Looking At Myself(ie)

Posted On: 10.28.14

JK Selfie

For the past month of the HERE Year, Lindsey and I have been looking at Friendship. It’s a meaningful and wily topic and one that intrigues me to no end. What does true friendship look like and feel like and how might it evolve? Does forming and navigating friendship during childhood mean something different than doing the same in adulthood? How can we find loyal friends and be them ourselves? These are all questions I’ve been thinking about, but enough about me. Today, I bring you a thought-provoking, endearingly vulnerable and wonderful post from a friend of mine. Jamie is a writer and a mother and I just know something in what follows will speak to you. She and I both look forward to your comments!

Looking At Myself(ie)

by Jamie Krug

I have been taking a hard look at myself recently, and I haven’t liked what I’ve seen.

The genesis of this introspection came when I was watching that new sitcom “Selfie”, which is loosely based on “Pygmalion” and “My Fair Lady”. It follows the character of Eliza Dooley – a woman in her 20’s that is obsessed with her image and spends most of her days carefully curating her life around what she posts to Instagram and Facebook for her 200K+ followers.

I always check out a few of the new shows each season, and this one seemed like it wasn’t going to make the cut to remain on my DVR list as it served as background noise while I perused a magazine and simultaneously checked Facebook. That was, until she uttered the line that snapped me back to attention.

“All my friends’ names start with @ symbols.”

That stuck with me, became figuratively lodged in my gut and my mind for days afterwards, and has remained there since. The more I sat with it, the more I realized that so much of my identity has been determined by whom I know. I want to say this has only been the case recently, but I think that maybe to some degree it has been like this my whole life.  Who I think I am has been wrapped up in the fame or accomplishments of others, of who they are – to the point that it has eclipsed any chance I had of retaining an identity of my own.

I do not feel as though I am enough as I am, “as is” so-to-speak. I realize that I have subconsciously felt the need to piggyback on others, on my associations with them – as though there is a carbon copy transfer sheet between us. As if I am close enough to them, some of their talent, the praise and adoration they receive will rub off on me. As though that transfer will make me worthwhile of someone’s friendship, love and attention – as though it will make me worth something, anything at all.

So many aspects of my life and my friendships have been somewhat aspirational for me. They have been akin to Pinterest boards for people to peruse – a collection of flat relationships – so many names and faces without significant depth of connection that I had put out into the world in the hope that their light would reflect onto me and make me shine, if just for a moment.

“I know her” all-too-quickly morphed into “I want you to think I am like/as good as her. I want you to want to be close to me because of that.” Or not because of that – but I’ll take what I can get. Because it’s all I thought I could get – all I thought I was worthy of.

I would happily tag along to places I didn’t need to be, drive the extra mile for friends – both literally and figuratively – in order to be there, to be seen, to ensure I didn’t miss anything and wasn’t forgotten. I assumed that they wouldn’t do the same for me, that I wouldn’t have been deemed worth the extra effort, and I was probably correct in may cases. The problem was that I never allowed myself to believe that there were genuine friends I had that would have met me halfway, that would have thought I was worth the trip, the miles, the time. I was too blinded by self-doubt to see the difference.

All because I didn’t think I was enough on my own. I thought that people wanted to be close to people who were successful, dynamic, had things happening for them and were making things happen for them. I see myself as someone that things have merely happened to. Both the fortunate and unfortunate are just flukes and bad luck, respectively.

And then this silly show came on and got stuck in my head. That single line questioning the importance of being “friended” versus having friends, and learning the difference.

Though it was not a conscious effort, though it came out of a place of insecurity and a desperate need for connection, I am ashamed of where I was – of who I was.

But I see it now, and I know where to start from. It is from cups of coffee, and real conversations on the phone. From lunches face-to-face and concerning myself with what the people in front of me like, rather than how much I am liked or how many “Likes” my photos and posts will garner.

It is learning that what counts is who I think I am and what I am worth based on where I am at – not how many “@’s” I can count.


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14 Comments for: "Looking At Myself(ie)"
  1. Jamie
    This is beautifully, rigorously honest, and I respect so much what you say. I agree with you, as I bet you’re not surprised to hear – first of all, you ARE worth the driving, the effort, and you ARE enough, just as you are. But those relationships that get to that level are always going to matter more than the other, superficial stuff. I see so many people preoccupied with things that don’t personally bring value to me, and sometimes I fret that I’m missing out on something major – what am I not seeing or understanding? – because I simply can’t get worked up about some of the superficial stuff. But I can’t force it, so there you go. I love your writing and am grateful to have met you and look forward to many more years of real, authentic friendship. xoxo

  2. It means so much to me that you included me here in this wonderful and ambitious project. I am admittedly a bit nervous – and nauseous – about spilling my guts onto these pages, but I have trust in your readers that they will treat me gently. Perhaps they will feel a ping of familiarity within my words, as well…? You have been incredibly generous to share this space with other writers, other women, other people just trying to make it through (as you have been throughout our entire friendship), and I am supremely grateful for that… xoxo

  3. Jamie – I certainly could relate to this piece. It was, as Lindsey wrote, brutally honest and vulnerable, and it must have been hard to put your heart out there like that. But I appreciate that you did.

