I'm Still Who I've Always Been - My Name is Lexie and I am Becoming Myself
I don’t even know where to begin.
People may joke about having a quarter-life crisis but apparently they are very, very real - the past five years of my life have been a strong testament to that fact. Now I am twenty-five and in the same position - socially, financially, emotionally/mentally - as I was in my late teens/early twenties. Have you ever taken stock of your life and realized that you’ve actually taken as many steps backwards as you have forward? Yeah, that’s where I’m at. A lot of stuff has happened but at the same time, nothing has changed.
I was set up for success from an early age and I mean that in the least pretentious manner possible. I just recognize how fortunate I was at the time. I had loving, supportive parents that sent me to a strict private school. I thrived in the environment (academically only mind you, the social environment was toxic but that’s a completely different story) and maintained a spotless report card. Looking back, I don’t know if I was born to be a student or groomed to fit the mold from the beginning. But earning a letter grade, doing homework, and taking tests was my life - it was all I knew and all that I was good at. So I felt that continuing my education was a no brainer. The only decisions to make were which college and what degree?
Well, I chose a school I didn’t want to go to (tight finances) and an area of study that I had little experience with but seemed fascinating nonetheless (theatre). That’s when things started to go downhill.
I moved from my home town, out of my childhood bedroom, and right out of my little bubble. I started becoming a sentient being. But wait a minute, we’re all sentient right? I mean, we’re human. Well, yeah, we’re aware of our own existence… but many of us aren’t aware we are so aware of our existence. I started feeling every second tick by and thinking about how I was thinking. I questioned what I was doing and if it’s what I really wanted, and how I knew what I wanted, and if what I wanted really mattered in the grand scheme of things, and what was the grand scheme of things really? It spitballed from there. But without diving too deep into the darker workings of my mind, let’s just say I was questioning my existence. Then the depression and anxiety made me question the worth of my existence… in very tangible ways if you catch my morbid drift. It felt like I had woken up and was finally seeing life clearly. I stopped going to classes, doing homework, going to rehearsals, and talking to my friends. I began to have those dangerous thoughts that made me question why. Why does this assignment matter? Why do I even need to answer these questions? We’re all just little ants running around until we run out of steam and die, right? It was an intoxicating mindset at first… simple and freeing.
I dropped out. The semester ended with failing grades, disappointed teachers, and cold-shoulder friends. My grandmother had just passed from cancer so I was able to convince most of my teachers that this “rough period in my life” was due to that. But there was a lot more going on in my head than I knew how to explain.
Then things started getting wild. Dropping out of college and moving back in with my parents seemed bad enough… I mean, all my “friends” we’re still moving forward and I had taken a step back. But I didn’t think too hard about it. Instead, I went to my favorite coffee shop to escape the inner workings of my mind and ended up falling in love.
He was older than me, almost thirty, while I was barely growing into a young woman. He was cute, had dark eyes, and after our first date, I found out he also suffered from the same mental illnesses that I did. We clicked.
Long story short, it was toxic. Every day was worse than the last, was poison to my self-esteem, as he teased me, berated me, and beat me down. I was stuck, unable to leave him, even though he made it clear he didn’t want me. I stopped talking for a while, unable to say a word to him without a backhanded insult. He grew angrier and angrier, drank more, stuck more needles in his veins, snorted a bunch more stuff… He yelled at me for folding a blanket “incorrectly.” He made me feel terrible for dropping a hand towel. Near the end, he even had me apologizing to him… for the fact that he forgot he took my virginity. Yeah, I had to apologize to him because he forgot. Not really sure what I was thinking at the time. I don’t think I was. But thankfully, I got out. And I think he got prison time. Cross fingers anyways.
I started working two jobs, diving headfirst into the only goal I had - pay off student loan debt. It was a clear driving force for a while. But one morning I woke up and didn’t go. I just didn’t drive to work. I was done and that was that.
I applied for disability. I couldn’t hold down a job and even an interview sent me into a full-blown panic attack. Months of paperwork, doctors appointments, psychological exams, psychiatry appointments, recounting every single antidepressant medication I had ever tried… all down the drain because of course I was denied. I mean, no one can “prove” they have a mental illness beyond a reasonable doubt. So legally I didn’t have a mental illness. I began to question whether I really was making it all up - if I was just a pessimistic person with a penchant for acting melancholy. I told myself I didn’t have a reason to be sad so I couldn’t be anymore. But we all know how well that logic works.
I thought I hit rock bottom. So I reached out online and found someone new to connect with. Someone who was actually kind to me, who didn’t call me names, who lit up when I walked into the room, who followed me around a party just to stay close, who said he got butterflies from holding my hand… I can go on. It was nice. It was what I needed to survive. Someone… just fucking caring. Of course, I was nervous at first. My previous lover had stripped me of all confidence and trust so my new boyfriend worked for months towards gaining it. Two years later and I can say he had my unequivocal trust. I trusted him with my life. I finally believed him when he told me he loved me, that he would always be there for me, that he cared about me more than I could ever care about him, that he would one day ask my father for his permission. This was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. He wasn’t perfect, but we tried.
You all know how the story goes from there. I got a message on Facebook from a stranger, a woman, who asked if I was dating this man. She told me he had been talking to her all day on a dating site, asking her to come over and help him “stay awake” for his late night work shift.
My world ended. I lost my boyfriend and best friend. The man I knew so well no longer looked the same.
We tried to fix things. He said he wanted me back before I went to visit my brother in Minneapolis but then changed his mind while I was there. We spent more time apart, finally met, reconnected, decided we were going to give our relationship 100%, then hesitated and questioned our future. The final straw was when he told me he still loved me and cared about me, but he also had someone he was seeing in order to “move on.” In practically the same breath, he told me that he wanted me to be his “one” but he found someone “amazing” that he “really, really liked.” We hadn’t even definitively decided to end things (again) when he told me he liked her. He cried to me, apologizing, saying that he really cared about me… but still fell in love with someone else in less than a week? Can you tell how bitter I am still?
Now I am actually at rock bottom. I’m hurt and confused and extremely scared. So things can only go up from here. Literally. I don’t think I can get any lower than where I am now.
But the most exciting prospect is living my life without my rules. The rules of how the world works, the ones you convince yourself are worldly truths. As it says in Don Miguel Ruiz’ The Four Agreements,
"You can only be you when you do your best. When you don’t do your best you are denying yourself the right to be you. That’s a seed that you should really nurture in your mind. You don’t need knowledge or great philosophical concepts. You don’t need the acceptance of others. You express your own divinity by being alive and by loving yourself and others.”
I no longer know anything about who I am or how this world works. So I’m just going to live my life. Without an agenda, without a “right” or a “wrong” way to do so… I’m just gonna live. I’ve always felt the need for a purpose in my life; to understand why I was alive or to at least create a reason for my life. But what if my only purpose is to be alive? To seriously just live life? And that’s it - no demands or expectations or requirements about how to live a life. To just exist and accept that as enough.
I want a clean slate - to ignore my past and start fresh. To clear the history books of my existence until this point and only show the upward momentum I’m sure to gain from here on. But that’s not healthy and not possible unfortunately. So regardless of whether I start a new Steemit account with a new name and new purpose, whether I move to a new city and make new friends, whether I toss all my old possessions and start over, I’m still me. The good and the bad.
So today is not a fresh start and this account is not a chance at a “new me.” I’m who I’ve always been - a woman still discovering who she is and who she will become.
So come with me on this personal journey! My name is Lexie and I’m becoming myself!