Written by my delightful Dylan. Thanks for being so honest and sharing what you’re going through.
Recently I got out of a toxic relationship. It’s complicated to say what we actually were, so we’ll just call them The Ex.
They played with me and manipulated me until I was someone who I didn’t recognize looking in the mirror. After I got rid of them, trying to look at myself again was difficult. The amount of self hate I suffer with is difficult. It effects everything, how I wake up in the morning, how I get dressed, how I do my makeup. I can’t even sit comfortably anymore, trying to keep my shoulders drawn in and my thighs touching so I take up less room. I couldn’t listen to the same music they did either. Everything in my life was them.
So I changed my life. I changed my music and changed the video games I played. I even changed the clothes I wore.
Slowly and surely my life became something they couldn’t touch. It didn’t belong to them anymore. The problem was, I didn’t know if it was my life either. I felt out of touch, like I was stealing identities from other people and making up things for my personality.
Luckily, I had a really good support team to back me up and prove to me that I wasn’t stealing identities, I was making a new one.
It turned out to be the best decision I ever made, making a new personality. I dyed my hair, wore what I wanted, listened to what I wanted and became who I wanted to be. It’s not a finished process and there are still times when it’s hard and I feel like making myself small and unnoticeable. Together with the people I love and my new personality, I’m becoming me again.
The future looks bright and I can’t wait for the day I don’t have to put on the act, it’ll just be how I wake up.
Look, guys, I think we’ve all been there. Hopefully we haven’t all been in toxic relationships, but I’m sure we’ve all felt what it’s like to lose pieces of yourself, trapped between identities, never knowing whether you’re just a creation of your own pain, or if you’re somehow real. It’s a difficult conflict, finding out who you are, especially in the face of so much abuse. When the people around your start to dictate who you are, deciding your identity for themselves, how are you supposed to rebuild? How are supposed to figure out what’s you and what’s not? How do you recreate yourself after that?
I don’t know. I feel like I’ve been in this conflict for years. It’s always been me against what everyone else said I was, and sometimes I would worry that I was rebelling so much against everyone’s expectations, that I missed myself entirely. Then you get into outside influences and sociological pressures, peer pressure, family issues, toxic relationships – the list goes on. It’s a messy business.
It’s a process. It’s waking up every morning and choosing to be you, to acknowledge what actions you’re taking under pressure, and what you’re doing genuinely for yourself. It’s spending nights crying and finding yourself only to lose all your progress by the next day. It’s depression and anxiety and confusion and a few good days mixed with the bad.
But I can tell you, it gets better. I promise. It has for me. It’s a lot easier to just live life going through the motions, never thinking, never working hard to discover who you are and what you want. But loves, you’ll get there. You will. And it’ll be amazing. And one day you’ll wake up feeling happy and excited to start the day, and you’ll know exactly who you are and what you want, and you’ll look back on all those times you were lost and miserable, and know that it was all worth it.
It’s the artist’s journey, man. It’s what we do. And we, of course, always find a way through.