Always wake me up at 1 am. Well, the actual conversations don’t...the anxiety about having them does.
I can be sleeping soundly and then I am just awake thinking about some conversation I am going to have to have related to my worth...as a person, employee, lover, friend, some capacity in which I feel like I am coming in defeated before I begin.
I know I have worth. I personally believe everyone does. And we all are worthy of being loved, cherish, valued, helped, honored, heard. Everyone, no exceptions.
But when it comes to my own worth, I struggle. I guess it stems from this underlying and pervasive idea that I have always had about myself - that I am NOT worthy. That has driven many a decision into a ditch. It has always resulted in me putting up with a great deal of shit behavior because I didn’t value myself enough to insist on something better.
I have gotten a lot of lessons in this regard in the last two years. A FUCKING LOT. And they have all been painful. Excruciating really. But fuck if the universe didn’t give me this same lesson on every single front: love, work, friends, children. I have had to walk from a job I loved, a girlfriend group that I also loved, my son (repeatedly) and a relationship that I really thought was something else...and it has all been very fucking painful.
Because when it comes to my worth, I always seem to lose. This is always a deal where if I hold out for what I am actually worth, I do not get the job, the friend, or the love. I can see that historically, I end up receiving what I have always thought was the short end of the stick, because those that I value, do not value me back and if I stand up for myself at all, they leave. So all along it has been selling myself out, for cheap.
Now I have had a life long struggle because I didn’t want them to leave. I didn’t want to lose this person, love, job, friendship even though I wasn’t valued in that relationship. I was willing to stay in something that was bad for me because I loved you, or I wanted you, or perhaps even needed you.
But two years ago, I got a direct hit in this area. It felt like the universe was conspiring against me and then let me have it good. I could no longer stay in my job or some friendships and hold a good opinion of myself. When I got honest, I realized that I had been lying to myself and others for years. I was unhappy in both situations because I felt like I always had to fight for my worth. The value that was given to me was really only not so subtle manipulations. Because that was all the people I was engaged with were really capable of...save maybe one. But she was in with the rest so it was a package deal, and if I called them out, then she was gone too.
So fucking painful.
To them, I was an ingrate. To them I wounded them on purpose. And that has always been my choice. To wound myself or others. And so I always choose me. I pick to hurt myself rather than anyone else. Until two years ago, then I came to a place in my life where I could no longer cut that particular deal with myself and look myself in the mirror. My good nature had become a huge liability and I needed to grow through some boundary setting which required my departure from a few long standing relations.
And I would love to say great progress was made...except I left those work and friendship relationship only to enter into a love relationship that was worse than what I just left. And I am ashamed to admit, that has taken me down lower than the others. I mean I was already down, and so I sank lower.
In fact, the entirety of that relationship was a struggle with my own worth from the beginning. And I gave it away, made it up for grabs, ensured a trap of my own making one more time.
And like all bad deals, I became someone I didn’t like in the process. My behavior kept getting weirder and weirder because I was unable to see that I was in this worth negotiation the entire time and the currency I was spending was myself.
When I ended the relationship for the last time, I was bankrupt. My own 16 year old daughter called me out. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING MOM?!” That is what she asked me. She pointed out with alarming clarity that I was in a relationship that was BAD for me. And once she pointed it out, I knew what had to be done. And I ended it.
So sad that my 16 year old daughter had to be smarter and wiser than me...but then again, she almost always is. Which I take little credit for, she was just born with this innate emotional intelligence. And I would do well to listen to her more often...
So as the second year comes to a close, I can see that my life has just blown apart on every single level. But I am still standing. In fact, I feel better about myself and my life than I have in a very long time.
But I am still plagued with fear about having to stand my ground on my worth. I need to have this conversation with someone in a work related capacity and I am scared. And apparently my amazing subconscious thinks that 1 am is the only time we can discuss this with ourselves.
So when my dream about some weird adventure my daughter and I were on was rudely interrupted this morning at 1 am sharp, I knew the whole sleep thing was over. Like really fucking over.
I deployed my best avoidance techniques: refused to actually get up, turned on Netflix (sometimes I can distract and evade my inner self with a good show on the flix), read. But like most times, when the fear and conversation center around my worth...I am fucked every single time. My inner self is like a dog with a bone and she won’t let go, or allow me to slumber my way through even the night because that is how important it is that I don’t fuck this up again and settle for something that is less than what I deserve or am worth.
Because over the last two years I have learned that my worth isn’t negotiable. I will pick me, even after picking you forever. I have developed a skill of being able to let loose my grip and dependence on you, and been willing to pay the price of freedom even if it requires a pound of my flesh. I really feel like I have paid dearly in all the things I have lost this past two years. And I really don’t want to lose another one, but I will, if that is what is required for me to hold a good opinion of myself. Because I have learned that my worth is just as important as other’s worth. And is no longer optional, or up for grabs, or bought for cheap and hollow words that speak of value as they devalue me every single time.
I see my part. FINALLY! I engage. I allow. I give myself away. Over and over and over. Again. Still.
But I have learned mad new skills in the whole worth department this past two years. I have survived the fire. Quite literally. And I am not the same person I used to be. I am capable of compromise instead of sacrifice. I do not feel like I should be the thing offered up on the altar anymore. No one should have to do that, and if that is the cost, then I need to reevaluate my participation in the whole endeavor.
Worthy conversations are hard. And terrifying. But I have lived through the experience of not valuing myself enough until nothing was all I had left. And I have had to rebuild from nothing. Literally and figuratively. And I will not do that again, not for a job, a friend or a lover. I am finally worth enough to myself to never cut that shit deal again.
But apparently all conversations that are about worth and worthiness, are going to still wake me up at 1 am because that fear that I will betray myself is still there. That fear that I will pick you over me, still lives in the dark recesses of my mind. And it takes a few early morning hours for me to convince her that I will not sell her out again. That I really do have her back this time and that so long as we stand firm on what we are worth, we will be ok. Even if we are unloved, unfriended, unemployed, or unmoored financially.
I would rather be broke, alone and unsexed forever than to have to offer up my self worth again to the lowest bidder.
And that is a new fucking behavior which is terrifying and amazingly exciting at the very same time.
There is a lot to be said for loving yourself enough to not accept the unacceptable anymore and to be able to finally say again, still about something so positive and life affirming. So I am grateful for my early morning wake up, in fact, I am grateful I woke up at all. About my worth, about my life, about being alive one more day to do this differently. Again. Still.