I don’t feel like writing this post
Is it okay not to “feel it”? Because I just don’t feel it. I commented recently that I have all kinds of things on my mind right now, but I’m blank at the same time. Does that happen to you? Do you ever have a whirlwind of thought and emotion tearing through your brain…that just won’t come out in any kind of meaningful way? Nick just wrote about when he was younger and more inclined to put down random thoughts without caring that they would impact no one, and that’s what I believe I need to do.
And I’m contemplating honesty. I’ve received several comments regarding my honesty on this blog, and then last Friday my Aunt Carine said the writing was very honest. It shook me a bit because it’s something that I really desire, but I don’t see it. I have shared, on this blog and others, that honesty is what I want for myself, that for me there is no point in blogging if I am not willing to stretch myself beyond these self-imposed emotional boundaries. And I have forced myself to say things, on this blog and while commenting on others, that made me feel vulnerable, that have made me feel, in my mind if no on else’s, open to ridicule.
On the other side of that, because most people don’t comment, I have very little indication of who has been here, which adds to a false sense of anonymity. I have made no secret of this blog, but I’m always surprised to find that someone I know “in real life” has read it. And little by little it has become evident to me that it’s more people than I thought. Still…it’s burning in me, now especially, that I want to be very honest about what’s going on in my life, what I’m thinking and feeling. At the same time, I have a desire to protect myself, what is in my heart, to not share.
To not come across as a nut or a kook or unstable or just someone who has weird thoughts.
It has been far easier to be open and honest in blogland with people I thought were strangers. So why is it that people who already know you, that already have an opinion formed of you… Why is it harder for me to shake those thoughts up, to add a new dimension to that opinion? It’s a risk. It’s a vulnerable feeling to open up about myself, to expose personal things that could be viewed as shortcomings or defects. I feel that if they know these things about me – I’m wondering if they will look at me and see the shortcoming. Will they look at me and be viewing the thing that I revealed about myself? Or will they see a more well-rounded and complete picture of who I am? In short, will they judge me? How will they judge me?
Which is a ridiculous thing to be worried about, because – let’s be honest – I have no real clue what people think of me now!
In the end, does it even matter at all? In the end, isn’t the most important thing to be Yourself? Isn’t that what I’m working toward – an ability and a confidence within myself to be true to who I am, to be comfortable with who I am, to embrace who I am?
And that means all of it…the good, the bad, and the unstable.
I like to be honest in my blog too, but for me there’s the likely outcome that someone will have hurt feelings. Honesty for me is sometimes really really mean and I have tried to learn that many times being gentle is more important than being right. It’s a long long road and I’m probably only 1/4 of the way there. In the mean time, my blog has been closed down to people I might injure. My in-laws and my parents, for example, can most likely not deal with my version of truth because it has way too many curse words. Instead I have surrounded myself with a small group of people who can accept the things my warped brain comes up with and love me anyway. I feel like i do that for their protection, not mine…but then again, I guess you’re right about protecting yourself as well. I like to think I’m not so worried about what people think, but I do…we all do. We’re all just works in progress, huh?
Yes, you are very right – we are works in progress. Don’t I know it!
There are times when I wonder if I should have been completely anonymous, but…I’m just not that person. For one thing, I’ve got a big mouth and I can’t help but talk about things 🙂 . The trade off for that is that I have to give extra thought to what I write, and there have been a few times when I backed out of a piece or edited for the reasons you mentioned (what’s the point of hurting someone’s feelings, anyway?). Mainly, though, what I am inclined to hold back on is my opinion and my feelings. Right now, I’ve got some things I want to write about that make me uncomfortable. But I’m going to do it.
Also, I was expecting much more cursing on yours, and was almost disappointed. I shouldn’t say so, but there it is 🙂 .
hahaha you must not have read the latest one yet.
I can’t wait to see what you have on your mind. spill it, sistah.
I must not have! And mine’s not bad, just personal. I’m fairly certain it will be disappointing now, LOL.
We’re taught to consider others so much we forget how to listen to ourselves. The million dollar question is what do you think of you? Say whatever you want and those who accept you for you will be there. Sounds selfish but its really quite graceful. So don’t worry about anything and just be true to yourself!
Thanks – more good advice from CW! I think you’re right about listening to ourselves, but sometimes there are a lot of voices in there with me. I suppose – no, I know – they are the voices of naysayers and criticizers past, but it’s so hard sometimes to shut them up.
