Oh hey, I'm decades past 19 and I didn't roll my eyes or click over to a video of puppies falling asleep when I read this letter. (If I were LW I probably would've slammed my laptop shut after reading that line. Jesus.) I can relate to a lot of this, as throughout my adult life I've felt a little outside of myself, and as a result, deeply self-conscious about how I come across to others. I know it's a result of some mental health issues in my case, but I regularly feel conspicuous, incapable of expressing things right, and deeply embarrassed. Never quite sure of who I am. And then, to ease my anxiety, I'm humorously, frantically self-deprecating on top of it, which is tiresome to my loved ones I'm sure. I think it's a good plan to listen more to others and place less importance on yourself in general. And to go easy on yourself and give yourself the same amount of slack you give others. I remind myself of this daily. You're obviously a sensitive and thoughtful person, and I admire you for subjecting yourself to "oh sweetheart, you're just 19" remarks, which you don't deserve.
LW, I'm so sorry you haven't felt comfortable sharing this huge part of your life with your boyfriend for fear he won't give you the attention and care you deserve. What an awful, shaky feeling, as if the grief itself weren't hard enough.
I truly think good listening is non-negotiable. It might even be everything.
"My left ventricle."
Oh, this is wonderful. "I’ll consider myself lucky if I don’t have to eat you when you die" is the best thing ever.