I couldn't even believe my own mother loved me unconditionally, though she proved it over and beyond what any ordinary mother would have. If I couldn't find a way to love myself, or if I sincerely debated whether or not I deserved my own life, then how could I truly accept love, kindness, or tenderness from anyone else? I felt it around me, but like oil and water sometimes it couldn't quite reach me.
Slowly I arrived at the certainty that I was, at the very least, a decent person, and that I could bring probably as much good to the world as I appeared to be causing problems, and that maybe I wasn't a burden. No one disliked someone who was helpful, so that became my defining characteristic.
Yet since every activity or relationship was tainted with my self-truth that I didn’t actually belong wherever I appeared to be accepted, that at any moment my essential worthlessness would be revealed and everything would be stripped away, I was unhappy at a visceral level. (At my heart, however, I find joy in many things and am easily grateful to be alive; it was that connection with myself, however tenous, and my deep connection with my mother and with Grace, that ultimately got me through.)
Between my experiences with the stories of the It Gets Better Tour, the concepts in New Beliefs, New Brain, and the myriad of moments and inspiration that has led me to right now, I discovered that the little girl inside me has believed the wrong story.
There is no need to “be somebody” because we each are, the moment we take our first breath. There is no need to be “worth accepting” because we have something that is ours, and something that we have to give, and even if it takes two decades to figure out what those things are (as it did for me), they are unique to each person and the acceptance for them will be found in its own time.
The anxiety to be part of the pack will likely continue to hold its death grip over us so long as our bodies and minds (and perhaps culture?) are programmed to the certainty that to be outcast is to be worthless, dead, but that story is not as true as it was once. We can foster our own tribe, our own pack, amongst people, our guardian angels, and our own creations.