I've spent a large part of the weekend living in my head and thinking of a parallel universe. It's a dangerous habit of mine, where I think "if this hadn't happened, I'd be doing this or that". It's a game which can sometimes be fun- "oh god, thank GOODNESS I'm not doing that!"- but for the most part leaves me feeling lost and a little confused as to how I ended up doing what I'm doing, and feeling how I'm feeling.
This time, I thought of the people to whom I've had to explain what a "tor" is. I was so caught in my head, I took a snap, before I realised that everyone who cares about me now knows what one is. I pictured myself wandering hand in hand with another person, or giggling down the phone late at night.
I don't recognise this girl. The Alice I know is independent, self sufficient, strong. The Alice I am at the moment is tearful, contemplative, quiet. She leaves the room when certain conversations begin; looks at her loved ones jealously, begrudging their happiness. She forgets to eat breakfast, and spends days at work with her headphones in, head down, quietly trying to make it through the eight or nine hours she spends at her desk. She doesn't bake any more.
I feel like this year, I've lost who I am. I've spent so much of this year being something else to someone else (multiple someone elses, in fact) that it has stopped me from thinking about the things that I am, that I want, that I need. I've spent days, weeks, months feeling guilty about asking for the things I need. Hiding what I feel to allow others to feel what they feel. Diminishing myself so as not to make others feel small. Hiding my feelings, hiding relationships, hiding in offices and stairwells and bedrooms and on trains.
I'm ending 2015 as a person I don't really recognise when I look in the mirror. The dark circles under my eyes, the sadness in my face, the set of my jaw that makes it look like I'm steeling myself against another blow.
I don't know who I am any more. I don't know how to get back to myself, either.
And that scares me. I don't want to be this person. I don't want to be sad, I don't want to be lonely, I don't want to pull myself away from the people who do care about me. But it's what I'm finding myself doing.
And I have no idea why.