*I apologize for this being lengthy*
How does one deal with feeling less than perfect and cannot accept love, platonic or romantic? I am a thicker black gay man living in the South in his mid-twenties. Currently, I’m transitioning into a period of my life where I do not know what my future living, career, or life situation will be. This freedom of discovery is great, but has revealed my longtime self-doubt.
Let me explain: ever since I was 13, I have been living with mental illnesses, mainly depression and anxiety. Over the years, I have went through bullying and harassment, leading to very traumatic experiences which still haunt me today. Instead of feeling supported, life has taught me that it moves on, no accommodations can be made for you to process it and you just have to get over it. I’ve tried to commit suicide before, feeling hopeless. While I’m blessed I’m still here, it’s a feeling that doesn’t go away.
I have been told that I have a kind spirit, great personality, and that I am somewhat decent looking. Beauty is what I can see in others, but I can’t accept it myself. My stomach pokes out, my skin full of cuts and bruises, I feel and look ugly, just overall full of imperfections. I overthink everything in life, and especially how I just feel so out of place. I know that my awkwardness is very unappealing to others and I’m self-aware of this, despite everyone around me telling me that I am okay. Dealing with these things, I just know I am not “normal.” We’ve all heard that typical “What is normal?” speech and we should embrace our differences, but while living with a mental condition, you can’t take that to heart as you are always over-analyzing what makes you different. It’s a constant negative voice in your head that you can’t turn off and it drives you crazy.
You hear of your friends and their fun times, watch them work the room flawlessly. Just being in a big crowd of folks puts my anxiety on 100. Everyone has great sex stories, can pull anyone they want and yet I sit here with a good personality, but a good personality doesn’t get you Jack’d messages. I feel incapable of letting another person love me because I know all my flaws and I don’t want to put that on anyone else; they don’t deserve that stress. I wish everyone the best and I support them because I know rejection like a best friend and I don’t want them to experience that unhappiness. However, my mind won’t accept theirs because as much as I want & need it, I feel like I’m just being a burden to them.
Now my depression has been at an all-time low in the past few years and I’ve gotten back to physically abusing myself. This has really been starting to affect my friendships and potentials from getting to know me. I’m honest in that I’m a mess, and I feel that transparency that turns people away and further paint me as a weak individual. I severely suffer from a lack of confidence and my perfectionist attitude is imploding a path of destruction. I’ m over-drafting my support and love for others with nothing depositing for me. I just want to feel normal, be like everyone else. Is this even possible or just a pipe dream?
-A Wannabe Normal
Dear A Wannabe Normal,
Thanks for writing to me. Due to the seriousness of the topic you’ve presented, I’m actually going to limit the advice I give. In your particular situation, I think you really would be better off speaking to a licensed therapist or counselor. When an individual is intentionally physically harming themselves, I think it’s best he seek help from the big dogs. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is nothing wrong with getting the help you know you need.
Now with that said, I will just leave you with this. The insecurities and self-doubt you’re experiencing are common to a majority of the human population. I know in this day and age of social media and filters that everyone seems like they are popping but you. However, in many cases people are just painting an illusion that they want the world to see. Some folks may have a body chiseled like the Mini Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, but have the personality of wallpaper. Others may be Mr. Congeniality, yet have the shape of a Tetris block. All people have flaws, whether you easily see them or not.
Here’s the thing, no one is perfect. Perfection is a goal no human can possibly achieve. When people stop chasing perfection and start celebrating the beauty in having flaws, and realize their destiny doesn’t hinge on likes, DMs, and comments, that’s when they can start enjoying life. I know that sounds easier said than done, but I encourage you take your flaws and carry them with you as you pursue the calling on your life.
Suggestions going forward.
- Again, schedule an appointment with a licensed professional to talk about all that’s going on with you right now. It sounds like you could truly benefit from doing so. For immediate assistance, you can also contact organizations like The Trevor Project or the It Gets Better Project.
- Everyone on the planet has insecurities. You aren’t alone. Remember that.
- I too have had my bouts with depression and low moments. Thankfully, I had my faith and best friends to pull me through them. I’m sure your friends would love to be there for you if they knew the severity of your current struggle.
As always nothing but love,