As a child I always felt that I was looking in from the outside. I felt different, I felt awkward and I felt ashamed of myself….
I cried when other children didn’t. I felt responsible for things beyond my control. I worried about everything. I was frightened. I didn’t know what was my fault and what wasn’t. I feared the worst. I was 5 years old.
I looked at other children with their carefree lives and I envied them. I so desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted to be the same, but at the same time I had separation anxiety. I worried that if I wasn’t near my parents they would leave me and I would be all alone. That scared me. I fixated on that thought, it had a stranglehold on me.
I also had a heightened auditory sense and this made my life very difficult. Shouting, loud singing and children laughing made my ears hurt so badly that I would have to run and hide. This embarrassed me and I was often teased about my strange behaviour. However, I just couldn’t snap out of it. Irrespective of how hard I tried, it was beyond my ability then and it often still is now.
I was always the outsider and I found solace in using my imagination and creating worlds where I was just like everyone else, but with a glorious ending. I lived in the Alps and saved villagers from avalanches. I was an ordinary girl in a kingdom where a prince swept me off my feet and married me. I was an orphan who became a prima ballerina and saved street children.
More and more I retreated into my own special world so that I could escape reality. It was so much easier to do this than to be an onlooker in what I perceived to be the normal world around me.
I was detached and removed, I was a stranger, a bystander, a misfit. I was not the same, I was odd.
I recently asked my mother why she hadn’t noticed that I was ‘a bit off’. In retrospect, how could she have known, I lived in my own private world. I felt compelled to hide my real self as best possible because more than anything I felt unworthy of being loved.
I know now that this was the beginnings of a crazy journey that I would take for the rest of my life. At the time I believed that if I could just be better, I would feel better and everyone would love me better. How wrong I was.
I have lived through this looking glass for most of my life, peering in from the outside, detaching myself and then frantically scrambling to reattach. I am still scrambling around trying to be normal. I think I always will.