Dating Fears: Did I Work Hard Enough?

Standing on the edge of my fears

These past few nights, I have been haunted in dreams by people from my past. Specifically from the parents who are no longer a part of my life. The reasons for us no longer being family is complicated, but there is an underlying commonality, neither should have ever been parents. That could just be my sleep deprived oversimplification talking, because yes these dreams are keeping me from sleeping through the night, and I think I have figured out why they keep happening. I am afraid of telling new people about my past.

While I can proudly champion the fact that I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am at. To say that I love myself, inside and out…finally. And that taking the summer to really be by myself has been worth it, I cannot escape the realities of the people who used to be in my life, and the hurdles they brought into my life. Sure, I overcame some true obstacles, but I don’t want to be seen as broken. I don’t want to portray this victim vibe, or be called a survivor. I want to be recognized for my own merit. I worked damn hard, and I am proud.

But there is a lingering fear of having to explain to a new person about why I closed the door on so many family members. I don’t want to be viewed as someone who won’t make a good parent due to my upbringing or current isolation. I don’t want the questions of someone with a loving close family to cast me out because I don’t have the same. I fear, that all my hard work, building myself up into the person that I am won’t be enough.

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I am not broken. I don’t feel broken, I hope I don’t act broken, and quite frankly, if I do from time to time I feel that’s just an expression of emotion and is valid. Yeah, that sentence confuses me at times too, but coming to terms with feeling vulnerable at times is part of my growth, and not my whole identity. And while I can write that… I don’t want to have to constantly explain myself and situation to others. I want to be loved for who I am now, and cherished for all my hard work, and dreams. I don’t want new people to judge me for a past that was out of my control. No one chooses their parents. I did the very best with what I was born into, and it helped shape me into the loving, compassionate, and at times even funny self.

My dreams though, are reminding me that there is a deep rooted fear that all my hard work is not enough, may never be enough, and I could be doomed to relationship failure. In the daylight, I don’t feel that way, it is only when everything is quiet, and my brain is left to sort its own version of events.

I am in no way looking for a cheering squad in writing this either. And for what it’s worth, I feel sick to my stomach typing this post. I don’t know what outcome I am expecting. I feel raw, vulnerable, and it is very off-putting to someone who likes the control of my emotions that I normally do have. What I recognize I have no control over is someone else, or their reactions to me, my story, and my past. And that evokes fear. Fear of dating, and putting myself out there. And that look in their eyes, that maybe all this hard work will never be enough for love and a family.

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