Growing up, I was constantly vigilant for what would be a good day and what would be a bad day. At such a young age, I had somehow gotten the idea that I had contributed to the bad days and it was up to me to figure out how to ensure they didn’t happen. Like I had some sort of control over the emotional climate of our home. I would try to fit into a role that I thought my family needed or wanted. Maybe I was small and inconspicuous, or happy and laughing. It didn’t feel like there was room to be exactly as I was at any given moment, that I needed to be something else for those around me.
As I got older, and also when my depression started to manifest, this urge to people please morphed into detachment. I just wouldn’t talk or interact with those people I’d tried so hard to be perfect for when I was younger. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was still trying to control the situation but through avoidance.
As a pseudo-adult, I am more aware when old patterns come up. When I can control things or have them as I think they should be, it offers me a sense of safety. There will be no blow ups or chaos, because I am calling the shots. But when it gets to be too much or too unpleasant, I call it. I call it on jobs, on relationships, even on things that are supposed to bring relief and happiness like hobbies.
I have no regrets about any of the choices I’ve made in the past. They were the safest choices for me at that time. But now, I am aware of how tightly I’ve been clinging to this idea of perfect and how it might actually be strong-arming me into leading a life I don’t want to, all in the hopes of staying safe.
I am searching for that room temperature between control and detachment that allows me to be kind, authentic and of service to this global society without feeling like a doormat or wanting to crawl under an old pile of newspapers and live there alone.