PERSONAL BLOG: Lockdown and low self-esteem (a lewk)

I am trying my hardest to wade through the woes of the pandemic. I can only do my best with the circumstances I’m limited to, and I think for the most part, I must be doing well. I’m still here, aren’t I? I’m still functioning in basic human terms, and for that I’m grateful.

I wake up on a morning. I get dressed, even if it’s only into baggy shirts and slacks, as opposed to all the pretty office-wear hanging dormant in my wardrobe. I put make-up on, for no other reason than it has become a staple of my self-care routine. I wear it like armour or a mask to disguise whatever I’m feeling within from the outside world. If you look strong, you can feel strong. I think of it as a form of method-acting and for the most part, it does the trick.

But then, some days are really hard. I’m challenged. I let myself down, somehow. Something minor, something major: the outcome is equally as catastrophic. The fundamental question is always there: am I good enough? And if so, why doesn’t it feel like that? Why does it feel like I’m totally unequipped to deal with life? Why do I find myself wobbling so frequently, back-tracking on plans before I’ve had the chance to fully realise them? Why do I self-sabotage? Why do I always feel as though an achievement isn’t enough, that the bar is immediately set higher and a new goal immediately has to take it’s place? Why do I feel like an imposter when I describe myself, as if I don’t belong?

Today has been one of those days, and we’re only on 14:38. My fierce make-up wasn’t strong enough to withstand the anxiety-fuelled cry I had, so now I’m donning the Phoenix-era joker look. This aesthetic was not what I had in mind when I got out of bed this morning, but beggars can’t be choosers.

I’ve surrendered. I’ve had my cry. I’ve smoked two consecutive cigarettes, sobbing in between puffs. I’ve told my friends and my wonderful partner, vented it out so that the negativity doesn’t brew within me all day, seeking a toxic way to escape. I feel the relief of having taken control and owned the situation, but that doesn’t change anything. The reality is that I feel shit. This is simply the way I feel. It came on strong, from nowhere, and it will inevitably dissipate the same way. I can choose to mope in it all day, all weekend, perhaps even longer, or I can accept that this is just a feeling. That it is not a sentence, if I choose not to see it as such.

It is 14:38 and I have already cut myself down to smithereens. I have punished myself with the thinking and the gruelling internal monologue of all the reasons I amount to nothing. But, it is only 14:38. I have the rest of the day, the rest of the weekend, the rest of however long after that to focus on rebuilding myself.

So that is what I’ll do. I’ll pick up the deflated balloon-sack that is my body off the floor and start working on gradually blowing it back up again. Hot air and hope.

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