Who am I?

I’ve noticed lately an intensified pre-occupation with how I look and I feel lost.

I’m struggling with my whole identity. Who AM I? What do people see or think when they see me? What is my overall image? I don’t know.

I keep looking at other girls, teenagers, 20-somethings, women my age, women older…. And they all seem better than me. Skinny girls, slim or fit women, curvier women or women heavier than me, long shiny hair, smart beach-waved shoulder-length hair, blue hair, pink hair, grey/silver hair, piercings, tattoos, arty women, business women, travellers, party-goers, country chicks, rock chicks, bohemian women, tree huggers, spiritual mother-earth types, sassy straight-talking girls… I want to be them all and I never want to be me. I don’t even know who me is.

I’m going to be 38 soon. It terrifies me. I am preoccupied with looking in the mirror, trying to work out how old I look. I’ve always been mistaken for much younger than I am. A lot of people think I’m like early 20’s. I can tell the way they talk to me that they think I’m really young. But to me, I think I look my age, I am starting to get some light lines, I feel like my face is starting to sag a little bit. My husband says I’m imagining it.

The young parts of me are horrified to be so old. How did this even happen? I think a big fear is that if they are old then no one will want to look after them anymore because adults can look after themselves can’t they? And looking like an adult and acting like a 6 year old is so embarrassing, so it’s harder for the younger parts to come out.

Not only that, the young parts and teen parts especially are so attracted to all the latest fashions and make-up and hair and then they look in the mirror and get discouraged because they can’t ever look like the pretty girls because it’s an adult woman’s body. I listen to my 13 year old niece and see her Instagram pics and I feel left out, because I don’t know all the things she knows and I can’t be that young again…. Isn’t that ridiculous? When I’m more in my adult parts I don’t feel all of this so acutely.

Lately I’ve been looking at other people’s lives on Facebook and even though some are living a life I don’t particularly want, it seems exciting and full of beautiful people and parties and travel and it’s just a life I’ll never have…. I wouldn’t be accepted in the “beautiful people gang”. I don’t know where I belong.

I’ve accomplished nothing. I am not living a full life, I am not living a life anyone would want. This isn’t the life I want. But I don’t know how to make things better for myself. I feel very confused.

I don’t know who I want to be. I mean, I want to be me… I don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone else. I want to be unique- as much as I say I want to be like others, deep down I just want to be me, whoever that is. I want to be firmly me, I don’t mind being different, in fact I want to be different, but I want to feel pretty or beautiful or even just okay. I want to like myself and feel like I have an identity. That people see me and say “ that’s Sirena, there’s no one like her.” I want to feel worthy. I want people to pick out things about me that make me, me. Things that they could accurately describe as being me. Like, “ That feels like a Sirena thing.”

I want to look in the mirror and like what I see. I wouldn’t mind my age and getting older if I had a solid sense of self. If I felt my age, then I’d probably think I was looking okay-ish. It’s just really hard to reconcile feeling different ages but the body is definitely an adult. I am not slim, and that is very hard for me to accept, but I see women who are much bigger than me and they take an interest in fashion and they look really good and I wonder how they do it, because everything I wear I look shit in. UGH.

I don’t want to be a total sad-act (British slang for a loser bytheway lol) who is lusting after other people’s lives or image. I don’t want to be chasing the unattainable.

I can’t be anyone else, so why bother trying? But I would really like to find me. I just feel like a nothing… a black hole of nothingness, a non-descript fuzzy outline of a human. So often, I just don’t recognise the person in the mirror. And I don’t feel like her. And those parts want to look like themselves at the age they are, not this body.

Sorry for the pity party. I’m just feeling very….. ungrounded within myself.






16 thoughts on “Who am I?

  1. Yve says:

    This is an area where Buddhism has been really helpful to me. Instead of trying desperately to pin down some sense of self (I spent way too many years doing that) I just try to live moment to moment in total awareness of my body and environment. Daily meditation, yoga, and general mindfulness has almost made me totally accepting of the emptiness I still feel from time to time. It’s not easy, but it is simple. It just takes daily discipline. A mindfulness practice is kind of like AA in that, “it works if you work it”. 🙂

    But like PD said, I certainly don’t have the answers. I just know what is currently working for me.

    And, BTW, you beauty shines through your words and your art. You are beautiful.

    • Sirena says:

      Yeah… I have zero discipline lol. I do try to take every day as it is- it’s how I manage my physical illness. I just wish I felt like me or like me. Or just had something that pinned me down to “me-ness”.
      And thank you so much for what you said in your last paragraph. That means a lot.

