Monday, February 15, 2010

Internal Identity Struggle

When James died, I lost a huge part of who I was. For half of my adult life, I had been half of James and Heather. I no longer knew who I was as just Heather; I didn't know how to be just Heather.

Two years later and I still don't. I don't know how to be carefree and single-I didn't really know how to do that the first time around either. In some ways, I see myself slipping back into the person I was before I met James and that doesn't make me happy.

I am falling back into being an overly insecure woman, although I don't doubt my every move this time-just a fair percentage of them. I now know I am a good partner, but I highly doubt I am ever going to get the chance to be one again. Who is going to want an average looking 36-year-old widow with abandonment issues? I feel myself slipping back into the all too familiar role of being everyone's friend: the girl that's only good enough to hang out with until the woman they marry comes along. It's a role I had for far too long and one that always plays out with me being told how wonderful I am as I am being shown the door.

I am the responsible, dependable, loyal one. I know these are all great traits to have, but lately they have been bringing me down. I don't want to be the responsible, dependable, loyal one anymore. For once in my life, I want to know what it feels like to be one of the cool kids. I want to be part of the "in" crowd-not just stand on the sidelines and watch them. I want people to think I'm fun. I don't want to be called on just to plan the party-I want to be invited to it. While the meetup group I have joined is great and I am enjoying it, I am starting to see the cool kids emerge and I am not one of them.

This has been festering for awhile and is now affecting my work. I have always had a strong work ethic and lately I can't bring myself to care. I have been slacking off a lot lately and last week it all came to a head. Even still, I don't know how to snap out of it.

I had things that I knew needed to be done but I didn't prioritize the way I should have and I wasted too much time on projects with low priority and just goofing off. Around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, my boss told me I had to have something done first thing Thursday morning. I told him I had to leave at 4:00 (my usual quitting time). He said he didn't care as long as I got everything done by the time he got in the next morning (failing to mention he had a dentist appointment and would be late).

I knew I couldn't get it done and still leave on time. I e-mailed Volunteer Guy to let him know there was a 50/50 chance I would be there for my volunteer shift. He replied it was no big deal-he had it covered. I felt bad for leaving them in the lurch, but around 3:30 the volunteer coordinator e-mailed me to let me know she had tried to send me an e-mail Tuesday to let me know one of their corporate sponsors was sending in volunteers and because another lady and I had gone above and beyond with helping at their fundraiser the prior week, they decided to give us the week off and have the corporate sponsor volunteers fill our shifts. I never got the message.

I don't want to be the responsible, dependable, loyal (boring) one anymore, but as soon as I did something irresponsible and felt I left my favorite organization in the lurch and let my boss down, I was devastated. That's not me: at my core, I truly am the person I am really starting to hate. I sat there and worked through my tears until 6:00. In the process, I realized my favorite organization doesn't really need me at all. They survived just fine for several years without me. They would survive just fine if I never stepped foot in there again.

I think that is the hardest thing about this for me: nobody needs me anymore and I don't know how to not be needed. That's why I can't snap out of this: what's the point?

I feel so lost right now. I don't want to be me anymore; but being me is really all I know. And I need for somebody to need me to right my universe. What happens if no one ever needs me again?

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