4 months

I am just days away from hitting 4 months of blogging. This is crazy for a bunch of reasons. I had tried to blog in the past but I was scared to put myself out there, so I would create blogs, write a couple posts and then abandon them because it was too much. I felt this time would be different because I wanted to teach myself how to step outside of my protected place and put myself out there for real. I wanted to say the things that were in my head without fear. I was so afraid of hurting people I cared about that I kept so much inside.

I don’t really do that at all on here. Sometimes I write about things I would rather forget. Sometimes I tell myself I will just write and then save it as a draft. But I have noticed that I ALWAYS publish it because by the time I am done, I am ok with it being out there. Right now my only readers are people who were strangers to me 4 months ago. I haven’t shared so much of who I actually am with the people in my day to day life offline. I know so many of them would be supportive of me no matter what. And others would be kind at the very least. And some might remove themselves from my life. And that’s ok too.

I like who I am becoming in these four months. I feel myself asserting myself more and not just accepting what I am being told. I feel my confidence growing and I feel myself getting more in touch with the person I was always supposed to be. That is probably my most favorite part. I get to find myself in a way that I couldn’t before, when I was just trying to survive each day.

How does it happen that we get so far away from who we want to be when we are young? I had better plans for my future when I was 7 and 10 years old than I ever did as an adult. Does reality set in and we see how much work it would be to get to our goals? Do we get slapped down so much that we stop trying? I’m not sure what happened for me, but my best guess is that it was both things, and more.

I remember a frustration building in college that people couldn’t see the real me. I saw a lot of people getting opportunities that didn’t make sense to me. I’d been in classes with those people and they were nothing special. They didn’t deserve those opportunities over me. Why couldn’t anyone see the real me and what I was capable of? What did they see? I guess I don’t really know. I know what I thought of myself and it wasn’t all that great. Is that what I was projecting? Someone who didn’t care about classes. Someone with no leadership abilities. Someone with zero confidence in who they were and what they could actually do. And if that is what I felt and maybe was projecting, is that what other people saw too? It’s hard now because it’s been so long. People probably don’t remember much about what they thought back then.

I spent years beating myself up for being an asshole in college. I handled a breakup poorly, very poorly. I handled the entire relationship poorly, actually. I wasn’t trustworthy and I didn’t trust her either. I could’ve trusted her, but I could not trust anyone at that time. As I work through therapy and rethink all of this, all I see is a person with so much trauma by the time they were 18 that they didn’t trust a soul. I see someone who felt rejected and hurt, didn’t see how their family loved them, and couldn’t cope with the trauma they refused to remember. I see a person who had known themselves as a little kid, but was taught that was unacceptable and so this person tried to fit in as best they could.

I see a person who refused to let anyone in so they could prevent further pain. I see a person who wanted to project an image of strength and power, and by projecting instead of just being, this person gave no one an opportunity to actually get to know them for who they really were. This person spent too much time worried about what other people would think and put on a production to get by. And managed to piss off tons of people.

So who was I really in college? A timid kid with undiagnosed ADHD who couldn’t manage their own day to day life because everything had been so structured by their parents. A scared kid who suddenly wasn’t so smart and refused to ask for help in subjects that had suddenly become hard. An anxiety ridden older teenager who felt thrown in the deep end with no life preserver, no swim classes, and no life guard available to save them. And so this older teenager kicked and flailed until they found safety at the side of the pool. And even though they made it, they had no idea how or why they made it and there were no lessons learned on how to make it. And so all of that flailing continued in every pool this kid tried to swim in.

Who I am now? Well, I am still working on that. But I do know that I trust myself now. Maybe not completely, but I know that I can make it, I can do it, and I will fail sometimes. And failing is ok. It’s how you learn. I am working to become the untraumatized version of 7 year old fearless me. The version that believed dreams do come true and there are pots of gold at the ends of rainbows.

But most importantly, I am becoming Zander and that is exactly who I have always wanted to be. It’s more than a new name for me, it’s going back to the past while looking forward, and being genuine to what I feel inside me and screw everyone else’s opinions of what I should be.

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