  2. pattyspathtohealing says:

    Sirena, i think that what you’re having problems with…knowing who you are…is part of being a survivor of a difficult childhood. I never got yo experiment with any kind of clothes or make up or jewelry or hairstyles when i was younger. I just wore what i was told too. Then when i was out of my childhood situation, i was too big to even buy stuff in stores…i had to order from an online catalog. I weighed 370 lbs a couple of years ago. Now i weigh 170. Ive gobe theough several sets of clothing. The first was pink and black and lace and skulls. The next was mostly athletic wear. Then for a couple of sizes, it was mostly what i could buy at Walmart. Now i have trendier clothes. Lots of my shopping is done at a juniors store. I need to venture out to other stores too. I just bought lots of summer clothes….olive green, black, eggpmant purple….denim, cargo capris, tank tops, sleeveless shirts. I’m still the same person inside, but i dont know how to present that to the outside. I know that now that im not fat, people interpret my shyness as snobbish. Its really weird.

    • Sirena says:

      thanks Patty, and that’s a huge weightloss, how did u do that? As a teen, I did wear stuff I wanted, like, I wasn’t super-out there and all alternative or anything but I made my own money from the age of 15/16 and bought and wore what I wanted. So I didn’t particularly miss out. But these younger parts that are here now still want to wear what’s fashionable for that age and it’s not really things I can wear as an adult.

  3. findingmyway00 says:

    yeah. i go through a lot of this too. i get confused when i go to a store because i can feel parts wanting certain clothes, and it’s not how this body is made..to wear them..or look good in them..and we are not the same body shape as a teenager.

    i remember the christmas before last, my twin nieces were 13 and got makeup kits for christmas from their mom. one of my parts said something like, ‘i want that’ or ‘why can’t i have one,’ and other parts felt really left out and sad in general. it is hard to have to tell/remind them that things are different for us (and family doesn’t know about us). but i did tell the one about the makeup that we can buy whatever we want and don’t have to have someone get something for us. not sure that helped though. she really wanted to fit in with my nieces (but of course had to hide).

    i end up buying a bunch of dresses cuz there is a part (as well as me) who really wants to wear them, but they don’t really get worn because i feel so uncomfortable in them. it’s really confusing.

    but yeah..i understand the fear of not having anyone to take care of you as you get older too. that is something we struggle with a lot too. but i don’t have a significant other and likely never will. there is a huge fear of being completely alone (again) with no one to reach out to (therapist, friends when i have them, siblings, etc.) at some point in the future. it is terrifying.

  4. manyofus1980 says:

    I get it sirena. go through this too all of the time! its so hard! having did is crazy and so confusing at times with the identity stuff. you feel so many things. the parts all wanting different things, feeling different things etc. I think what your going through is normal, I wouldn’t say your having a pity party at all. and even if you are, so what? your entitled to it. xxx sending hugs

  5. Nina de Haan says:

    Hello Sirena,
    Just like some others already write, I also think that many people experience similar feelings. In our societies there is so much pressure on women (on men as well, but differently), to be young and pretty. I think that the whole fashion and beauty industry thrives on making women feel insecure about their looks, making them think they’re too old or look like it and they have to fix their looks. That is just horrible.
    I’ve also been experiencing a lot of confusion about clothing and such. I recognize the part where you write you’d like to be everyone or everything; have all styles at the same time, or so. I also recognize that. It’s so easy to think that others look better, and that you’d be happier if you looked like them. But the fact is: you don’t. Your looks don’t make you happy. 🙂 And being happy is all that counts, really.
    Growing older is confusing too, but we just have to deal with it. Try and be the woman you needed as a child. 🙂 Helping other women, both younger and older, with similar issues and more.
    Best of luck!
    PS I wrote a blog post about clothing (and how confusing it is to me) earlier, maybe there’s something you like: https://munchingonadream.com/2015/06/21/clothing-reconsidered/

    • Sirena says:

      Hi Nina, thanks for your thoughts. I read your piece about clothing and found it thought-provoking. It made a lot of very good points about neutral clothing, and comfortable clothing. I am a comfort seeker for sure these days. The lack of a single identity is what seems to confuse me, I never feel like just one person with one identity that I gravitate to.

      • Nina de Haan says:

        Hi Sirena,

        Do you mean that your behaviour or feelings or so are inconsistent? Then, maybe there is consistency in what you crave or need and how you act upon that, but you don’t see it yet. Maybe the things you do are consistent in what you are trying to achieve with it, in what the underlying needs are. Have you thought about that?

        Or maybe you just don’t identify strongly, in general. In the end that is a good thing. 🙂 One of the things that is very important in spiritual growth (towards enlightenment, in increasing your consciousness, or however you’d call it) is to stop identifying: with your body, your mind, your belongings, your feelings… so to stop clinging to those things. This will actually set you free. 🙂 It’s confusing in a world where so many people care so much about these things, but in the end it works.

        Do you understand what I mean? I hope it makes sense to you and that it helps a little.

      • Sirena says:

        I mean that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder so am fragmented into lots of parts (alters) and each has their own preference for how they want to look. It’s like having a group of teenagers inside all wanting to be something different. 😀 Identity is quite complex for me because of this.
        I do understand what you mean though about not letting clothes define us.

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