I have struggled with social anxiety since before I dropped out of middle school. And of course it’s gotten worse over the years. Your self-confidence is liable to suffer a good bit after having withdrawn from society at such a young age. Skipping high school altogether. Struggling in college, being abandoned by your parents, dropping out, working minimum wage jobs and being manipulated by your husband your whole adult life… I’m not making excuses, I’m taking inventory in preparation for an overhaul.
I dropped a lot of balls in the first part of my life. I lacked the support, the discipline, the courage, the confidence, and the self-worth to Make Shit Happen. Tuition might have helped, too…. But fear has been the biggest drag. All kinds of fear and fragility, just running the show for years. I hate it. But it’s become part of the way I see myself, a very prohibitive facet of my identity.
I tried going to counseling last year. It kind of made things worse… It made me realize that I knew what I needed to do, I knew exactly what was wrong, but the action just wasn’t there. I wasn’t crazy. I didn’t need medication or cognitive behavioral therapy. I needed a few things to go right for me. I needed to change my circumstances. I just wasn’t ready.
I’m a stay-at-home mom and the problems in my marriage came to a head about a month ago. I think back on how much I have forfeited in the name of our union, I think about where I want to be in the future… About everything I’m not happy with in my life. Call it a midlife crisis, I guess. I am 29 this year. I have 2 little boys. And so much frustration. I have neglected my own needs and wants for so long. I really just cannot continue living this life. So much of my fear has been replaced with anger, which motivates the fuck out of me.
I’m getting registered to go back to school in the fall. I’m going for a certificate so I can get a job in an office… get paid to make lists, answer phones, do some payroll accounting, write some business emails and copy stuff. I want to have some damn job skills other than food service and cashiering. Some college credits that add up to something and aren’t a decade old. Prospects and options.
I hope to meet some friends that aren’t his. Maybe even get invited to something. maybe go without him. Get my own routine. I have to make a real effort to find my groove, find myself outside of our relationship. We’ve been together for almost 13 years already and I’m done being a foot stool.
I was very smart when I was 13. I had just about maxed out my ACT scores for reading and English…. but even then I sucked at math, and one of my new goals is to take an accounting class and get at least a B.
Everything is different now. I am different now.