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I wish I had the confidence to explore myself more

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by skloorrpt, Sep 18, 2022.

  1. skloorrpt

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    I've been feeling incredibly lonely lately. I only have one person that I feel is a genuine friend that actually cares enough about me to put effort into our friendship. It's a bit complicated though as we're more like FWB than just friends, they're also on the other side of the country for most of the year. I hung out with some old friends from high school recently at one of their weddings and it's just not the same. I feel much different now than I did back then, and most of them have changed at least a little too so it feels like we just don't know each other as well anymore.
    I need new friends, but I don't know how to make friends now that I'm not in school anymore. I don't really enjoy socializing that much. I tend to avoid going out and doing things because it feels much less threatening/awkward to sit at home playing videogames or watching YouTube. I know confidence is like a muscle, it needs to be exercised, but I don't know where to start, if I even can, or how I would meet like minded people if I do actually try. I'd also like to have more friends that are LGBTQ or at least strong allies so I have some kind of support structure if I want to come out. I went to a private, Catholic high school, so I'm not sure my friends from back then would be that supportive. I feel like they'd tolerate it, but maybe feel a bit awkward if I told them about it.
    My FWB that I mentioned before and I both would like to make our relationship more official at some point, which would probably mean me moving out to where they are. I have no idea how soon something like that would happen if at all because I don't feel like I'm in the best spot to do that right now. The more time passes, the more tempting it's getting though. I don't want to make a bunch of friends here only to move across the country at some point in the near future. At the same time I feel like moving across the country would sort of allow me to reinvent myself and try to figure out who I actually am without worrying if it would affect how people I already know view me.
    I just wish I had the confidence to explore myself a little more because I feel like I've kind of lost track of who I am over the last few years. I don't really like myself that much at the moment, so I just feel like something about me needs to change, but I don't know what or how to change it.
     
  2. Cinnamoon

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    I'm the same age as you and I feel very similar. I don't really have someone like your fwb, mostly because I tend to be even more insular than you and push people away, but I wouldn't underestimate the power of having someone close to you like that. Obviously don't put all your eggs in one basket in terms of connections, but it sounds like you have a relationship blossoming with this person. If that's true, and it's something you both want like you say, then that could be a huge source of support and confidence for you moving forward. Even one person caring about us that way can make a huge difference to our self esteem.

    Don't worry though, you have more time than you think. Sure socialising is like a muscle but for people like me, massive introverts who find social situations with people we're not close with extremely uncomfortable, I think sometimes it's almost inbuilt, and acceptance of who we are and how we work can do as much if not more good than trying to push ourselves to socialise in ways that will never really make us happy or comfortable.

    Being in your 20s, it's quite normal to feel a lot of this. You don't have to reinvent yourself, just take every little choice and decision as it comes, it's everyday steps like that which help us to really become ourselves as time goes by. I think so anyway.

    Seems like you're doing better than you think, not to demean any of your concerns. But the way you are is okay, you don't have to be anyone else just because you feel like you should be. Lean on your fwb, lean on people here, and keep going, because you're not doing too badly as it is.
     
  3. skloorrpt

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    I'm definitely lucky to have someone like them to help me, but I don't want to rely on them too much. I live with my parents at the moment, and since I don't have many friends, they are the people I see the most often. I don't want to tell them yet. They'd probably tolerate it, but won't be that supportive. I'm scared to come out, but I've been feeling like I maybe want to start dropping some hints or maybe even telling certain people I trust, but there's not really anyone else I want to tell at the moment.

    I know exactly what you mean when you talk about feeling awkward in social situations. I wish I was more outgoing and comfortable with myself, because I don't really like the way I am now. I kind of feel like I've been having some kind of identity crisis. I think my fear of judgement has made me scared to be myself or try new things because of what other people might think of me. It's been this way for so long I sometimes feel like I don't even know who the hell I am anymore.
     
    #3 skloorrpt, Sep 18, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
  4. Cinnamoon

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    I get that. To be honest maybe some of that was bad advice from me. When I was with my ex, I leaned on him a lot, but after we broke up I've been more lonely than ever, and it's approaching two years since we've been separated now. Not saying your relationship won't work out at all, but you're right to want other ways of building support and coping.

