A few months ago, I asked the question, “Am I worth it?” Yesterday I vaguely mentioned my birthday going downhill and gave a few of the details about why. I didn’t tell the whole story, though. Stay with me; these two things are related.

The point at which my birthday really went downhill was when, not only did my dad not call me or make contact of any sort, but every single person except for one bailed on my party. At that moment I felt like, clearly, I wasn’t worth showing up for. I wasn’t good enough to have real friends who would be there for me and who would go a little out of their way for me to come to my neighborhood and celebrate my birthday.

After realizing that someone had spirited away with my purse and coat; containing my apartment keys, my wallet, a book, my favorite photographs of my sister and I as little girls, those handcuffs (I was carrying them as a joke…), and some other miscellaneous things I can’t remember; I burst into tears with the realization that I couldn’t go home. I felt so violated.

The next day, when I finally got home and had my locks changed, I sat on my bed thinking over everything that had happened and how I was feeling about it.

True; one friend did show up and many others had good reasons why they couldn’t, also true; that one boy was texting me throughout the night even though he couldn’t be there (and wasn’t expected to be since we had just started things the night before), yet the word that finally arose as I sorted through my emotions was “worthless.” I felt worthless at that moment.

As I sat in this feeling, trying to work through it, I thought about the one person who did show up. My neighborhood is completely out of his way. Yet, I had always been completely authentic with him and he knows me better than most people. He also thinks the world of me. While we don’t see each other very often anymore, it’s good to know that the person I’ve been so myself with was the one who did show up.

Ever since I left school, I’ve pretty much been in survival mode. I’ve grasped onto friendships wherever I could because I needed someone, anyone, to talk to. In trying to un-isolate myself, I invested a lot of time and effort in maintaining these friendships. I needed to be around people and I needed “friends” to talk to about what I was going through.

Honestly, though, most of those people I spent time with weren’t really good for me and don’t have solid foundations for a real friendship. There are a few very notable exceptions and if you know me well enough to be one of those friends who knows about my blog; you are one of those exceptions.

What I finally realized is that it wasn’t about my worth at all. I was framing it the wrong way. If people can’t show up for me, it’s not about my worth as a person. Most of the people who didn’t come are people who don’t go out of their way for anyone. Rather than asking if I’m worth it, I need to ask if I’m investing my time and emotion in people who are worth it to me.

The fact that my dad can’t remember any of his daughters’ birthdays and doesn’t try to see us on holidays doesn’t make us worthless daughters. We’re all pretty amazing, in fact. It means that the universe gave him a great gift that he wasted.

I’m actually a pretty awesome person and I deserve to be valued and treated well.

The new question that I’m asking this year is not whether or not I deserve things; it’s whether or not those things are worth my time and investment. For a lot of people in my life, the answer is no. For a few, it’s a resounding YES. For some, it’s still up in the air.

I’m also taking a critical look at other things with this same framework: work, voice lessons, etc.

Getting past the feelings of “I must be worthless because {whomever} couldn’t love me,” is incredibly difficult, especially when one of those whomevers is my dad. I think I’m finally there, though.

Good god my therapist will be proud of me.

I’m proud of me to… for this and for who I am.

Leave a Comment