I fight demons.
I have spent a lifetime acting like I'm "well-adjusted", but I'm not. On the inside, I feel a mess.
I feel like I have disappointed everyone in my life. I feel like I'm a disappointment to my parents and to my brother and sister. I am neither the son nor brother they probably deserve. What they may not know, is that this demon, this belief I'm a disappointment to them, keeps me from spending more time with them. When I see them, I see them seeing me. Most of the time I can't bear it. I feel like such a failure.
In my brain, I know I'm probably wrong. My parents and siblings have told me NUMEROUS times how much they love me, need me, respect me and are proud of me. I don't know why I see what I see. I don't know why I feel so small.
But I do.
Most days I feel like a failure as a teacher. I have good moments; a funny line or an understandable explanation, but most days I feel like I could have done more. Way more. I think I try to compensate for my demon by tutoring some kids outside of school. It isn't enough. I just feel like a fraud or an impostor doing what a "real" teacher should be doing.
I've won numerous awards for my teaching. 3 times Teacher of the Year, 3 times voted by students to read names at graduation, 2 times as an NHS Honored Educator.... It isn't enough. It isn't even close to enough. I feel I'm laughed at behind my back. A fool, a laughingstock, a mockery.
My demons are ruining me one day at a time. I've cultivated a life of solitude outside of my work where I don't have to see myself through someone else's eyes. I've pushed away everyone who ever loved me. I'm alone and most days, I'm scared.