For much of my life I’ve felt lost, living in someone else’s skin. I felt like I was hovering in the atmosphere next to everyone else’s lives, looking in on them but not really a part of anything.
I wrote these quotes down at different periods of my life. I must take a perverse comfort in thinking that by piercing into the nucleus of my feelings, each one must have been through some type of disjointed, wandering-soul sort of angst as I have experienced.
“The greatest hazard of all – losing one’s self – can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.”
– Søren Kierkegaard
I was never as scared as when I needed to block a family member from my life because of being verbally and emotionally trampled and abused. But I needed to do it to be able to finally respect myself and take care of my emotional self:
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which
you really stop to look fear in the face.
You must do the thing
which you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve worked so hard to shed the stuff with which other people tried to envelop me; to learn to just be me, moment by moment – fluid and ever-changing, acceptable in all my inconsistencies:
“We insist on being Someone, with a capital S. We get security from defining ourselves as worthless or worthy, superior or inferior. We waste precious time exaggerating or romanticizing or belittling ourselves with a complacent surety that yes, that’s who we are. We mistake the openness of our being—the inherent wonder and surprise of each moment—for a solid, irrefutable self. Because of this misunderstanding, we suffer.”
– Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times
Now, I try to let go of any results – I want to work hard to release the Me inside, without any expectation of what I should be like or what I need to achieve.
I feel more a part of humanity, and that means I’m sharing and more open with my friends. I have a place here, and I’m much more accepting of myself.
Has anyone else felt like they’re on the outside of life, looking in?