends say that while they might bemoan an aspect of themselves, they wouldn’t be anyone else for all the tea in China. Do I feel that way? No. Absolutely not. I’d like to be anybody else but me (well – almost anybody… there are a few exceptions).

We are bombarded endlessly with the importance of self-care and self-love. I find that extremely difficult to separate from self-absorbed and selfish. Because self-love was not something modelled or taught in my formative years. In fact, “You must really love yourself” was considered a heinous insult.

I can describe myself to some extent – my height and weight, skin and hair colour, a few distinctive physical features. A few personality traits. A few things I hold dear to my heart. Is that who I am? Am I just a physical description? Is my personality me? It changes all the time. More and more so as I become older. I’ve been perceived as confident – I have never in my life felt anything but nervous and unsure of myself. How have I come to portray myself in a manner, that is the polar opposite of my true feelings? I am friendly and welcoming at times. And terrified and shy at other times. I’ve been an extrovert in situations. I’ve been an introvert in other situations. I’m fluid. I change. I don’t know who I am.

Throughout most of my adult life, I never considered myself to be depressed. Or anxious. I didn’t recognise I numbed every feeling and emotion out of my very core with disordered eating and obsessive behaviours. Now I can recognise these things – but I don’t know what’s underneath. I don’t even know if I’m afraid of what’s underneath. I just feel like there’s nothing there. That instead of covering up emotions, I’m actually just an empty husk. Pretending to express. Pretending to feel.

I feel lost and adrift and I’m searching for myself.

I have a lot of words. I can express things I think others want to hear. I don’t know for sure they are the things I feel – because I don’t seem to feel. I don’t lie. I just don’t know what the truth is. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know how to find me. And most significantly, I don’t know if I want to. What if I find a person I don’t like? What if I find a person I do like? What then? How do I know who I am?

Who are you? How do you know?!