The last of my self-esteem.

Last week, my self-esteem took a nose-dive when something I expected didn’t end up the way I wanted. A friend introduced me to one of her friends and we completely hit it off, until we met and he decided to just be friends. I had hoped it would turn into something deeper but alas, it was not meant to be. Ironically, we deluded ourselves into thinking that it was meant to be, after the unusual circumstances that brought us together.

What made this experience twice as hurtful was the fact that the last few guys I went out with didn’t really last, for one reason or another. Somehow every one of them became ‘just a friend.’ I think what’s worse than simply being friendzoned is being friendzoned after dating. And let me say that I went out with a lot of guys since my last relationship in 2010.
I’m not sure if my long state of singlehood has left me unable to live up to the ‘boyfriend role.’ I probably have forgotten The Rules of Dating. Whatever the case, my failed romances left my ego in a battered state. I felt fat, ugly, and unlovable. I felt like there was something wrong with me to drive all these guys away. It made me remember all those first-dates that didn’t follow through. I wondered, am I ugly? Do I have a terrible personality?
I had a great childhood, but I wasn’t exactly flowing with self-esteem. I had a weight problem that led to an eating disorder (210 lbs. to 140 lbs.), kids in my class bullied me for being effeminate, and I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was quiet and painfully shy, so I spent my time reading books in seclusion. I even tried my hand at writing, when in the fifth grade, I finished a screenplay of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. I developed a more loquacious personality as I grew older, which resulted in my polar interests of literature and fashion, writing and partying. Until now I equally enjoy living it up with friends and also staying home to read books and watch films.

But no matter how much I accomplish, I still feel like I am that young overweight boy, sitting alone in the corner and being called gay. I guess I’m still living by the anorexic’s code: I will never be thin enough. Whatever I do will never be good enough. I think the reason why I’m cooking up so many projects is so that I can validate myself, to fill that emptiness inside. I’m more confident now, but there is that nagging feeling of inferiority.

My failure to develop a romantic relationship couldn’t come at a worse time because I feel like I am ready to enter one now. Strangely, I’m also not sure if I am ready for one, because I have an irrational fear of commitment. I cringe whenever someone becomes too clingy. I freak out when a guy gets too comfortable around my personal space. A guy had to sleep over my house one night and I had an internal meltdown because we had to sleep on the same bed. Then there is my inability to reveal myself, to talk about my emotions and open up about what I’m really thinking.

I think my ennui stems from feeling lonely. I have spent enough time to be alone and discover myself. I think the culmination of this reflection is my solo trip to Hong Kong where I was forced to face all my inner demons and internal struggles. I have experienced the joys and sorrows of being alone, and while I can be alone, I think it’s time for me to share a part of my life with another person. I believe I have it all: great friends, a loving family, a successful career. But why do I feel incomplete?

Instead of having a solo pity party, I decided to act upon my insecurities and improve myself. I realized that I can’t waste my life asking why men don’t love me. I can’t just say ‘Well, this is what life gave me.’ I have to constantly change and be a better version of myself. And as for the things I can’t change, I just have to live with it and hope the world finds it tolerable, if not endearing.

Weight has been a lifelong issue so my first step has been to enroll at a gym. I just had my first week and I feel great. I learned that the whole world is a mess and the least I can do is dress my mess up. Granted, a fit body won’t necessarily fill the void inside me, but at least I’ll look great. And speaking of self-esteem, I’m finding it dangerous to let my entire core be rocked by a dry (and long) spell.

Finally, I believe that I will meet someone who can change all that, who can gracefully tread around my idiosyncrasies and make me forget my issues of trust, intimacy, and commitment. This is the right time. I just have to find the right man. Until then, I’ll be preparing the best version of myself, with my sanity, my self-esteem, and hopefully, my fit body intact.

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