There are some admissions I should have made a long time ago, both to myself and to the people around me. There are many reasons why I seem so clingy and so needy. Primary of which is the loneliness and abandonment that colored the majority of my time as a youth.
There were spans of time in my early childhood where I spent large portions of my time doing anything and everything to get any kind of attention I could. Acting out, breaking things, going on a tear through the neighborhood–anything at all that would garner some level of attention from the two people in the world I wanted it from the most.
My parents were indifferent to my struggles, and disconnected from the realities I faced every day. In my late youth, it was rare that I felt that familial bond between us and as such I cherished those moments like one would covet rare jewels. I honestly felt like one of those kids that knew in the back of their head that they were adopted or were somehow categorically different from their parents–an “other” that would never fit in and was never really “right”.
The loneliness and disconnection manifested itself in many ways in my late youth and early teens when I would spend more time on my computer, riding around on my skateboard, or hiding in books and music than I would talking to people face-to-face. I sometimes followed random people on my skateboard for a couple of blocks when I rode around on my skateboard just to try and kill the loneliness. Just so I could feel as though we were traveling on the same trajectory and that we might share a common purpose. Anything to kill the boredom and disconnection I felt. When I could, I spent time with the neighbors that inhabited my immediate vicinity, staying and watching television, reading books, and listening to music and just generally making an honest attempt at not being alone.
I hid in music, books, and video games for many years. Angry, grinding, cataclysmic music was the only non-destructive outlet I had for the hate that was building inside me. Books were my escape when things got to be far too tough. And video games were the glue that bound my days together, leaving me to count-down the days when I could get a job and start doing all the things that adults were supposed to do: buy a car, go to clubs, meet pretty people, get married, have sex, grow old, see the world.
In my head, I often felt like the last living survivor in a landscape bombed-out by apocalyptic nuclear blasts. I felt loneliness and rage clawing at my insides, and the cold chill of Death on my skin. These were the feelings that made up many of my days.
Which brings me to the now. Why do I struggle now as an adult in such times and with so many resources at my disposal? I can think of one thing specifically: I never feel as if I am “enough”. I am always seeking praise or attention. I am always feeling as though I am worthless without someone noticing and validating me. I wait to be chosen rather than choosing myself and evaluating my worth for what it is: miraculous.
I survived the trauma of lacking validation as a child. I survived the terrors of navigating both pubescence and social situations without any kind of guidance or help. I survived my life hitting what I felt at the time to be the lowest point I could ever reach. I survived myself by not committing suicide six years ago.
I survive now by sheer strength of will alone and even to this day I sometimes whether that in itself is enough. In this same sense of revelation, I also find myself terrified by the knowledge that I do not know what I want out of my life. I’ve always lived to please someone else. I’ve always been dependent on others for guidance and for that sense of belonging that I never had.
If there were ever a time where I could honestly say that I feel truly alone, this would be it.