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Friday, April 12, 2024
The Observer

It's OK to be insecure

My insecurities are my oldest feature.

The bangs and long hair left when I started high school. The glasses followed soon after. I was blonde for one brief fantastic fall in my freshman year — Vermin Go Gold! — but I don’t plan on doing that again. I was pretty tall in middle school, but now I fall on the shorter end of the spectrum, to say the least.

But I can’t remember any time that I was not deeply insecure about almost everything. Who I am, what people think of me, what I should do with my life — all of it is fair game.

Even now, writing this, I’m a little paranoid because I want you to like it. Even though I probably don’t know you, will never meet you and your dislike could not possibly hurt me, I need you to like this.

Of course, I am well aware that in being so pathetically honest, I’m risking your scorn as well. That’s just another insecurity to add to the pile. I have tried over and over to tell myself that I just don’t care what other people think, but I do. I can’t stop caring.

I also can’t stop thinking. The problem is I tend to think about myself. I’m very good at spinning endless stories in my mind about what other people might be thinking, but I’m very bad at guessing how they actually feel. I’m stuck in my own head.

Even now, almost every sentence I have written so far includes the word ‘I.’ I’m also assuming that you, whomever you may be, have the time and the patience to listen to me ramble.

I don’t have any right to your attention. It would be presumptuous of me to think that. While reading this article, you might be at lunch, killing time until a friend stops by. Or you might be procrastinating in your dorm room because you really really don’t want to start that paper, so you instead decided to read this. Or maybe you’re stuck in a really boring lecture and you’re just doing the best you can to stay awake. Or a thousand other possibilities, I don’t know.

And when your friend comes or its time to start the homework or you do end up falling asleep (we’ve all been there), you’ll stop reading. In my mind, you already have.

But that’s OK, because in my mind, you had a good reason to. Your roommate needed help with something or you got caught up in a good conversation or the game just came on and you really need to pay attention. You won the lottery, for all I know.

In my overactive imagination, these are all possibilities. There are bad ones too. You think I’m being melodramatic or crazy, or you just think this story sucks.

I think I’ll focus on the good reasons though. The things that are important to you. Writing this was as much for me as it was for you, and if I’ve learned anything over these 500 or so words, it’s that you have much more to say than I do. I plan to listen.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.