Think about something more interesting, weirdo.

Once, when I was trying to fall asleep, my ex asked me, “Do you think people think you’re a good person or a bad person?” And I replied, “I don’t think people think about me.” He thought that was sad. I felt that it was factual.

Why do we spend so much time wondering what people think of us? The truth is people aren’t thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are. They’re not watching you workout at the gym; they’re watching themselves in the mirror. They’re not watching what you put in your cart at the grocery store or what you ordered at the restaurant; they’re worried someone else is looking at what’s in their cart or on their plate.

We spend our formative years in a microcosm of psychopathy known as public school, where beasts without fully functioning brains outnumber their teachers in a national average of 15 to 1. These merciless brutes DO, in fact, spend way too much time watching other people and making sure those outside their sphere know they are NOT acceptable. We call this bullying and we don’t take it nearly as seriously as we should. This 12 year scenario sets us up to worry about what other people are thinking of us. We want all the Regina George’s of the world to either like us or have no idea we exist.

Some of us are also lucky enough to be blessed with childhood trauma that leaves us teetering on the brink. Judgmental family members help strengthen the connections between neurons firing to tell us everyone is looking at us and laughing/judging/thinking ill. Every move we made was criticized and so we view ourselves through that critical lens. We have to hide our giant, glaring flaws that flash like neon signs above our heads so no one will know we are human and criticize our humanity.

Isn’t the society we’ve built for ourselves fun? We’ve done a stellar job of creating an environment that prioritizes health.

So yeah, I get it. You think everyone is watching you. You think people are thinking about you in their off time. I promise, they’re not. They’re thinking about themselves.

Of course, I’m probably wildly off about this. Because I think about people all the time. But I just can’t imagine a world where anyone is thinking about me in their off time. How boring. Think about something more interesting, weirdo.

Alone is not a four letter word

In this essay I will… oh shit… never mind.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay homage to the bees in my brain. Today is a bee day. The bees are a-buzzin’ and so I am a-writin’.

The spring semester is nearly over. I have one week left and I am in the thick of writing final essays and preparing major speaking assignments. But today, in the midst of my push to finish the semester strong, it hit me that this summer will be the first extended break I’ve allowed myself to take since my ex left me over a year and a half ago. It’s been a little over 1 year and 8 months and in that time I have rarely let myself be still. Stillness means thinking and feeling and those are my enemies. That’s not to say I haven’t done some deep thinking and some major feeling in that time. But if I’m being honest, I hate them. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to feel. Thinking and feeling will only lead to questions and tears. And I don’t have answers or tissues.

When your heart is as stupidly big as mine, it isn’t easy to recover from it breaking. And my heart has been broken so many, many times in the last 20 months. Not just from my ex. There were the multiple times I had to throw away a piece of our history because he didn’t want it and I didn’t have a place for it. There was the situationship I found myself in that ended by me being ghosted. There are the friends who are no longer my friends and the family that I’ll never see again. There was the realization that throwing me away is the easiest thing in the world for someone to do. My skin is not thick and my heart is exposed because I wear it on my sleeve. I am a soft, loving, sweetie and I will love you hard and big and often and loud. I am a complete idiot.

Thinking and feeling,…. Let’s get back to that. You see, those two dumbasses are my enemies because if I think and feel for too long I will have to acknowledge my biggest fear and face it. I am so afraid no one will ever love me again and I will always be alone. Eesh. Arrow to the soul with that one. I am bleeding out on the barroom floor. The waitress is stepping over my corpse. My well-dressed and sexy corpse.

The terror that I am completely unlovable haunts me and I do my level best to avoid that ghoul with my whole being. I look at myself and I see all of the reasons not to love me. I won’t list them for you because that is too bleak and vulnerable, even for me. But here I am, facing that spectre again because in one week I will have a lot of time on my hands to overthink and overfeel and stay in my bed avoiding the world and my responsibilities. I am alone. And that is just the way that it is. I may have people who love me but I have no one who LOVES me. And that *hurts* in my bones. How silly.

Alone is not a four letter word, no matter how the bees in my brain try to tell me that it is. And if I’m really honest, alone is kind of exciting. I have never lived alone. Two weeks before I was married AT THE AGE OF 19 (capitalized to emphasize the absolute fucking insanity of that), I moved into the apartment we would share. I lived alone for precisely 2 weeks. I am 42. Forty-fucking-two. In my forty-two years stumbling around on this terrestrial plane, I have only lived alone for 2 weeks. And I don’t even remember them. So, honestly, maybe being alone isn’t the worst thing there is. Perhaps, I’m just scared of it because I have never done it. I’m human and we fear the unknown. I am excited by the idea of a living arrangement where I am the only person I need to take care of. I have been taking care of others for FAR too long. But then the other thoughts creep in, like, maybe I’ll be alone forever. And I really don’t want to be alone forever.

I have no way to predict the future, unfortunately, so I really can’t say with any certainty that I will, but as the bees do their bee dance in my grey matter, I am hit with the confidence that I will find love again. I’m too fucking adorable not to. Someone will inevitably fall in love with me. They won’t be able to help it. One look in my pretty green eyes and they will be under my spell. I dare you to try staring into my eyes and NOT fall in love with me. Someday someone will think I am the most beautiful woman they’ve ever met. They will see how smart and funny I am. These are incontrovertible facts. But before that happens, my heart will worry and the bees with buzz and I will be scared and sad and anxious about being alone.

The only thing I know to counteract this silliness is to learn to love myself and to learn to be ok with being alone. And I am trying, ok? Somedays it is easier than others to look at myself and see the amazing woman I truly am. And plenty of other days I look at myself and see the pick me girl and the squishmallow I feel like I am. And even though daily I am asking myself “who are you”, I know that I am a strong, amazing, bad ass bitch who has faced the goddamn storm and dared the lightning to strike. I may be made of soft matter but I bend, baby, never break.

I WILL get through all the doubt and fear and panic and terror. Because I love hard and big and often and loud. My capacity to love is my strength, not my weakness. And if I can love others that way, I can love myself that way. Which is what I am going to do. I AM afraid that no one will ever love me, so I’m going to love myself. I AM afraid that I will always be alone, but alone is not a four letter word.

One week left in the semester and then I have to face myself for a whole summer. Eesh. Here we go. We can do this. We can learn to love ourselves.

Before I Met You

I am sooooooo in love with this little baby I just created. I birthed her from my song-womb just now. I had one of those “come to Buddha” moments last night at work and just realized some big shit about myself. And so, inspired, I wrote this. The recording is rough and the vocals need work but I love, love, love it. I can’t wait to hear what it will sound like when I can properly record her and stand up to sing, and, therefore, free up my poor diaphragm. As of right now, I play and sing sitting down which makes it harder to sing properly.

Anyway, love it or hate it, here she is, in all her glory.