I dreamed last night about a boy I went to high school with. I guess he's forty now, like me, so he's not a boy anymore. I remember him as a boy though, and I guess that's how he'll stay.
I wanted him to like me. I don't remember feeling anything particularly romantic toward him when I knew him more than twenty years ago, but in my dream he was the object of my affection. He wasn't quite as interested in me so I decided in my dream that I would do as much for him as possible, to the detriment of myself, in order for him to see how valuable I was.
In not-shocking news? This did not work.
In also not-shocking news? It never does.
I do this a lot. A lot. I spend so much time and energy on people who, frankly, don't give a damn about me. So much of my life consists of trying to make people see that I'm really not so bad. That I'm valuable. That I'm good enough. It's an enormous waste of time.
I know this all in my head. I get it. I know that most people suck and that it really doesn't matter what I do, it's not going to make those people not suck. I get that my being "good" or "bad" is highly subjective and often doesn't even affect the outcome. I get that there are so many people that are just never going to be happy no matter what I do. No matter what anyone does.
I don't know why I continue fighting this.
I don't know why I'm doing it to myself now.
I told Jason last night I was intermittent fasting. It's sounds scarier than it actually is. It's just eating only within an eight hour period every day. It made sense to me. I explained it in a very logical way. He asked me why I was doing it and I said because I just had like ten or fifteen more pounds to lose and I thought this would help push me over the plateau I've been stuck in.
"You said that like thirty pounds ago," he reminded me. "When is it going to be enough?"
I didn't have an answer. I don't think there is a good one, and God knows I don't want to give a bad answer.
The truth is I don't know when it will be enough. The truth is I keep trying to push myself into these molds that I don't fit in. Like yesterday I went to an exercise class that I didn't like. Okay, so I actually like how I feel today. I like the soreness of my muscles and I like knowing I really did something challenging.
I don't like the people there. I know this is not a nice thing to say but when I attempt to talk to five people and not even one of them felt like I was even worth responding to, I don't like that. So screw being nice. They aren't nice and I don't like to be around people (and pay a lot of money for the privilege, mind you) who aren't nice. I don't like feeling like I don't belong.
See, when I was fat I was sure that was the reason I didn't belong. If I was ever in a situation where people were rude or didn't like me or whatever I would just think, "Oh, this is because I'm fat". Sometimes it was. Like once in a college class we had to write down our first impressions of each person in the class anonymously so the teacher could read them aloud. There were only five people in the class, so frankly I thought it was pretty dangerous, but I went along with it. I can't even remember why we did it, but I guess it made sense based on the context of the assignment.
Every single person in the class said the first impression of me was either "fat" or "lazy". Even the girl who was my lab partner, which made for some awkward interaction the rest of the semester. I was so disappointed with myself for being nice and saying the one girl looked "preppy" instead of saying "stuck-up bitch" and another girl was "trendy dresser" instead of a "three-dollar whore". I blame my inability to be straight mean to people's faces on being Southern.
I was fat then. It's a descriptor. It wasn't who I was as a whole person. They didn't know that I worked full-time and had two kids and made straight A's and tried really hard. They didn't know that I spent endless long nights studying because I wanted to better the life of my children. They didn't know that I am really fun to hang out with and smart and nice. They didn't care.
I'm not fat now. I was not the fattest person in the room yesterday (that's my test, always). I looked like most every other person in the room, except my hair is brown (and, um, some gray) and not blonde. I wasn't lagging behind or unable to keep up. No one felt sorry for me and no one commented on how I was OHMYGODSOBRAVE (and yes, that happens to fat people when they try to exercise and yes, it sucks). There were things I couldn't do at first but once the instructor showed me how to do them I was fine.
They just didn't like me.
It wasn't exactly a revelation to me, but it did feel a bit like a boob punch. I've known for a while that I'm not everyone's cup of tea. What I'm fighting with myself about now is...going back.
To be clear, I don't want to go back. I don't want to go to a situation where I'm uncomfortable. I don't want to pay a lot of money to be around people who have nothing but disdain for me. I already pay for a gym membership and Zumba classes and I have two kids who will be starting college full-time in four months (oh God). I look forward to Zumba. I would not look forward to this.
I'm a grown-up. I literally do not have to do things that I don't want to do. Except, you know, work and stuff. I do have a mortgage and people to feed and whatnot.
So why am I arguing internally about maybe if I just try harder, then they'll like me? Maybe if I just show up and I'm the most amazing person EVER at this activity then they'll be like, "Wow, we really misjudged you and everyone wants to be your bff!".
It never, ever works. I waste time, energy, money, and I always end up feeling even more broken and sad.
I look forward to the day that my heart feels like it's all enough. That it's okay if I'm not great at everything and it's even okay if I suck at some stuff. That acknowledging that I'm not great at everything doesn't make me a loser and that I've done okay for a poor kid from East Tennessee.
My head is there, mostly. My heart is not at all.