Wednesday 1 April 2015

Anyone But Me

Given the heaviness of things that I had to deal with at a young age and the conflicting messages I got from society and my parents, my greatest wish if I couldn't be loved and accepted for who I was, was to be someone else.

The number of times I wrote down or told a counsellor that I wanted to be Hilary Duff or Jessica Alba, someone that people loved, looked up to and respected, I've lost count.

The first time Jessica came to my attention was in Dark Angel which I absolutely loved. The character she played was her own hero. She took care of her own, fought and fended for herself and did so from the tender age of about 9.

Aside from my love of the show, I thought Jessica was really pretty and fit, as most females in Hollywood are meant to be. More importantly, the guy I was crushing on thought she was attractive, so I decided that if I wanted him to like me, I had to be as much like her as possible.

When that didn't seem to be working out for me, I turned a little more close to home.

I started watching Hilary Duff in Lizzie McGuire as many people came to know her well for. She wasn't some trashy celeb, but actually seemed like a wholesome rolemodel to look up to.

I saw a lot of myself as I'm sure most girls did, in the character of Lizzie. But more importantly, I just wanted to be Hilary herself. Her life seemed so glamorous and fun, scores of people lined up just to get a glimpse of her, she had it all and I wanted it.

It was all a method of escapism although I didn't know it at the time.

With the advent of social media it's become that much easier and quicker to become besotted with someone else's life, especially when you're unhappy within yourself and your own.

It doesn't matter how many times people say that everyone is just putting their best foot forward on these various accounts and that's what people are envying, you still want to be part of someone else's life, peer in the windows or get a foot in the door to observe.

I previously wrote a post about my somewhat guilty pleasure of Facebook stalking and how it lead me to cut down my time on Facebook altogether. I didn't trust myself not to keep doing it and eventually my life got more exciting than what I felt like sharing or getting caught up on when I logged on.

I admit that I have moments where I do slip. It's the overwhelming urge to see how the 'other side' is living even if I know what either there won't be anything to see or whatever I do find will make me feel worse about my own life hence why I take a look in the first place. It's cyclical and kinda nasty.

This time though I gave myself some slack. With everything that's going on with my family at the moment, even my therapist and a few of my friends have said that if I feel the need to occasionally divert back to old ways to help me cope with the bigger things that are harder to cope with, that's completely justifiable.

When I was briefly checking out various people's profiles which I guess wouldn't exactly be considered stalking although I felt in my core that it was, only a small part of me was hoping to see something mildly miserable that was fixable so I would know that I'm not the only one going through a tough time, but mostly it was just to not think about my life and things I didn't want to deal with, if only for a brief moment in time.

It's kind of cruel to think that you feel better when you know someone else is going through a tougher time than you are, but I suppose it makes you grateful that your problems aren't that bad, not that it helps any.

There's a quote that I found back in high school or sometime afterwards that says something along the lines of "If everyone in the world put their problems in a pile, you'd want to take yours back". I think Russell Peters also made a joke which was similar saying that in India you go alone the slums and see one person with a problem and they seem to be managing well and say that they don't have it as bad as the next person, and the line keeps going until you get to the person in the worst possible condition and they're still positive because they make the best of their situation and say that it could always get worse.

I can only recall one time in my life so far when I've ever been thrilled beyond belief to be who I was. Just before I turned 25 things were going well for me, I had a great support network around me, I was enjoying uni and my other hobbies, work was working, there was nothing for me to be unhappy about. I think the biggest thing was being tagged in various posts by people I knew on Facebook, it was confirmation that I was important, that I mattered. Nothing could bring me down because I was more okay than I had been in a very long time.

That level of confidence didn't last too long though. When it came time to plan my birthday celebrations which I hadn't had too much time to consider before then, suddenly everything was up in the air. I wanted my friends to be able to come but since my birthday is on Halloween and it's increasing popularity in Australia or at least Sydney, I had to accommodate other people's plans to fit in with what I wanted to do and that got harder and harder.

I ended up having a nice group of friends together which was all that mattered. The people that were most important to me came to spend time with me. We sat around the lounge room and chatted about anything and everything between food and drinks. It was simple and nice.

It's taken a really long time for me to even get to that point. The point where I've stopped concerning myself so much with whether people like me for me, because for most of my life they didn't, but now I know that they do or they wouldn't be in my life. There's no two-facedness about it.

I remember watching That's So Random! late last year and Selena Gomez was performing 'Who Says' with lyrics like 'wouldn't want to be anybody else'. My inner cynic thought, well sure you have a successfully career, you're pretty, popular and dated Justin Beiber, there are countless numbers of people who'd kill to be you.

I think the funny thing is while you're wishing to be someone else because you don't know what's really going on for them, people love you for who you are and others wish they could live your life. It's a crazy thought but it's not entirely untrue.

Sometimes a small part of me wishes I could be someone else, but not for very long. It's usually when I'm having a down moment and struggling to get back up again. I've been fortunate enough to have met and still have people in my life that make me incredibly glad to be no-one else but me. :-)

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