The years hadn’t just taken me farther away from my birth. They had pushed me farther away from myself.
While searching for meaning, I lost touch with my own identity. I tried to make everything mean more than it actually did, tried to fill a void that wasn’t even there with things that never had interested me before. The effort was so great that I began to neglect all the things that made me me.
All of the sudden, things outside of my control mattered to me. I became obsessed with how others acted and interacted, how they related and thought about me. It was almost as if I had forgotten that I never used to worry what others think. All I can control is how I act and perceive the world around me.
Perhaps I got caught up in all this life nonsense — how the circle is supposed to go. Born. Grow. Breed. Die.
Well, none of that had ever really interested me that much. I never cared that I didn’t have a mate — so long as I was getting mine. I never thought about dying because who the fuck has time for that? All that occupied my time was doing the things I had to in order to survive and spending the rest doing things for me. I led a purely selfish life, though I never thought of myself as ungiving.
I was there for my friends and my family whenever they needed me. That never changed. What changed was the idea that perhaps I should be working more toward understanding other people as opposed to pleasing me. While perhaps that is a nobel endeavor, it is also a slippery slope. Before I knew it, I was more concerned with what was going through other people’s minds, what made other people tick, what made others happy than I was with making sure I was feeding my own hungers and desires.
And just like that, I was no longer really me. I became moody and over-contemplative. I became obsessed and depressed. I became anxious and cautious. I stopped being for my own sake.
I realize this now, and I’m reclaiming my identity. No, I am not throwing away opportunities for growth or closing my mind off to new experiences. I will continue to embrace change, welcome new ideas and activities and interests, connect with different people. But I won’t do it at the expense of myself. Because I know who I am, even if I lost my way.
Selfishness is not a bad thing, so long as it’s not the only thing. I’ve always been selfish, sometimes in a demeaning and demanding way, but mostly in a healthy and self-preserving way. Now, I’m realizing I need that selfishness back, need that aggression and dominance that made me who I am.
So the wheels are in motion. My life is coming back. Things are beginning to feel normal, and I am starting to feel whole again. This is the reclamation of me.