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To give a little back story, I decided I wanted to write tonight, but I couldn’t pick a topic. So I let my friends on Facebook decide, and told them to give me a topic. The first person to give me a topic would be what I wrote about. A co-worker of mine responded, and this is the current chain…

J: What has been your biggest emotional and personal “character flaw”, have you had a hard time recognizing it, where do you think it stems from, how has it effected your personal life and relationships, and are you working to change these things about yourself?
Me: Oooooh, J-, nice one! And you are making it so easy to flow from part to part in the topic. Gonna be a tough decision though because I have several character flaws that bug me. But I’ll definitely get to writing.
J: I strongly believe in embracing our flaws and owning that shit lol. I’m not afraid to tell people I’m not perfect, so I love hearing about what other people know they could work on, you know?
Me: Oh definitely. I’m not shy about admitting my flaws wither…And…you know what? That just inspired me…Low self esteem and the pride that goes along with it… That’s my biggest flaw, and now I know how to address it, because I will point out my flaws faster than anything positive about myself. This should be interesting.

So it begins….

I have found through my life I have low self esteem. Not really surprising, given some of the things I have been through. What I didn’t count on was the PRIDE in having low self esteem. Before you begin to be confused as to why someone would be proud they have low self esteem, let me explain. It isn’t pride in the trait itself, it is pride in how I am so readily willing to admit it.

I would have to say that while I have always struggled with the self esteem and was able to admit it even if only to myself at first (although it was obvious to everyone). I have only recently realized there is a great deal of pride that goes along with it. It is pride in being able to throw that label out there so nobody else does. I can beat them to the punch. It takes the fun away from bullies when you make fun of yourself. And I was bullied growing up. A lot. So I learned to roll with the punches before they even came. IF I could so quickly throw it out there and crack jokes nobody laughed at, I didn’t have to hear the open sniggers directed my way because I did their work for them.

It has effected almost every single relationship I have ever had, including the familial relationships. The biggest ones were the daddy issues, and then later my friends and future boyfriends. It’s a cancerous ordeal when you have low self esteem and not easy to overcome.

Because of it, I have had toxic relationship after toxic relationship (at this point I am referring to friends and ex-boyfriends). In order to have friends, I let myself be the DUFF (for those of you who don’t know what it means, it is Designated Ugly Fat Friend). I didn’t know I was a DUFF, but I was always the ugly one, the fat one, the…whatever… And having let myself play that role, it bled through to the significant others too. I wasn’t good enough for them, so I might as well play a servile role. I took pride in being the “best friend” or the girlfriend who would do anything for her man. I didn’t realize how badly it was effecting my soul and my actual personality by letting my friends and boyfriends walk all over me.

This ended up leading to drug addiction and alcoholism. I learned how to self destruct so I didn’t have to blame anyone but myself. I learned how to punch that hole in the bottom of the floor so I could fall through it and embrace the suffering and pain I knew so well. I didn’t know how to be happy. I wasn’t allowed to be happy, because I didn’t deserve it.

Then one day, I snapped. I don’t exactly how it happened. But I knew I was miserable. I knew I was ashamed. It happened around the time of my third boyfriend Nick. He treated me SO horribly. Daily death threats. Threatening my friends, family, co-workers, and the kiddos I work with. Telling me I was a piece of shit and that I wouldn’t amount to anything. Threatening to throw me over my own balcony in the home I opened up to him so he wasn’t homeless.  So…I finally decided to do something for myself and defend who I was. I got a restraining order and got him the hell out of my life.

I knew deep, deep down I am brave, smart, compassionate,  giving, kind, loving, faithful, honest. I didn’t deserve ANY of the shit he threw my way other than my sheer stupidity and stubbornness in pursuing a relationship my mother and all my friends advised me against. So I acted.

Almost six months later I started dating someone who had been pursuing me avidly for a year. He gave me attention, was a listening ear, etc. And things WERE good for a couple months. But once he got me, once he got what he want from me, he lost interest. He didn’t want to learn new things. He didn’t want to experience new things. He was happiest staying in his parents’ basement watching Netflix and playing WWE2K or whatever it was called. And I realized I deserved better.

Once again, I was allowing my low self esteem to take over and reveling in the pride in my strength of being able to do so. So I called the relationship off.

Now, here it is almost a year later, and I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I refuse to allow myself to wallow in the comforts of low self esteem. I refuse to let myself repeat the same life long pattern I am so familiar with. I have to force myself on an almost daily basis to go outside my comfort zone, to experience those new things I didn’t want to. I make myself create things. I allow myself to be a bitch once in a while and to enjoy it before meekly apologizing (turns out most people don’t consider me being a bitch when I am trying so hard to be one which I find supremely weird).

So yeah. It isn’t easy. I do still suffer from low self esteem, but I no longer take so much pride in playing a willing victim. I have a voice, and I am allowed to make my voice heard. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It simply makes me human.