I haven't put up a journal entry in quite a while--more like since last year--so it's time for a update.
I left 2018 in a state that could only be called, well, being content. I was just glad to be alive, to have some money in the bank (courtesy of a seasonal job), and to see my niece turn one year older and also realize just how much she's grown, and that my family and friends for the most part were still here.
Yet the biggest change I saw was in myself. I'll explain that one.
For many years I pretty much hated myself. Many didn't see it at all; only a couple of friends and close family members could tell that there was a lot of self-hatred that manifested itself in bouts of depression and harsh self-judgement. The source of these things goes back much further and so I'm not going to get into it here--truth be told I already went over it during therapy sessions some years back.
So what changed during the last months of 2018? Quite a bit.
For one thing, at the job I worked at, I found myself interacting with many members of the opposite sex--okay, women. One thing that I always took myself apart for was that I was pretty much a flop with them (and obviously me not being in a relationship for years is a blinking red light). I wasn't good enough, wasn't attractive enough, and came across as being too...well, odd. It also didn't help that I had bad timing and just always kept missing the boat because I just felt that I wasn't worthy enough (but not to worry, there's no danger of me becoming an incel). And due to me being someone who does art, I tend to be solitary, at home in front of my computer or my art desk.
But at the job, something happened. And it was thanks to someone who apparently took an interest in me. I can't remember when it started, but before I knew it (because you never see these things coming) a friendship blossomed. That and the fact that the signs were present that--shock and horror!--she did like me (to what extent I'm not sure, but better to not assume). Not just with her, but with others, although with her...one wonders if it was something more. I can honestly say that while I pushed aside any thoughts of romance--I had to, since she was in a relationship--the things she and another co-worker told me about what they thought of me started to shatter that fortress I had built up around myself for years. The fact that she always put me at ease whenever I thought I had done something wrong helped a lot (and to be fair, she was pretty up-front with her feelings if she felt that someone ticked her off--and that never happened to me).
If anything, something else was renewed--confidence, for that matter, and me actually showing off my cooking skills to my co-workers (yes, I do cook!). What was happening was that I was being myself, and somehow that made me stand out--at least, that's how another friend explained it.
As a result, I entered 2019 with the desire to get more comfortable in my own skin. That means accepting who I am, flaws and all. I'm a work in progress, as we all are. But I also had to change a lot of beliefs I had foolishly accepted about people in general. This is not going to be an easy thing to do--it's work, it's something that I have to do every day, and I realize I may fall off the wagon at times. I also have to remember to expect nothing--better to do that than to expect something only to face defeat and sadness. I'm a lot more patient about things not going the way I had hoped--if something didn't work out, well, okay, life's full of those moments but it's nothing to lose your head over. I also have come to realize that despite all the good points people say that I have, I'm not going to make everyone's list--but that's fine, and I accept that. What they say about how changing your thoughts changes your world is true--and it also helps to be introspective and consider the consequences of your actions, but be careful, since you can get stuck there sometimes. But I do know that the 2019 version of me is not going to be the 2018 version (or any previous year, for that matter).
As for my friend from work...well, we still keep in touch through messaging although we have not seen each other over the past couple of months. I still think about her and yes, I do miss seeing her (and she's told me the same thing). I do hope that when we do get to hang out we can have a good and honest talk about how things are between us and...what exactly are we to each other?
I'm not expecting anything, but I am curious to find out the answers, whatever they may be. Whatever happens, though, I'm just grateful that she came into my life; years ago one person pretty much wrecked my self-esteem and spirit, and now years later one person--actually, a handful of people--have helped to rebuild both. I have no idea what the rest of this year will bring, but I'm feeling that I can face it head-on.
Here's to being comfortable in my own skin.