"If I love you was a promise, would you break it if you're honest?"
The song “idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish is a song that our angsty bunch of early 2000 kids relate to a little too much. Well, I cannot criticise any of these people, because I also like them am an angsty teen who doesn’t like herself as much as people think she does. These negative feelings that we feel usually make for some hilarious jokes or dark niche comedy that we are familiar with, or it warrants the standard comments of ‘oh it’s just a phase’ or something similar by the boomers around us. Well, they aren’t entirely wrong. This need for validation and wanting to be loved when you feel you aren’t is quite literally a part of a child’s psychological development. But I still feel like the ‘wanting to yeet myself off a cliff’ meme is a veil which hides something much more profound and sadder.
Self-hatred is something we’ve all felt at some point in our life, maybe even for extended amounts of periods. It’s often glorified and romanticised, which is not to say that the issue isn’t genuine, but shows how widespread it is. And this thing that I am writing is akin to many more pieces, where the author leads you to an inspiring story of how you can overcome it and how much more lies beyond in your life that you haven’t considered. Kudos to the author to be able to share their story, but I often feel a lingering feeling of frustration after reading such stories. (⚠this is in no means to shame the author for writing about their experience or hating on them in any way, I will always be proud of people who have learned how to overcome their demons⚠).
This feeling is very often something along the lines of, ‘well if it’s so easy to achieve happiness, then why am I still so sad after trying so hard? or am I just really ungrateful, despite having so many resources, that I can’t improve?’ To summarise, it’s just a feeling of ‘am I the problem?’ and to all of those fellow self-haters who feel like this, I just have to disagree. You may not have healed, you may still have toxic tendencies, and you may still struggle, but you are trying. How much you are doesn’t matter. The fact that you are is fantastic, and I’m proud of every single person who’s trying.
Sadness is something that comes easy, but is so, so hard to let go. It’s difficult not to overthink and over analyse and fall back into patterns that you know you shouldn’t. And it’s frustrating- god so frustrating- when others question you or don’t seem to understand what’s going on, and you just can’t put it into words. I’m not here to say that people will know because more often than not, they don’t. But the fact that they’re willing to try says that something about how much they’re eager to try to be there for you.
As a good friend put it, ‘you don’t have to explain or tell us what you’re going through. Don’t try to be vulnerable when you think you’re not ready for it. But remember that your close friends are there to distract you, to be there for you.’ My friend said something I think a lot of us crave to hear. And the truth of the matter is that people want to help, in any way that they can.
You’re not as much of a burden as you think you are, you’re not at dumb or stupid because you believe you are and you certainly aren’t as worthless as you think you are. But as someone tired of hearing such reassurance from others and not being able to accept it, I’m not here to convince you that you’re unique and fantastic as you are. Heal at your own pace and just remember that there will be ups and downs, even after you think you’re doing fine, and that’s okay.
I just want to end quoting the lines that I started this very piece with,
if saying ‘i love you’ is a promise you make to yourself, then are you willing to keep it?
Illustrated by Dyuti Basu