This morning I awoke to a notification on my phone that a popular poet had liked one of my posts on Instagram, and it immediately made me smile.
I smiled because I felt special.
I felt special because it made me think of the time I posted her words on my page with a note about how much they meant to me, and she thanked me.
It made me think of the time I met another poet that I look up to, and how kind and encouraging she was to me.
We all want to feel special.
I just think that it’s just too bad that it’s the attention of popular strangers, like these two women, that make us feel the more special than the daily attention of those who love us.
Like many others, I struggle with my self-esteem.
Some days are fine.
Some days, I need absolutely no encouragement or reinforcement to remember how truly awesome I am.
But other days, I struggle.
Some days, my anxiety and depression take over, and I feel like a tiny, worthless speck.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with this issue more than I sometimes do, and it’s because I’ve been struggling with rejection.
And it’s this rejection that leaves me so eager to receive the attention of these people who do not know me.
This past year has been really difficult for me.
And the issues that I have been working through have changed my perspective on a lot of things.
These changes haven’t gone unnoticed by those who are close to me.
And while majority of my people have been overwhelmingly supportive of this journey and my transformation, I have been left feeling disappointed by others.
I have faced judgement, ridicule, and isolation as I have struggled to exist, grow, and challenge myself.
With an explanation of “you’ve changed.”
And I think, “Of course I have. I’m always changing.”
Truthfully, I think that we’re doing this whole “life” thing wrong if we’re not forever growing and changing.
So I feel frustrated by this form of rejection, and it has been extremely difficult for me to accept.
It doesn’t matter what way you slice it, it hurts to be rejected.
It hurts to be made to feel as though you no longer have a place where you used to fit.
The people who have been my supports have explained to me that this is just one of those inevitable and painful things about growing up.
Because that’s what we’re all doing.
We’re all growing into our own people with our own views, opinions, and lifestyles.
We’re all growing and changing, but in different ways and at different rates.
So, I remind myself that maybe they feel rejected too.
Maybe they see the ways that I’ve changed and think that they don’t quite fit into my life the same way anymore.
Maybe this really is just one of those inevitable growing pains as we learn and grow apart.
All of the advice that I have been given and have found has directed me to move away from the rejection.
Encouraging me to be grateful for and to focus on those who embrace and support my growth.
And encouraging me to find others who are like me – my kindred spirits.
It’s been a learning process for me to move away from people who have been such a significant part of my life in the past.
I’ve had to learn to lean on and look for support from others in my life.
I don’t think that anyone truly understands the weight and significance of their existence in my life this past year.
Good or bad, it has all been magnified by my experiences.
I’m learning to appreciate simple acceptances and trying to walk away from rejections.
I’m learning to watch more and to listen for the true intent in the words that are spoken to me.
And I’m learning to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Or at least, I’m trying to.
This search for kindred spirits has been a significant and recurring theme over this past year.
Whether I’m struggling or feeling good, it somehow comes to the forefront of my mind.
Through this search, I have challenged myself to try new things and explore new places, I have had some incredible interactions, and I have had some miserable #fails, but I have managed to identify an underlying lesson or silver lining with each experience. And I always, always laugh.
I plan to share some of these stories with you, and my hope is to offer some encouragement to anyone else who might be struggling with their own self-esteem or experiences of rejection. And I encourage you to please feel free to laugh with me.