In honor of those who fight depression every day, one woman attempts to put herself in the shoes of the advised-to-be-emotionless male, wondering if the feeling of needing to be missed affects every gender.

As a woman allowed to express her every waking emotion,  this certain liberation might be taken for granted. With no prior knowledge, and no other frame of reference, I can only imagine how it must feel to cram every aching urge inside, to stuff it down your throat, the tears that threaten, the vulnerability bubbling up in every soul. As natural as the smell of rain.

If you have felt as if you couldn’t be missed or that you were disposable, let me take your words and mold them. They were my feelings, too. About six months ago, my life exploded all over the place, every segment,  every nook, nothing was unaffected, and the destruction was nearly complete. Or so I thought.

In fact, reinvention was burgeoning. If you have ever felt unmisssable, please believe this proof that things can and will change; the darkness will lift when you anticipate the night growing blacker.

I was you.

Even if you can’t openly express how you feel right now. You matter. And you can come out on the other side.

I just wanted someone to miss me.

I must’ve blinked when the train issuing a certain chemical to guarantee long, unconditional love came around. The alluring component nestled into the brains of the newly born, the ability to be valued and cherished all the live long day. Because all of my life, through every age, I have just wanted someone to miss me.

Apparently, my test in life is to keep reaching deep to find self-worth and when I think I have come to terms with it, that I have self worth because I have changed enough, or pushed the limits of my values an acceptable amount, another person decides I am too much, too little, too loud, too constraining, too evolving, too hard driving, too exhausting. I may not hear the words, but I feel them in actions of neglect, or overt avoidance, in being forgotten.

I can hear your thoughts as you read this…is this the modern form of vaguebooking? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. No. No. No. No. Let me go to this place, dark, undefined, and let me delve to find the issue of living an unmissable life. I don’t want sympathy. I want to understand.

I celebrate freedom. Come and go as I please. Have expectations. Expect us both in partnership to reach out to each other and understand we are equally responsible for what we cultivate. Respect is needed and a deal-breaker if not given. Whether you are a relative, a friend, a partner, whomever, I just want someone to miss me. I want to make an indelible impact so someone will stay.

My wish still hasn’t come true. I am the one people can get over, get under, get away from, get tired of and get off. But I am not the one people fight to keep.

What a concept, the missable quality. I hear about the near break of couples, parents divorcing who are tortured at the thought of losing the other, I read the posts from friends in my social group, and I ponder, as if dissecting an algebraic equation, how does that happen?

I pay bills. Try not to yell. Attempt to keep the house clean. I call people and ask about their lives. I am regularly irritating and annoying. I am a person who showers and laughs and trips over nothing on the floor. I am a dedicated optimist who is never enough for another. I make mistakes and I am selfish. I pay attention and give gifts that seriously rock. I have irrational fears. Yep, still unmissable.

You are right, other people have problems and maybe you are not surrounded by the right people. Your idea has merit. But what if it’s every person with whom you come into contact? Old friends jump off the wagon, relationships implode, and I start over again and again. Recycling myself and pulling the blades of my embattled person (that still glimmer just a bit) from the trash heap. Each time, the number of these reusable pieces dwindles.

What is the lasting component missing inside me and what do you do when you don’t know what you don’t know? What a secure childhood would’ve given you, what chain-link challenges refusing to cease deliver you? Oh, I imagine it’s all good even as I am tossed away again, even as I wonder about the secret of any kind of relationship longevity and I push the hurt off — now, too many times to count. Even as I pretend, and pretend and pretend, my feelings detached, so I can save my soul without total evisceration.

What can I tell you as a survivor of abandonment? It is Trust PTSD, the belief that when you turn your head you will catch someone you love leaving the room or house. The door shutting quietly behind them because they don’t even have enough emotion to expend energy for you. You may never get over Trust PTSD and this can be a big problem you always bring along; a carry-on no one can see. You may never be able to silence the doubt that you are ever good enough even at your shiniest and most immaculate. Or maybe you don’t get what I’m saying at all. Lucky you…

Sometimes I miss people in the midst of them being right. In. Front. Of. Me. Because a disconnection exists in the relationship and I am absent that element — what is it? A lack of couple time? Calling a close someone for weeks and giving up on leaving messages because they never return your call? It’s then that terror seizes your insides to mangle you. It’s then you pluck up that pebble of pain and put it in your pocket. After a lifetime of gathering and carrying those stones, my pockets are heavy, my steps are slower.

I wanted to be missed, wanted to be a person others want more from because it was me. Someone to say I am good enough exactly the broken and weird way I am. But it hasn’t happened yet, I don’t have the belief I am healed. Or ever will be. My circle has likened it to hormones and these are the same people who will never read this article. They know I write, they know I pepper my social pages with happiness and mirth, but when they get a peek inside me, peeling back my skin and dipping their head in, they still go screaming into the cloak of the night, not knowing what they sought from me, just realizing it wasn’t there.

I have been told I never worry about you. What a lovely crock of a compliment. Am I person who lives like I don’t need others? Even as I try and soften and bend, is that who I am…a person who indelibly lives autonomously? While in the company of others? Am I making myself unmissable?

Understanding why you are not missed and why you can be let go is paramount to understanding what you are or aren’t offering to any relationship in your life.

Are you missable? Are you a person people can easily walk away from with barely concealed relief? If this is you, have you taken the time to do the self-work to figure you out? Are  you sanctimonious, unreasonable, a hypocrite? Who are you really if you are not missable. What have you done and how are you so unforgivable as to never be missed.

I admit it, I pretend and I think we all have to because that is survival against hurt piled up, hurt leaning into your body, so much of it, it’s ready to collapse on top of you and take you down.

This is my chance to find out why it’s not working in the world in which I currently reside, and I know to my marrow, this is the reason I am on earth. The unmissable weakness. So my soul will grind away on the question of what it means to be lovable, to share yourself with others, what it means to be accepting even as you watch a person you care about soul self-destruct. Where do responsibility to care for another and the need to walk away meet, and when do you take the action to do either?

I want someone to miss me. I am not dramatic. Anymore. That person existed many revolutions ago. I am private. I confide in few even as a write in an ambiguous tone. I am pushing myself to be healthier, I am trying to identify what my job is in this life. When it comes to the people who won’t miss me, I can’t force them to care, and I have no control.

When you are not missed it’s time to take stock of you and figure it out. Are you an abuser? A rager? An addict? An egomaniac? A religious zealot? Are you unmovable in your opinions so when people walk away they hiss out a sigh of relief? Do you take people through obstacles? Do you fight against your own job in this life, whatever that might be, a guardian, enforcer, peace maker, or teacher? Do you take the hard road even as your gut objects, do you listen merely to reply, cut people off because what you have to share wins in the war of one-upmanship? Are you close-minded, easily offended about issues which have nothing to do with you? Why are people not missing you?

People may never miss me, and that’s okay, because this is the definition of self-loving, when your love for yourself is not just protective but celebratory. And when that is bigger than the need of others to care for you what else can it be, but good as you strike the balance between pondering your dismissive value and accepting yourself as you are? Yes, I need to change, but I also need to love me, missable, or not. I need to love me and all the thinks I think which further my benevolent humanhood, the actions I take to care for others and share, the compassionate vein which throbs for those who are homeless, loveless, nearly lifeless. Because the truth is whether I am ever missed enough for someone to refuse to leave..I can still miss them.

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Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

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