I don’t always like who I am, and I need you to know that.
Sometimes, I read too much into a harmless comment, I fixate on an interaction that’s really no big deal, or I say something unnecessarily childish. I do things I regularly admonish others for—things I dismiss as silly or ill thought out, as if I’m above those behaviors when I’m definitely not.
Sometimes, I’m a mother fucking idiot and a hypocrite.
I can see it happening in the moment—see myself transforming into someone I don’t respect, reducing myself to overreaction or a response that isn’t smart, thoughtful, or mature. That isn’t reflective of my best self. That is the complete opposite of the strong, hardworking, independent woman I like to think I am.
But I’m not always capable of being my best self, and I need you to accept that.
Sometimes, I’m a total asshole. I don’t feel good about it, but it happens. I say nasty things, knowing exactly how deep my words will cut. I resort to passive aggressiveness and outright insults, stabbing as hard as I can at your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I say things specifically designed to provoke, or to deflate your ego. Some of the mean things I say are rooted in truth, harsh judgments and spiteful opinions I secretly harbor. Others are entirely falsified, the manifestations of emotional responses I can’t control for whatever reason. None of the mean things I say are ever worthy of vocalizing, but sometimes I say them anyway.
I can be a grade-A jerk because I am over-tired or frustrated with life in general or because I feel like starting trouble for no good reason at all, and I need you to understand that.
Sometimes, it’s hard for me to remember that I like myself better when I am kind, compassionate, and caring. When I take the time to understand another’s perspective rather than attack them for being “idiotic” or “ridiculous.” That I am a better person when I strive to behave like someone I can actually admire.
Sometimes, I retreat into myself for days at a time and I can’t stop my mind from wandering in a million different directions simultaneously—from diving so far deep inside myself that I miss my subway stop and forget to hand the barista the $2.50 I owe for my morning coffee. I forget that I’m a person living in a world populated by billions of others, someone whose actions inevitably have a ripple effect on those around her. I let my problems preoccupy me, pathetically harping on the details of shit that doesn’t really matter in the grander scheme of things.
I’m not normally like this, so when it happens, it might seem odd. Contradictory, even. But it’s destined to happen, and I need you to be prepared for that.
Sometimes, I just can’t will myself to be the cheerful person I usually am, no matter how hard I try. I wake up day after day hoping to feel recharged so I can be the “normal” me, but I realize seconds after my eyelids crack open that I do not feel good at all. In those moments, between sleep and reluctant wakefulness, I resolve to give off the positive energy others expect from me—to be the happy, carefree girl I typically am. But I’m unable to force myself to fake it, knowing that my eyes will ultimately betray any attempt I make to mask my bleh attitude with a phony smile.
When this happens, you will assume you’ve done something to upset me. And you may be right. But that will never be the entire story. I’m pensive, I’ll say, not sad—more to myself than anyone else. One last attempt at willing myself out of the funk. One more failed attempt, that is.
Sometimes, I don’t want anything other than to be alone with my thoughts, lost in my own head, and I need you to respect that.
I need you to know these things because I need you to see me for who I really am, and love me anyway. I need you to know that I’m imperfect. That I say and do selfish things. That I think horrible thoughts. That I am not always the confident, smiley, warm, easy going person you fell in love with. That many of my layers are unimaginably dark. That I am not always fun to be around.
I don’t always like myself, so I don’t expect you to either. But I do expect you to love me anyway.