“I am not my apprehension”

Project Description:

I’m not present. I’m not here, with you, in the moment. I’m in my head, overthinking, processing, analyzing, stressing. I’m questioning myself and who I am. Or I’m trying to figure out how I “should” act, and what everyone is thinking about me.

But mostly, I’m letting my own past, my own experiences, and my own story dictate how I interact with the present and how I envision the future.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through the people I gravitate towards. I feel the need to fix people that are hurting or emotionally and mentally unhealthy. I tend to be drawn towards relationships where I am the giver; with people where I am the one who stretches and goes past my comfort zone to remain safely inside the other person’s. It’s almost impossible for me to admit to myself that I have problems or weaknesses; I would rather help someone else with theirs. This has led to long friendships with abusive, manipulative, demanding people. It has led to friendships with people who emotionally, mentally, or physically violated me, with the pretense that if I was a good friend, it was my responsibility to comply.

For a long time, I shut it all out. I didn’t let myself accept that I was hurt and vulnerable, and didn’t allow myself to learn and grow from my mistakes. I was unhappy and scared, and I didn’t realize that the ugly parts of my past were making me doubt all the beautiful opportunities of the present.

When I did finally start to accept that there are parts of me that are broken or hurting, it opened up the potential for healing and growth. And I have done both, but that doesn’t mean that all of the insecurities and fears are gone. It just means that I know they’re there, and I can be honest with myself about how they influence the way I engage with people. In some ways, I am still the same little girl who shuts down when things get too intense, or trigger painful memories. Sometimes I am still that girl who believes that it’s always me, it’s always my fault, and it’s always because of who I am that things go wrong. Most of the time, when I try to develop relationships, I am terrified to commit to anyone, convinced that I will repeat the past, and any possible relationship or friendship will again, drain me. I am apprehensive about trust, commitment, vulnerability, and being open with others. I am insecure about how I relate to people, and my inclination to doubt.

I am also strong, positive, capable of change and growth. Every day I learn to be more honest with myself, and when I am honest with myself I can accept that my insecurities exist, and recognize when my apprehensions about myself and others begin to negatively influence the way I engage with the present moment.

So yes, I am still apprehensive. I struggle with being in the moment. But I will not let the story my insecurities tell me dictate my present or my future. My apprehension is not who I am, and I will not let it define me.