I really don't know who I am. I know who I used to be. I used to be someone who did stuff for other people. I worked 2 jobs. I worked in an elementary school and I worked with special needs kids doing in home visits. I also ran my own business promoting self care, but I've never been able to do it for myself. I started going to college but it wasn't for me. I've struggled with school my whole life. I always wanted to be better than I was. I wanted to be the top of my class and feel successful. I started going to college and hated it from the start. I struggled and have always had a problem learning. I never knew why I was going. I had some idea but I was never passionate about it and I never had a long-term goal in mind. I almost finished cosmetology school but also hated that because working with clients made my anxiety skyrocket. I've felt so much pressure not knowing what I wanted out of life. I see people going to college, graduating, getting married, starting their own family, getting their dream job. But none of that is me at all.

I thought I would be married by now. I thought I'd probably have a baby by now. I've put so much effort into being the girlfriend/ future wife that I should be, for someone that I never realized was never giving me the same in return. I stayed in relationships where I would never be put first even after them actually saying "I will never put you first."I stayed with people who let me down time after time. I stayed with people who belittled me into not chasing my dreams and shooting for what I wanted in life. I stayed in relationships where we strongly disagreed on politics and lifestyles. I stayed where I was screamed at. I stayed where I was abused. I stayed where I wasn't safe. I stayed with people who I thought wanted what I wanted in life. I was so blindsided by what I thought love was. I'd still say I was in love, with my first relationship at least. My last relationship in the moment I'd say I was but now I just wonder if I was obsessed with the idea of what love could be. I don't know what love is now. I don't believe in it honestly. I believe that I have very high standards that I will never lower. I also don't believe I will ever trust again after being told "I can't wait for us to be a family" the day the trauma happened. It's funny how they all said they were going to marry me. I don't think I will ever be good enough for anyone, but I also don't think they I'll ever be good enough for me. I shouldn't have to change anyone and they shouldn't try to change me.

I went in the hospital suicidal. I got released from the hospital suicidal. I am still suicidal. I wish I would have learned 'who I was' during my month long stay in two different mental health facilities. Instead I learned a whole new version of who I wasn't. I learned that music is triggering. I have sensory issues. I can't stand loud noises. I can't stand speaking in group settings. People are disgusting. Coloring and writing infuriates me because I am so shaky. I can't have a roommate because I don't trust them to not hurt me or steal my belongings. I get manic and bite, claw, scream, and hit myself in the head. I have attachment issues to the people who bring me comfort and make me feel safe. I'm never going to get the help I truly need for my depression.

I came out of the hospital paralyzed. I lost my jobs. I wasn't working in an elementary school. I wasn't working with special needs kids doing in home visits. I wasn't running my own business. I wasn't going to college. I remember leaving the hospital balling. I was leaving a routine. I was leaving a schedule. I was going home paralyzed. I was losing a relationship with the patients who became friends. I was leaving a phone free environment. I wasn't even thinking about my jobs. I was so focused on how scared I was leaving the hospital. I was scared leaving the place that traumatized me, the place that paralyzed me.

I think the hardest thing now is not having my jobs. I think the hardest thing is knowing I will never be able to be that person again. I probably won't ever be able to go back to that environment, that job. Because of my physical health but also because of how embarrassed I am for how things ended and how fast they ended. I can't imagine doing anything else. I know that every single day I worked, I faked a smile because I've been fighting depression for so long now. But I also know I loved my job. I loved the kids, I loved my coworkers, I loved the energy, and the fast paced environment. But I lost that. I messed that up by going in for help. I lost that because of a stupid guy who screwed my life up. I lost my chance at being in a happy and healthy work environment.

I know I'm not happy right now. But I think I'm even more miserable because I'm not working. I'm not doing what I love. I'm not around smiling faces or little innocent kids with the best stories and personalities. I'm not forcing myself to fake a smile anymore. I'm not the person I used to be. I'm stuck at home or at appointments where I'm stuck in a body I hate with a person who I don't even know. I faked a smile so often but that's also what I was used to. I never had free time. I worked a job, went to the next job, came home, worked on my business, and did my school work. Most weekends revolved around doing school work, making product, packaging orders, doing events, and hanging out with my partners. I didn't have free time. I didn't even have time to watch TV. I didn't have any time to do anything independently. I don't even know what I like to do because I didn't have time to learn that about myself. I've been working since before I got out of school.

I know I like to travel, hike, camp, and walk the beach. But I can't do any of that daily and I can't do any of that on my own or independently right now. I loved dancing and singing but I was never great at it. I know things I love. I love fuzzy blankets, the color pink, flowers, sunsets/sunrises, the smell of campfires and pine trees, the sound of the ocean waves, and looking at Christmas lights. I love friendships with no pressure where you can be wearing sweats and no makeup, and not feel judged. I love writing notes and giving gifts to people who I love and care about. I love clean spaces and cooking yummy foods. I love schedules, routine, and knowing what comes next.

That's the problem. I don't have a consistent schedule. I don't have a strict routine and can't stick to one since I don't 'have' to get up for work. I don't know what's coming next because I'm paralyzed and can't work. I can't clean to my standards because my body can't keep up. I miss coworkers and saying "Good Morning" to everyone. I miss having people who made me feel like I mattered and that I was actually someone. I miss having little ones wrap their arms around my neck or knowing I was a safe place for them.

I feel so lost in life and don't even know what's next. I can't 'just put one foot in front of other' because I really just don't have a reason to. I don't have a purpose because all I'm doing is going to appointments and crying all the time. I guess working was my purpose. Working kept me going because I had to. I miss my old life. I miss it so much.

Who am I?

With love,

Aspen Sage Baxter✨