The Defining Word

You know those times when you eat a slice of pizza and quickly realize that it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever tasted, that no other sane action exists besides consuming 17 more slices? Well, that’s what happened on my last post. Amy Poehler/Leslie Knope is probably the most delicious slice of pizza I’ve ever come across. So I just had to have more. And apparently I felt the need to regurgitate her back onto all of you. Sorry!!

If that disgusting analogy didn’t scare you off, then be prepared for something even more ridiculous. I’m about to quote freakin’ Naomi Campbell to introduce this post about something I’m sure everyone struggles with: Getting out of your own way.

“Anger is a manifestation of a deeper issue…and that, for me, is based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness”–Campbell

I’ve come to the realization that one word, insecurity, is the defining issue that I face on a daily basis.  It is what prevents me from doing everything I want to and being who I want to be.

Most people, when first meeting me, probably come to the conclusion that I’m the least intimidating person in existence. I laugh a lot, I’m extremely self-deprecating, sarcastic, and generally not offensive in any way. I make a conscious effort to not bother anybody or piss anyone off. In fact, I really don’t speak much at all.  I’m so concerned about how people view me that I don’t really let anyone know me at all.  I’m the awkward, puppy-loving, non-confrontational spoiled kid with wild hair who has everything he wants, right?

That’s how I present myself to the world, so why should I expect to be treated any differently? Why should I act surprised when I become the butt of many of my friend’s jokes, or complain when a random homeless person accosts me for money or puts my earphones in his mouth (true story)? I guess vulnerability just oozes from my pores.

I don’t try to change things. I maintain the status quo, fearing that doing anything differently would eliminate any appeal that I have to my few friends. If I don’t express my love for fat, wrinkly puppies, my love for Celine Dion and Maria Sharapova, or constantly make fun of myself, what is left to like about me?

I’d say this picture about sums me up.  My love for my dog is at an extremely inappropriate high level, and my love for dogs is in no way an exaggeration. But is it normal for me to love dogs and animals more than most people?

Look at that ridiculous smile! I’m constantly amazed at how unbelievably crazed ecstatic I appear in most of my pictures. I look at myself and can’t believe I’m capable of conveying so much joy. I blame my freakishly large cheeks. The bastards!

This is the face that I show the world. It’s as if my body is unconsciously making me appear as exuberant as possible. Maybe it’s because for those few seconds that the picture is being taken, smiling is the accepted, expected behavior.

I can make a list of all the things that insecurity renders me or keeps me from being/doing. High up on that list would be forming relationships. I didn’t even have actual friends until my junior year of high school, friends I saw outside of the classroom.  I put zero effort into it, claiming to be 100% devoted to academics as my major excuse. I told myself that I didn’t need anybody. I even felt good knowing that instead of wasting my weekends going out and being social, I was getting assignments done days, even weeks early. It virtually took me being dragged out of my house one night in 11th grade that brought me some of the beautiful friends I have now.

Things didn’t change much in college. Once again, I didn’t put any effort into forming friendships, this time literally being dragged out one night to celebrate a birthday. And that was only because I had the luck of leaving my room to do laundry at the time that everybody was out in the hallway getting ready to go. In that moment I thought, “Well, if I’m ever going to have friends, this is my one opportunity.” The point is, the friends I have today came without any actual effort on my part.

When those rare moments come when I come across somebody who I actually want to know or be friends with, insecurity prevents that. So I settle for “liking” the occasional Facebook status, letting fear get in the way of doing what I want to do.

Insecurity is what keeps me silent in class. It’s what keeps me from vocalizing any opinion. It’s what leaves me with zero confidence. It’s what makes most of my closest relationships end up being with TV characters. And my dog.  It’s what kept me from telling my friends and family that I’m gay (Still haven’t told most of my family. Only told my dad because he asked. On the phone.). It’s what makes me never expect anything good to happen to me, and to question the good when it sometimes comes my way. Getting into the college that I go to, being selected for my dream internship with USAID, getting a 3.94 GPA last semester. My initial excitement is soon replaced with thoughts like, “What were they thinking? Why would they accept me? It’s definitely because they didn’t have to meet me in person first.”

“I’m only great on paper.” That’s probably what I think the most and that’s what I tell people. My resume, that first impression of me might be amazing, but when you look behind the words and the transcripts, you realize there isn’t much to be impressed with.

Like Campbell (probably the first and last time I’m going to start a sentence with those words), I am angry. I’m angry that I can’t be content with who I am. I’m angry that I don’t try to be close with people I should be close with. I’m angry that life is passing me by as I sit in my single room (roommates? Yeah right.), wishing to be with other people, but unable, unwilling to do it. I’m angry that I know what I want but lack the courage to try.

I know I need to figure out where this insecurity came from, when it started, why it started. You can’t come to a solution without knowing the cause(s). You can’t determine the cause without putting in some effort.

Hopefully some day soon I’ll get on that.

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4 thoughts on “The Defining Word

  1. Pingback: “Is That Your Bible?” “…No. That’s My Wallet.” | TopOfTheWorld

  2. Pingback: Turning 21: A Reflection | TopOfTheWorld

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