To have or harbor insecurity is such an odd thing. It means you feel a lack of safety from someone or something; a nakedness only visible to yourself. When B and I first started dating, I gave off the impression that I was this confident, strong-willed girl who figured she was giving a guy a chance after three years of singledom. The tables turned when, one day, I tried to break up with B. We were only a few weeks in, but I hit fight or flight … and I chose trying to fly the coop. What happened in return astonished and humbled me: B wouldn’t let me leave. (For anyone that attended our wedding, you know that because my Matron of Honor told that little story in her speech. Too good.)
What neither B nor I were ready for was the floodgate of insecurity. By breaching the walls in his You Shalt Not Pass, he put himself into the storm of what I like to term “my mess.” My mess had been in therapy for over two years by the time B came around. I ultimately started going to therapy because I knew the depths of my insecurity. I also knew I wanted out of those depths in order to pursue a healthy, meaningful relationship. I remember telling my therapist, “I’m in a relationship now, so, um, I might be back more often now. OK?” I had an inkling of what was going to come up.
I lived into this belief that something was inherently wrong with me.
Because of that, I had spent so many years before B believing in some fulfillment could suppress the insecurities. Whether it was boys, over-commitment of volunteering (my two wing, the need to be needed being met), or pretending to be some hard-nosed, don’t-need-a-guy girl. It’s so much easier to play those roles than to actually do any work.
Fast-forward one whole year after You Shalt Not Pass: I’ve attended Co-Dependents Anonymous (foregoing anonymity here), read countless books on childhood trauma, and cried a small pond of tears. Turns out I spent a lot of time tidying up my inner-self but forgot to vacuum. But to my surprise, I still had B by my side. He is by no means perfect and will gladly admit to that. However, what he encountered along his dating travels was a broken person. A broken person who had done her discovery work, but had not taken the wheels of her work on the road.
It’s not to say that B silently rode alongside me. No, we fought and there were times of questioning whether or not we could really make it. It’s also not to say that my insecurities were the ruling reason why we would fight either. (To be clear: we all have our own mess that should and needs to be owned.) Through that first year, though, I started to find freedom from insecurity by vulnerably acknowledging it. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I had someone by my side to see me through it, to push me into the hands of God and friends, and to let me know when boundaries were crossed.
All this to say: girls (and even guys) – our insecurities are real; at times, overwhelming. We carry pockets of what has felt lacking, but another person will not – cannot! – fill these pockets. What they can do, though, is stand beside you as your growth edges are refined. It takes a special person to do this. Someone who is willing to acknowledge your past, present, but also your future. It takes someone to know who you truly are. It takes someone who can look into your history and say, “You had, like, three dads along the way … I could see where trust would be a foreign concept.”
Friends, for me, it was an intense metamorphosis.
I’m thankful B turned out to be the person I could entrust my whole self with. I no longer have to hide or be ashamed with such “silly” feelings. I can honestly say that I am more willing to own and be curious about my insecure feelings. Please let this be an encouragement and reminder that it is possible to climb up from the depths of insecurity and false senses of self. Lean into your friends for advice, accountability and vulnerability. Trust me, those who live with you or know you well enough know your growth edges. My old roommate and Matron of Honor, Allie, saw me through a lot of it. Having a significant other who stands by you, rooting you on, is a bonus, but not a guarantee.
Lastly, per the advice of my wise therapist: when and if you’re in the midst of the grips of insecurity, “be curious, not condemning [of yourself].”
There is no need to pretend anymore.