The other night I was laying awake in bed, desperately wanting to talk to someone. The person I thought of came up in my Facebook feed…of this person talking about how someone else is their BFF. This person and I haven’t been as close in the last few years, but I still felt that pang of, I’ve been replaced.
We’ve all been replaced. We’ve all been weighed and found wanting.
If you’re like me, you’ve likely thought, it’s me…I’m the problem. I am the reason I’m alone.
“I Am Alone.” The Great Lie We All Tell Ourselves
There isn’t a person on earth who hasn’t lain awake in the dark and not heard the quiet voice in their minds tell them, you’re not good enough, you’re the outsider, no one likes you.
Everyone has been there. Everyone.
You know how I know this?
Because I talk to people. I ask them. We exchange stories.
So here’s one about my friend. She may or may not realize I’m talking about her, because I’m going to tell you about her through my eyes. This particular friend is the Momiest-Mom-that-ever-Mom’d. I’m pretty sure she could out-Martha-Stewart Martha Stewart. She cooks. She cleans. Her home is immaculate. She manages play dates, work, family, cooking only organic meals and so much more. She’s one of the most beautiful people I know, and she out-adults me pretty much all the time. And yet, I guarantee that the way I see her and the way she sees herself are so very different.
We buy into this image that the other person over there, maybe a friend, peer or complete stranger, has their lives together. That they are better, more liked and accepted than ourselves.
And that is a lie.
It’s the lie we all tell ourselves.
A couple months ago I was chatting with a peer and they said, “Well, what do you know about (insert rando person’s name here)? I mean, you know everyone.”
That statement made me full stop.
In my industry, I feel like I know no one. That I’m not a blip on anyone’s radar. Most days I wonder if anyone would really care if I just…stopped. Writing, that is. Not living. I’m not done with life. But writing…sometimes I wonder if anyone wants to hear the stories I have to tell. I mean, some people do otherwise I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills with my writing income, but still. Besides those few people, would anyone else notice? Care? Be bothered?
Yes, they would.
Any time I question my worth I think back to an incident a few years ago. It was the day I was supposed to drive down to a conference. My cat had a seizure and was put down that morning. I dug his grave in my backyard. I loaded myself up and drove four hours…bawling. I got to the conference and thought I’d slip down to the hall to see what was going on. No one would notice or care about me. No big deal.
Life has this funny way of teaching us lessons.
I almost walked straight into this girl. My fault. I was sort of grief blind. Of course I apologized, to which she begins nearly hyperventilating and said, “Y-you’re Sidney Bristol!”
She knew who I was.
She knew, and she cared.
(Side note: I was so stunned I really botched that moment. If I ever find that girl again I want to give her a huge hug and tell her she’s awesome. So, anyone reading this, if you’re that girl, email me? San Antonio, RWA signing, first day.)
The moral of this story isn’t that I’m important or special. It’s that I mattered to someone out there. And so do you. So does everyone. It’s a very important thing that we lose sight of in our vacuum of our minds. We get so bogged down in doing our jobs, caring for our families, making sure no one died today, that we forget that we really do matter.
I’ve found the best way to combat my feelings of being alone, of being less than, are wonderfully combated by telling someone else they matter to me. Because if I need to hear that I matter, I can guarantee you that someone else out there needs to hear it, too. So pay it forward, because you are a difference maker.