I have nothing revolutionary to say, to be honest :), but it’s still hard to be honest. I know that not much, if any, of it will be a surprise to those who know me well, and still it’s intimidating. One thing I need to write about feels like a weakness, and I’ve been belittled about it before. I think that’s the biggest suck, is the fear of not being taken seriously. Ridicule – that’s a hard one to face.
That said, you are 100% right and good in your advice. You must be true to yourself.
I hear you 100%. I’ve noticed this myself – in my blog and in “real life.” I’m to a point in my life where I feel like I’m really ready to be who I am … not who people want or expect me to be. But I’ve found this is MUCH easier with people I don’t know … who don’t already have expectations. I’m getting there … very slowly … and usually the reaction of people isn’t nearly as bad as I expect it to be, but it’s still very hard.
I, too, feel more ready now than I have ever been. But I’m having trouble with the “who I am” part. Sometimes I feel like I have a grasp on it, but then she’s gone.
And expectations are…that’s possibly the hardest part. I wonder if I’m reacting to what others expect of me or what I think they expect of me. Maybe that’s why people don’t balk as much as we think they will. In any case, those who love us truly…”Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds…” Gotta love Shakespeare.
Oh, and one more thing for us to keep in mind: Learning to Love the Sum Total by Malinda Essex. I think that works in both directions.
Is it odd that I often find the answers to my questions in my past blog posts? 🙂
Not odd at all! I find answers there, so why shouldn’t you? 🙂
You should click on the link to Nick’s blog, it’s about journaling. There are a couple of comments about learning from what we’ve written, and one in particular that said we often already know the answer but don’t realize it until we go back and read our words again.
Very few people in ‘real life’ know I write a blog. I have found when I do tell someone I know about it, they kind of smirk. I get the feeling they don’t like I’m stretching beyond what they see as what I’ve always been, a woman who works, takes care of the kids and hubby, follows the rules, doesn’t make waves, who’s just average in suburbia! But like Malinda, I’m at the point in my life where I’m ready to be who I am. Not to say this doesn’t make me very nervous! As you say, “Why?” Do we want people to know the real us or the fake version? I would rather know the real version of anyone I know, warts and all, then not truly know them at all.
I’ve only had one person smirk at me. Other people have been curious or surprised and some people have not had any reaction whatsoever, which is interesting too. My Smirker was quite inconsequential to me, and still it made me feel funny, like something was wrong with me. Ridiculed. Ridicule sucks. I do think that the average Smirker-I-actually-care-about-which-hurts-worse-because-they-should-support-me is possibly uncomfortable with wing-stretching because that can sometimes lead to flying away. In my experience, they come around once they realize you’re not going to leave them in the dust. If they don’t come around, then they weren’t so much of a friend as you thought.
This is the intriguing question: what is the real version of me?
Part of the reason I wrote this is because I needed to. And the other part of the reason is because I knew I would find support. Maybe that’s what I needed most of all. I knew there would be people here who understand, among my friends who are also strangers. There are three people who I fully expected to respond, and here you all are, all three in a row. A wholly unexpected aspect of blogging for me is what I have found on other people’s blogs. I have been encouraged through other people’s writing and examples – and their own questioning – to want to be the best me and the truest me and the honest me – the fullest potential of myself. You’ve all certainly encouraged me and in many respects have shown me the way. I’m so grateful.
Who you are is great. That’s why we’re here.
I should be more specific. You’re one of the most perceptive and insightful people I’ve ever met (I’ve said that before). You notice things in my writing NOBODY else notices, even styling choices that say something about what my mood was while I was writing. It’s incredible. You noticed something different about a post that I wrote years ago even though I never said I posted it years ago. Very few people can pick up on that kind of subtlety. You’re uncertain, which I know from experience can be frustrating and worse, but I appreciate it because it means you’re open. You believe in genuine dialogue. You follow up on comments to your posts and comments to your comments on other people’s posts. You keep the conversation going rather than say your piece and then leave. You’re obviously meticulous and a hard worker. You care enough to check in on people when you sense there’s something going on with them that is making them behave differently. Your comments a few days ago, in the middle of my gigantic blogging gap, spurred me to post something. I’m sure that was not lost on you. Well, basta! You get the idea. We love you for who you are because we’re all better for knowing you :). I hope my comment didn’t come across as an argument against what you wrote in your post. That’s now how I meant it… I just wanted to explain why it’s hard for me to be fully open in person the way I sometimes am in my blog. There’s one big fat paragraph for you!
Uncertain – that’s dead on. Is it at the root, that’s a question for me to ask myself.
