The feeling overwhelms me. I am not sure if it comes from a look, or a word, or a tone… sometimes the person isn’t even talking to me. Perhaps it is that alone that causes the struggle – but it isn’t like I am seeking the attention, or even want it. It is a thought. An attack, really. Yet I doubt if the person themselves even knows they have such an effect on me. It comes upon me quickly, and then I am filled with doubt.
Do they hate me?
What did I do?
It isn’t that I can’t think of reasons why they don’t like me, or what might have caused this issue. Perhaps the reason is that I can think of so many reasons.
Do I need them to like me?
It isn’t like I even see them all that often, even for the fact that some might be family, or some might be people I see weekly – but don’t talk to. I really don’t talk that much, and it is not like I go up and start conversations with them. Ever.
So why do I need them to like me? Why does it hurt so much when I even think they might not?
If they did talk to me… it isn’t like I would be any less anxious after. I would pull it apart, and analyze it, and continuously remind myself of every awkward thing I said or did. I do that. It is as if all of the people I like (and I like most people – even if I show it poorly) are celebrities, and I have little right to be found among them. But they don’t know that I feel that way about them – and I know I am not supposed to feel that way about them… even if they were famous, which none of them are.
We are not supposed to fear people. “What can man do that I should fear him?” Yet I do. I do.
For people upset with me have taken my friends, my dreams, my children. It may be that my life is like a blade of grass that withers and dies – nothing compared to eternity – but in this moment it feels like something, and all those somethings that people have taken from me hurt right now.
So I stand there amidst them, and they talk to me, or to my husband beside me, and I think, “you don’t like me.” Or they don’t talk to me, and I try to remember the last time they did. And probably they aren’t thinking of me at all. Who am I that they should think of me – and if they did, would I want them to?
The problem is, I can think of so many reasons why they might be angry with me, or why they might not like me – yet still I wonder, “What reason do you have?”
Did I share too much?
Am I not who you thought I was?
Am I doing it wrong again?
Did you reconsider something in the past, and judge me guilty this time?
Do you not know what to do with my diagnosis?
Does it seem I am attention seeking?
Is it that I am not working now?
So many reasons – and I know I am not supposed to be afraid of them. And I know that I am not supposed to find my worth in them. And I know it is not supposed to matter. But it does, and I am – and the very thought that they don’t like me fills me with shame. I know it is my fault – and I am so, so sorry.
And the tears flow while I am hiding in my house – and they never know they effect they have on me. What will they take away next?