I woke up feeling a little better today. Maybe because my head is clearer. Or maybe because I woke up to a sunny morning with light snowfall. I’m able to think things through without tearing up for the first time.

I think my low self-esteem has got me where I am today. Over the last few years, I’ve been thinking of myself as a strong, confident person. But perhaps that’s all a façade — I’m only as confident as the validation people give me; whether it’s romantic partners, friends, or colleagues. At the smallest sign of rejection, disappointment or simply lack of attention, the fragile ground I stand on starts crumbling under my feet.

Growing up, I’ve always received validation. Parents were always doting on me, teachers were praising me. But I’ve also been bullied and made fun of and hurt. I guess the latter has made me stronger? Or taught me to change those things that I can to protect myself from it. Together with the former though, those experiences have taught me to aim to please — to strive to impress and base my happiness on their approval of me (and inversely base my misery on their disapproval).

In the years that followed school, at uni and during the first years of work, I’ve built up a bit of character. Or so I’d like to think. I’ve learnt about myself and became a bit more grounded. But the foundation I was laying it all on must have been still been fragile.

In reality, meeting you was what brought me to believe in my own worth. There was finally a guy who’s got to know more of me than anyone else — seen me be sick, got to know about my past insecurities, seen my dishevelled, no-make-up, hungover face — and yet was willing to stick around. A switch inside me was flipped; I could suddenly go out and be this amazingly confident and flirtatious girl. Two things went awry with this situation however. For one, I was still reliant on your validation in order to carry on. For the other, I’d assumed that if you’ve seen my all and still loved me, there was nothing that could change that; sadly, I didn’t take into account the possibility of my own actions altering your feelings for me.

At first, your attention was all I craved. And it was more than enough. Previously, I’d only sporadically had that and it would usually dissipate (either because they would get enough of me or because I’d get bored). But this time, it seemed to be here to stay, regardless of me showing more and more of myself. Which made me feel not only happy, but also stable and grounded. But then when the novelty wore off, I started seeking more. It’s almost as if it’s never enough. So he came along, at just the right time.