Meticulous and hard working, I don’t know…maybe not so much. A dog with a bone, perhaps, not letting go.
In the interest of being honest, it was lost on me :). I admit I was hoping to spur you to consider that things could turn out great in Kentucky. Obviously, there was a delay in posting from when you came home, but I assumed you started writing and then stopped. I can’t think of another reason you held it (you don’t normally do that, I don’t think). I figure you are sad and having some second thoughts. It’s hard to write when you’re sad, at least for me.
I think some of it may be a simple trick of the light, but I’m glad you think I’m perceptive. I mostly feel pushy, but I prefer your version. Anyway, you’re awfully nice and a big boost to my ego. If I were even five years younger, I’d hit you over the head with a stick and drag you back to my cave. I believe in time you would learn to accept it. 😉
I struggle with the same things… Michelle, this is going to be the least thoughtful comment I’ve posted on here, but here it is: Sharing everything with the people I see every day makes life too complicated for me to bear. It doesn’t HAVE to be that way. It may well be my problem alone and have nothing to do with my friends. It may be that I would worry too much about how friends would interpret the things I share about myself. Also, I’m a different person even to each of my best friends. My best friendships are authentic and real, but they are all different, and I believe that there is in every relationship a little bit of role playing, some of which we’re aware of, much of which we’re blind to.
A student of mine once asked me why I wore dress pants, a dress shirt, and a tie to work every day. Most teachers don’t dress that formally. They wear polos at best. Coaches dress like they’re about to take to the field and play their sport. I told my student that the shirt and the tie (especially the tie) helped me feel like a teacher. They were part of the uniform and helped me slip into the role of “teacher” and to leave behind all of the other roles I play in life.
Obviously the dichotomy between work self and home self is generally more extreme than the different ways we present ourselves to friends and family. But (I think?) it helps me make my point: these roles are real, and they influence how I act, what I say, even how I dress.
I took a little longer to respond because I needed to think it through a bit. I’ve come to the conclusion that there simply isn’t room here to have that conversation. I’ve got too many questions and it would take you too long to go through it all with me. Plus some of it’s just none of my business, really.
I guess my primary question is why is it too much to bear? And is it really? Also, in the end, would it make life less complicated instead of more? These are questions I’m asking myself too.
We’ve talked before about the roles we play, or more accurately, it’s how much of ourselves we reveal depending on who we’re with. Maybe it’s just which parts of our personality we pull out at that moment, and I can’t find fault in that. I do know that what you say, “those roles are real” is very true, and perhaps those distinctions of self are even necessary.
Thought-provoking post. The anonymity of my blog – and the fact that none of my “real life” people know about it – allow me to be much more honest in it. Sometimes it lets me confront things with myself. Still, I find myself holding back. I think that might show that it’s not so much about my relationships with other people as it is about how ready I am to expose everything myself. That doesn’t mean I’m not honest with myself – just means that I might not be ready to put that honesty on display. In any case, I think there is a place for filters in society. It might be beneficial to know what we WOULD say if we were willing… even if we don’t actually say it. But one of the things we have to accept about ourselves is our boundaries, once we know where they truly lie.
There is a lot in your comment for me to think about, and a lot of words stick out for me. Confront. Expose. Filters. Boundaries.
You’ve made an excellent point about accepting our boundaries, and that’s something I need to consider – why are these self-imposed boundaries in place and which ones do I really want or need to challenge?
The other great question to ask myself is how ready am I to expose some of these feelings? What is the value of putting them on display? Thanks for your comments, you’re helping me work this out in my head.
I love this string of comments. I can so identify with so many of these thoughts. It brings up a whirl of thoughts that I rarely express. I just recently told a co-worker that I felt like my whole working life I had spent as a fraud. I dressed up and played the part that was required to fit in and move forward in the job I had. I have only had one job that I can remember where I was mostly myself. Even now the job I am desperately waiting to leave I find myself playing the role.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel comfortable enough to not shield myself from others. I think that many times I change my ‘self’ to fit the occassion and mood around me. It makes me feel like such a phony.
It is amazing to me to see all these comments. I love the way everyone phrases their remarks. I see so many different points of view and envy the apparent ease of divulging all these thoughts and emotions.
I love your blog.
And I didn’t mean to ignore what you said, I’m just self-absorbed :). I can’t imagine you not being yourself, but I can relate to not letting ALL of yourself show. I think thesinglecell is right in that those filters are in place for a reason. Would you have succeeded in business without them? Maybe, but we all necessarily conform in certain ways to be not only accepted but admired at work. I can be a real brat, but I try to hide that aspect of my personality at work. Unluckily, this is one thing about myself that eventually rears it’s ugly head – bratty me will not be hushed so well. Which leads me to wonder why it’s so easy for some of those things to show themselves, but not others?
