Perceptions

Something that I really struggle with is how people perceive me. I’m at that stage of my life where I’m not sure what my style looks like. I’m too young for “mom clothes” and I’m too old to dress in a lot of the fast fashion that women in their 20s wear. It definitely does not help that working in labs for ten years, I wore scrubs. And then when I worked at Big Box store, it was jeans and t-shirts and hoodies because you generally ended up filthy by the end of the day.

And now, my job requires business casual. So with the help of my parents I got a wardrobe that’s a lot of button down shirts, sweaters, skinny-cut bottoms (I’ve found that I look surprisingly good in this cut), and comfortable dress pants. I’m comfortable, I look good, but I kind of feel like an impostor. Maybe it’s all of the years of wearing scrubs. I mean, management wears what I’m wearing now. But I have to keep reminding myself, I’m management now. As my husband says, fake it until you make it.

I think that that a lot of this stems from lack of self identity. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what my style is. I’ve talked about it before – I don’t know what my personality is. I don’t know the difference between what I like, and what I feel like I’m expected to like. The things that I like to do versus what I’m expected to like to do.

I have to wonder how much of this is due to my mental illness and so many years of instability causing my personality to shift like the winds change. The things I like changed depending on my mood and what phase of my disorder I was in. Even during extended periods of stability I really had no sense of self. I still have no sense of self.

I’ve talked about this before – the not knowing what I really enjoy versus what I do because it’s expected. And it seems like a reoccurring theme. For example – I went out to see the Downton Abbey movie last night with a friend. I probably stood in front of my closet for 15 minutes trying to figure out what to wear. What did I want to wear?

Who would have thought that one simple question, a question that people figure out every day without much thought, could take me so long.

Ugh. I hate this. I hate not knowing myself. I hate that I spent so many years in flux that I don’t know who I am, what I like, what I want. I’ve spent so many years doing what was expected, being who was expected. I don’t know where expectations stop and I begin.

I often wonder how other people deal with this? Is this something that’s common in people with mental illness? Is this even common in people my age? I have friends that have become parents that say that they lose their sense of self. Is this something along the same lines?

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