I’m Not a Robot
This year I lost myself. Sounds liberating, right? Well, it was and wasn’t.
The act of losing oneself implies that we’re loosening the grips on these ideas we have of who we are, ultimately freeing ourselves of the boundaries we’ve created. While losing myself has surely lifted a weight off my shoulders, it’s also been incredibly heavy. For me, I haven’t lost myself and found greater meaning, ability, or ambition. I’ve merely lost myself and become empty. This may sound like a cry for attention, or it may sound completely common; but either way, it happened. Well, it’s happening. So for my own sake and without going into great detail, I’m going to explore how this is happening.
Last January I embarked on the ever-so-wise journey to live on my own. It has been pretty fun, but also really difficult (emotionally and financially). I don’t make a ton of money and I live in Los Angeles, which as you know is ridiculously expensive, but I’m making it work (barely). This year has also been a year of love and new relationships. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m in a relationship with someone I really love. He’s patient, kind, a little rough around the edges, and loves me. And I mean ME, the me I am when I think no one is watching. So there’s that. I’ve also spent this year in therapy, which deserves its own post with lots of expletives and ellipses. Lastly, I work in a field I have no interest in pursuing, like every other person with a job.
I realize I just described a pretty privileged, blessed life. I am aware that not all have a job, much less one that affords her both the luxury of living on her own and seeing a therapist; nor does everyone have someone with whom to share their life. Having said that, I’ve learned that just because those things are true for me doesn’t mean I’m immune to psychological and emotional distress. And that has been crucial in this whole losing myself business. I AM NOT IMMUNE TO HUMAN EMOTION. I cannot even begin to explain how mind-blowing that is to me. Up until this year, I’d only really allowed myself to feel compassion for others. Empathy for others’ emotions and situations was like my subconscious thing. That empathy allowed me to experience a range of emotions; I would for cry tears of joy and sadness for and with someone. I would get angry on someone’s behalf. I was capable of feeling the entire spectrum of emotion, so long as it was on behalf of other people. There were few exceptions, but I’m not that far in therapy yet, I’ll let you know when I get there.
Learning not to disregard my hardships as just that HARDships was really…hard, because I felt as if I was betraying everything I stood for. All that I’d understood was wrong in the world (and in my world) derived from selfishness in all its forms (monetary, political, religious, racial, etc.). I’d made a particular association between self-indulgence and emotional behavior, and I wanted nothing to do with that.
Even as I read “I am not immune to human emotion”, I am still confused. I’m still working out what it is to accept anger, sadness, pride (the good kind), fear, and all those other feelings I know exist somewhere beneath the sarcasm. Clearly, I’ve only scratched the surface of my exploration, and I don’t quite have an idea of where these posts are heading, but at least I’m searching. As I discover new things about myself in therapy, in life, on the internet from all those lists of things twentysomethings should know, I’m wondering if constantly discovering parts of myself necessitates the feeling of losing myself.