How Will I Ever Let Anyone Love Me If I Don’t Love Who I Am?

I used to think I was one of those “what you see is what you get” type people. I used to think that I was an open book. I used to think that I wore my heart on my sleeve until I started to let people get close to me. These people opened my eyes to how guarded and broken I really am.

I have layers, many layers, and only a few people have gotten past the first layer. And I think—no, I know—that no one has gotten to the last. I’m so complex, so damaged, and it scares the crap out of me. Years and years of hurt, of rejection, of feelings that I just refuse to face or deal with just add onto my already thick walls.

I’m an expert at confronting feelings except when they’re my own. The worst thing about not confronting my feelings is that I hide them and wear a mask—a mask that can morph me into anyone at any given time. Over the years, I’ve morphed myself into so many people that I’ve lost myself in the process.

I’ve let people see what they need to see, but I don’t know if I’ve ever let anyone see the real, unedited me. I don’t even know if I’ve ever let myself see that me.

Who even am I?

There’s this image that comes to my mind every time I ask myself that question—it’s of Mulan. She stands in front of a body of water and sings, “Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me?” And I feel like that has been me my whole life.

I’ve been having a really hard time maintaining relationships because I don’t know how to show people who I am. It scares me too much. What if they hate me?

But how will I ever let anyone love me if I can’t show them who I am? How will I ever let anyone love me if I don’t know who I am? How will I ever let anyone love me if I don’t love who I am?

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