    My parents found out after they caught me sneaking off to meet my ex, so I was kind of outed involuntarily. I still don't think I'd have come out to them otherwise. I get the fear. Is there anything about them that makes you hesitant to tell them? I'm sorry you feel like you can't just be yourself openly around them. And I barely have any friends too so I know the struggle.

    I don't like how I am in some ways, I'm trying to get better at things and keep learning and growing as a person though. Personally that helps me - for some people relaxing and discovering which TV shows, music, hobbies etc speak to them and help them solidify a sense of identity. I guess we can express and manifest ourselves in a multitude of ways, although I really get the feeling of crisis. I've had that too in my life, multiple times, and I'm so sorry you're suffering that way now.

    What kind of things would you like to do? Who would you really like to be? It's okay if you don't know of course, or don't want to share, I'm just curious

    Hope it's okay to ask those things, obviously I'm no professional but I do relate to how you're feeling and I'm sorry you're going through this right now
     
  5. skloorrpt

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    I didn't mention this, but I was also kind of outed before I was ready. My mom found out that I wasn't too sure of my sexuality a couple of years ago. She's brought it up a few times and I shoot down the conversation immediately every time, so she probably just assumes I'm gay honestly. The only thing I said about it was "Don't tell anyone else" and I really hope she's at least listened to that. I haven't officially come out because my family is very conservative and Catholic. I would think the fact that my mom basically knows already would make it easier to actually come out, but I don't know if it will help that much.

    I'd like to start painting my nails for example. I've tried it before when no one else is around, so I know I like it. I'm just a bit embarrassed to go out in public and be seen wearing it. My beliefs and how I view myself has changed a lot over the last few years and I feel like I want to start reflecting that in my personality or image somehow. I sometimes feel like there are two of me, the person I present to others, and the person I feel like I am, or maybe want to be. I don't feel ready to come out, but I guess this is all part of the reason I've been thinking about it a bit more recently.
     
  6. Cinnamoon

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    For your family and your environment, your mum sounds at least semi-supportive at least (excuse the British spelling =P). Maybe she supports you, but because the family is conservative she doesn't know what to do or say so she stays silent so as to not rock the boat. This is just speculation of course but it's nice she isn't actively harassing you about it or trying to make you feel bad for who you are. All things considered, it sounds like she's on your side, even if she might not entirely know how to be.

    Aw, yeah I get that. Tbh I'm pretty boring - I buy cheap clothes, am quiet and shy, and having messy hair is my most exciting character trait. Nail painting is something my family would probably frown upon too, but I think guys can look super cool with painted nails so it's a shame you feel you're holding back on being yourself in ways like that. You said you might get the chance to move out from home at some point though right? If you do, that might be a good time to start to experiment in little ways. It's so much easier when you have your own space to go back to.

    And hey it's okay to change, you're in your early-mid 20s, the whole 20s and even 30s is all about figuring out who we are. In fact, that process never really ends, it's just we're at the super young end of things. So you have time, as much as I know that urge to be unashamedly yourself is hard to fight. You're probably going to continue changing throughout your lifetime, although as we get older we do tend to solidify our sense of self a bit more over time.

    I say this stuff like I'm an expert. I'm not, and I'm happy to be wrong. Feel free to think, well that guy's an idiot. It's just stuff I've picked up from others who have helped me, I hope passing it on is useful even if it's stuff you don't necessarily agree with yourself.

    So continue thinking about it. Carry on exploring and seeking support. You be you at your own pace, you'll get there, and there's plenty of supportive people out there, and on this site, to turn to if you need to talk things through.
     
  7. skloorrpt

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    I guess I haven't talked to her so I don't know how she feels. She's super religious, and I grew up hearing her and my dad make comments or jokes about gay people. I even remember her making a few jokes about me maybe being gay when I was younger. At least that stuff has stopped now that she knows. So I'm not sure if supportive would be the best word, I think tolerant might be more accurate.
    I'd like to move out so I can get away from my parents. I feel like I'm going crazy here, but I'm a bit anxious to live on my own too. Despite my age I still feel like I'm not ready for all that responsibility. I still feel pretty dependent on my parents.