There, I’ve said it. Phew.
I’m insecure, and I’m afraid, and I’m lonely. I don’t feel satisfied with the way I look, and I have doubts about myself constantly, and on some days I feel like I’m wasting my time on this earth.
Why is it so difficult to say that?
Not just being able to admit and articulate it, but to find a socially acceptable way of expressing it?
Friday’s post was about the way I’ve found happiness and fulfilment without too much personal ambition. It was one of my most popular posts in a while. People like hearing about happiness, they like looking up to people who look like they have made. I imagine it’s similar to watching the Kardashians; it’s not your life, but watching them at it makes you feel like such a life is possible, and it’s nice to live in a world like that.
We don’t, though. At least I don’t think so. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect there’s not a person in the world who feels like their life is happy and fulfilling and valuable on every single day.
Are we afraid of reality? Do we prefer being blind to the truth, that there is so such thing as a perfect life for anyone? Or maybe we’ve accidentally ended up with a society where we all feel sad and alone and afraid, but we also feel deeply uncomfortable when anyone tells us they are the same way.
Yesterday, I had a date with a guy for the first time.
A cute guy on okcupid messaged me earlier in the week. He seemed very kind and considerate, and sweet. He thought I looked cute, and he didn’t care I’m trans. He asked me to meet for coffee yesterday, and I said yes.
I took every possible precaution, of course. I sent my best friend every single thing I knew about the guy, and told her to expect hourly updates from me. I shouldn’t have bothered; the guy didn’t show up.
Yesterday, I was stood by up by a guy for the first time.
In all the scenarios I imagined for the date, from the guy being a creep, to a wonderful evening ending with a kiss, I never gave much thought to him showing up. I assumed it would go well or badly, not that it wouldn’t ‘go’ at all.
It hurt. It wasn’t just the fact that someone valued my time so little, but because it felt like reinforcement of every single insecurity I feel.
He didn’t show up because my nose is too large, because I’m too tall, because I have tiny boobs and no figure, because my voice is weird, because I’m not outgoing enough, because I don’t have that many friends, because some of my teeth look weird, because I’m so geeky, because my hair is too curly, because, because, because.
I’m aware being stood up says more about the person who didn’t show than the victim of their flakiness. It still hurt.
Our performance at work is measured in different ways. We have numbers that measure the average time of all our calls, others that look at customer satisfaction scores, whether customers call back within 48 hours of speaking to us, etc.
My first few months at work, I did horribly on all those metrics. I was trying my best, and I knew they would get better. It was only natural that it be difficult. Things got a little frustrating, as my supervisor and I both agreed I was doing a stellar job on calls while the numbers stayed below-bar, but I kept at it because I trusted myself and knew I couldn’t try harder than I already was.
Then out of nowhere, I finished among the best employees in November. I have no idea what it was, but something clicked. I stumbled a little in January as I adjusted to taking calls after I missed a month because of sick leave, but after that, I was gold. It wasn’t a matter of hitting the metrics, and it became a matter of hitting ALL of them. Not just meeting the minimum either, but the highest standard that would guarantee full bonuses for me. I have. On Wednesday I’m likely to receive the highest paycheck I’ve had since starting work at the company. I was also invited to a lunch with the other “best of the best” employees.
I’m not satisfied, though. Despite hitting every single metric well at the moment, I’m worrying because they’re not extraordinary enough. It’s been stressing me out that I might finish the month as a perfect employee, and not The Best employee. It’s sickening.
It isn’t hard to see what’s going on. I feel insecure about… something. On an intellectual level, I know I’m fucking brilliant at taking calls. Somewhere in my heart though, I believe I’m just a mediocre employee like in my first months, and my extraordinary performance of late is just a fluke.
I don’t feel a need to be excellent in every single way because I’m looking for other people’s approval, or because I have a point to prove. I know that most of my coworkers, and people above me, know exactly how excellent I am at my job.
No, I feel the need to be absolutely flawless because I can’t convince myself of it, because I can’t internalise the fact that I’m actually that good.
Because I’m so insecure. My desire to stand out, to shine, to be the bestest agent ever is just a pathetic attempt to hide the fact I’m living in a house of glass, and that everything gets to me, and my sense of myself.
I’ve gotten better at handling insecurity. When I was younger, it used to poison every single one of my relationships, and made me look like the neediest person ever. I’m not completely beyond that, but I’ve learned different strategies to handle that stuff. I have grown to see my flaws and strengths, and that helps too.
Still. I don’t know that I’ll ever completely stop being insecure. Maybe it’s too much a part of who I am.
I hope I do, though. Fingers crossed.