Over the last year, however, the charming cracks in the wall became more akin to chasms than chipped paint -- a damaged tank, no matter how sturdy, will break down with enough bombing. And with every mortar round, with every strike of the shrapnel, the tank is weakened a little more until it's weathered and worn into a ghost of its former self.
And knowing who you are doesn't mean you don't get lost.
There's this fog of unworthiness that haunts me. I can't tell you where it comes from, but I can guess... Friendships gone south, selfish decisions I've made, unfair calls, ruthless action. More judgement than compassion, more anger than understanding. More justification than solution. Injuries, losses, too-little-too-lates. Missed opportunities, squandered chances.
All wrapped up in a fortress of 'fuck off'. Cemented with the nagging feelings of inability, unworthiness, self-hate. And for what? Because I'm not perfect? Because I know this, I preach this, but cannot escape my own expectation of it?
I'm standing over here, shouting "HEY! I'm okay! I'm just fine the way I am! Fuck you!" while everyone around me is saying "Yeah, that's what we keep telling you", but all I can hear are the echoes of my own screams that somehow, come twisting back as "You suck."
They say we don't see the world as it is, but as we are.
And right now? I don't see myself as good. I don't see myself as useful or productive.
My microscope may be a little too sharp... But it's pretty fucking accurate. And I see myself making a whole lot of noise about something that's important, but nothing is being done about. Why? Because it's easier to make noise than sit still and wring my hands in my lap... And I haven't done enough with my career or my life to do much more than either of those.
And I need validation. Like every other late 20-something, I need to know that my life matters; that my existence isn't meaningless. And so Tinder, and Twitter. And social media out the fucking wazoo. And this stupid, vapid fucking blog where all I talk about is me.
Good god. I've turned into the worst thing ever.
My ego has become a monster that will destroy everything in its path... It's no longer my quiet, satisfied sense-of-self.
It's a narcisstic Godzilla incapable of actually changing the world because I'm more obsessed with how i'm seen by people who I've never met!
Sheesh. Clearly, the frustration isn't entirely with the world. It's very much with myself.
And yes, I'll cut myself some slack: there did need to be some standing up and throwing down. That needed to happen and it should have happened years ago, long before I even entered the picture. But it didn't. And once I 'cowboyed up', as they say, it was go time, all the time.
But I can't go full gas all the time. I couldn't stand up for everyone and fight every battle without it somehow becoming less about change and more about 'losing'. And reading enough PB comments, it's pretty fucking clear when it became more about me not 'losing' some stupid imagined ego battle than it was about my contributions to a growing industry.
That's what kills confidence right there -- knowing I'm sliding, but not being able to stop the slide until I'm off and over the cliff. Not moving, not stopping the deterioration of the tank until every last piece of armor is gone.
And that doubt kills everything. It kills performance, it kills belief. It kills purpose and hope and optimism. The doubt that comes from an ego slide is the fastest way to bottom out a career... Because you get desperate. You get greedy. You take chances you don't need to take, and spiral into a pattern of ego-fueled injury and self-hate. And why? Because my feeling of unworthiness, of stagnancy? Lack of productivity?
Well. As long as we're here, at least we have a direction: UP.