Life is Not a Stephen King Novel: Notes on Feeling “Other”

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Do you ever have those moments when you look in the mirror, and don’t recognize what you see? Maybe not literally, but in a figurative sense? The face might be familiar but the thoughts, words, and actions underneath feel alien.

That’s the kind of place I’ve been in the past few weeks. While externally everything was fine, one the inside I felt close to possessed. More and more, I found myself making choices and saying things that I never imagined I would. The laundry list of examples reads as follows: While never a patient person, my personal fuse got even shorter as I started snapping at my family and friends. I started skipping commitments I made a long time ago in favor of sitting my room, griping my way through an afternoon that could have been spent doing community service or visiting a friend. My usual type-A self started to procrastinate assignments, and instead of feeling anxiety I reacted with anger and bitterness. Whenever I had a chance to talk about my confusion, however, I pushed the issue away. Instead, I drew myself word circles with excuses about academics, college applications, etc.

Last Sunday, I finally broke and admitted that I felt completely out of touch with myself. Actually, the words I used were “I have no idea who I am anymore.” And while this might sound dramatic, I don’t think there is a better way to describe feeling like a lost soul rattling around inside your body. All the priorities and characteristics you prided yourself on suddenly feel out of reach, and you take on the role of marionette puppet without a player.

So why does this happen? Why do we go through periods of not knowing ourselves, of feeling “other” in our own minds? I like to think it’s something to do with “growing pains,” only from personal development rather than physical growth. It’s true that the last few weeks meant a lot of adjusting and learning- senior year, my friends, is no joke. And I’m slowly starting to feel more like myself, I keep looking over my shoulder for fear that the lost insecurity that inhabited my over the past few weeks will sneak back up. But, as the title of this post suggests, like is not a Stephen King novel, and I am not a powerless victim against the forces that be (paranormal or otherwise.) Going forward, I plan to dig my heels in a little bit more: To allow for growth and adjustment, yes, but also to maintain the passions and traits I’ve worked so hard to cultivate within myself. Whether that means thinking twice before picking a fight with my parents or simply embracing more positive thoughts, this Halloween I plan to be nothing but myself, once and for all.

Do you ever feel “other” in yourself? How do you get through it?

xx

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