    In this digital world with cyberspace being one of the places we curate friendships, it’s no wonder we have feelings like the ones you discuss in your piece. How is it possible for us to develop true friendships with all of our “@” friends, while maintaining the relationships we’ve had for years with people in real life? I think one would go mad if she attempted that. It’s all about finding a balance, I think.

    I wish I lived closer to all three of you ladies, to be able to meet for lunch, talk writing, and laugh and work on the IRL part. But what I’ve learned from my years of blogging so far is that eventually, we’ll find ourselves at the same writer’s conference. And we’ll have the chance then.

    Beautiful work, friend. xoxo

  4. I am not sure if this was easy or difficult for you to write, but I truly appreciate the raw candor you share here. I think so many of us have those feelings of doubt about our worthiness among certain individuals, for one reason or another, and even if the circumstances are not exactly the same for me and where my self-doubt about friendships originates, I GET this. I so get this. I wish more people would be open about it like you were here. Thank you for that.

  5. Amanda

    Aidan, this strikes me as something Moglen would love. (Jamie, while that means nothing to you, it’s a big deal!). And I loved it, too.

    • Jess

      First, Amanda – this makes me laugh, and I agree :).

      Second, Jamie, I have to say that I loved your piece. More than anything after the picture it surprised me. My first thought when I saw your picture was “wow, Aidan has some gorgeous friends.” So then to read that you feel unworthy of friendship and genuine relationships was really surprising. Not so say beauty makes people more worthwhile or whatever but usually it helps with the confidence of assuming we are worthwhile. All that said, anyone who has the candor and self reflection to see what you see is certainly worthy of friendship and connection and love and respect.

      I can speak from experience when I say Aidan is a wonderful, genuine friend so you have already started on the right path forging a friendship with her. Best of luck on your quest for connection. It will be totally worth it for you, and it seems to me that it will be totally worth it for the friends you make along the way.

  6. I appreciate your honesty too. It is food for thought, for sure. Thanks for writing with courage.

  7. Jamie, thank you thank you for these honest and beautiful words. Even though we’ve never met in person, I consider you a friend of the “true” variety (because can’t that mean so many different things? Even just supporting each other’s work/writing/lives is a kind of friendship in its own right). And thank you, Aidan, for posting this! xox

  8. Sam

    Jamie, this is really beautiful and I get it. I so get it. I have been there before, so many times. It’s always a struggle to focus on the people who are the real deal and the ones who will get down into the trenches with you, rather than the number of likes on a Facebook picture, or the number of friends whose names begin with the @ symbol. I think your place to start is absolutely the right one. Be gentle with yourself, friend.

  9. Jaime, honest and beautiful!

  10. Jen

    Jamie, this is so raw and honest. I hope it helps to see that you have all of these kindred spirits – people who so, so, get it. When I worry, which is often, my new mantra is: “I will operate from my core. I am loved. I am enough.” And I do start to believe it. You are enough. Just as you are.

  11. Jamie,

    Bravo! I know you only know me from Instagram, but I can’t wait to read the words that you write and you nailed it with this one. Self-doubt knocks on my door on an every-other-day basis and I appreciate forums (blogs, Instagram, FB) where I can get to know someone on one level. I look forward to getting to know you in person when I visit New York. Keep on, keepin’ on, girl.

  12. Whitney

    Boy…I think you may have just jerked ME out of my funk. I think I’ve actually generally been the other type of friend…the one who doesn’t go the extra mile…the “taker” if you will. I don’t really know why this is but I’ve always sort of attributed it to being sort of a loner. I don’t really mind being by myself most of the time and I really only maintain a very small number of close friendships. But, your post, along with a recent situation with a close friend in which she and her husband seemed genuinely suprised when I offered to help her move one evening, have made me realize I need to do a better job fostering at least those few friendships that I do value. Because I don’t want them to feel the way you feel…like I wouldn’t go the extra mile for them.

    Thanks for this!

  13. A ping of familiarity? Oh yes. As a girl (even through college), I was always so quiet, an introvert to the extreme, that whenever someone gravitated to me, I instinctively questioned it. Am I worthy to be their friend? What could they possibly see in me? What do I possibly have to offer? To me, Jamie, you come across as one of the most genuine and authentic people I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with through the blogging world and social media. So much so that I kind of assumed you’re a people/friend magnet. 🙂 Thank you for being so open about something I’m willing to bet we’ve all grappled with at some point.

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