The biggest plight of my existence (let’s all pretend that phrase isn’t as catastrophic as it sounds…) is that I am not on to think of myself. If I look to every major life decisions I’ve ever made, the reasoning behind it all ties to a person that is not me. When I left my last job, I wasn’t happy. I loved a great deal of the people I worked with but the organization wasn’t the right fit for me anymore for a wide variety of reasons. In my head, however, was that one of the biggest problems in my marriage was money and – as I was dramatically underemployed – getting a new job would make me happier on a day-to-day and I would have more money and the two together would solve for all the marriage things. 

I doubt I need to explain where that reasoning fell apart. 

When I was making the decision of which college I wanted to go to, my parents were very against the idea of student loans. But I bought very heavily into the idea because I wanted to go where a friend was going and I wanted to go as far away from home as said student loans would allow. 

When I decided to move to the Midwest for a relationship, I felt stuck. My life was in a weird place: the music industry wasn’t working out as much as I wanted it to (in reality, it wasn’t working out fast enough for my liking) and I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do when grew up. At the same time, there was a boy. I was convinced he was the only one who would ever love me and he was insistent that he didn’t want to do long distance. So I moved. 

The point here is not that I haven’t made choices because I’m an existentialist at heart. The absence of a choice is still a choice; Jean Paul Sartre would be abysmally amused. I made choices, however, I’ve never made an impact choice in my life because it was the right choice for me and my life solely. Instead, I’ve found a way to make it a decision for someone else. 

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to learn to speak up for myself. You say that and people think it’s such a simple phrase. “Oh yeah, you just do it.” But it isn’t that easy for me. Speaking up for myself even in the smallest way makes me feel selfish and abrasive. Couple it with the fact that I tend to feel like the outsider in most situations in my life and there’s the inherent fear that being myself – and speaking up for said self – will solidify me as an outsider. 

I’ve never been normal in that respect. I’ve never been someone to understand how to act in situations or comfortable with “social stuff.” Group situations make me anxious and any setting that’s a little bit uncomfortable feels like I’d prefer a trip to the dentist. 

I still haven’t found a way to “be me” and not be an outsider. 2020, perhaps?