I think the question is what exactly makes you feel like a phony? And are you really “being phony” or are you just feeling insecurity? Is there more to your personality that you would like to access at work but feel unable (unwilling)?
Also, just to clarify, none of what I feel right now pertains to my “work image”. I reveal as much there as I wish and don’t wish to reveal more. There is a filter or personal guard put up at work that I believe is necessary – that is a place of business. I miss Zany Brainy and the closeness we had there, but I do see that personal boundaries are a good thing when you are at your job.
That’s the point, I think – it’s not easy at all.
Or, let’s say it’s easier in this environment. I’m sitting here typing on a screen. I’m “alone”. I have time to think about what I want to say, then erase or rephrase as needed. And then, there is the fact that only two of you (commenting) have ever met me face to face. Only two of you have known me all my life. It’s easier for me to be honest with people I haven’t met – they have no expectations of who or what I am or should be. (And I don’t think you or Krys are judging me either.)
Anyway, it’s not a place of ease that I am writing from, it’s more a place of necessity. Mine is not so much the role-playing, it’s more that I want to grow. There is a person inside of me that is hushed too much, out of insecurity and timidity. I really want to break down these walls I’ve made for myself and let her loose. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel that if I let go of some of the things that I guard about myself – if I am more honest about who I am, my fears, my insecurities – then they will be negated.
It’s like when I did that class for work – I was nervous as hell. The first thing I told them is that I was nervous and I might make a fool of myself. Once that was acknowledged, I was able to teach without that fear. If I made a mistake, I could laugh it off. My subsequent thoughts weren’t focused on what they thought of me or my mistakes, because I had addressed it. I had made it less important, which allowed me to be myself more – even to say out loud, “Oh, I just messed up, let me backtrack…” without feeling self-conscious about it.
Here’s the thing, though – I don’t have anything huge to divulge. Most people would probably think, “So what? That’s it?” But we all have our issues that make us uncomfortable, and some of the littlest things can feel really big.
“Mine is not so much the role-playing, it’s more that I want to grow. There is a person inside of me that is hushed too much, out of insecurity and timidity. I really want to break down these walls I’ve made for myself and let her loose.”
This is me. It’s a scary thing to break down the walls because we built them to protect ourselves. Breaking them down makes us vulnerable. But, won’t it be worth it? I think it will!
I think so too! I think I need to question why I built this or that wall and then ask myself if I really still need it.
Maybe when your sisters come you can just randomly do something totally strange. Or at least strange for you and your sisters. You can call it practice. I’m thinking that it’s all practice – once you put it out there, each time will get easier. Then you can write about it and inspire us all.
For me, just going around town and *gulp* talking to strangers and telling them I’m taking pictures for my blog, well that was strange for me and totally scary. I talk to strangers all the time, but the blog stuff made me feel vulnerable. I guess it’s the fear of ridicule factor again. But I didn’t feel as self-conscious when my sister was with me, even though we would stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take a random picture – two women, a baby, a loose 4 year old and a stroller just jamming up the place.
Funny, I woke up this morning wondering if I was close to being back to who I am after being pregnant. Those hormones really jacked me up this time. Then I wondered Who Am I? I’m not sure I know anymore. Every moment I am honest and real. I told Steve when we met that I would never be less than me. Never be dishonest. And I have treated him like a blog of sorts. Every feeling, thought or whatever I share with him. Poor poor Steve. But even when I’ve bared it all, who am I anymore.
And then when you were saying about not wanting to be judged my brain went to “well your being judged now, always” so after you write there is no difference you are still being judged. But you went a little different direction. Something I don’t like to think about. You don’t know what others think of you anyway. We’ve spoken about that before though. That I don’t think I am likeable. hmmm I guess we all have these things that nag at us.
I don’t know if we ever really have a true grasp on who we are. Or at least I don’t. I know what I like, what I enjoy doing, what makes me happy on the small scale. But I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my work life, where I really want to live, what makes me happy on the grand scale. I think we are so many different things all at once. We are complicated.
I do believe that you are honest and real, and I think I am too. But that doesn’t mean that we share every part of ourselves with everybody. And I don’t think that we need to or even should (unless that’s natural for us). I’m glad that you have Steve for that – sharing all the parts of yourself. I think that’s important. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me sometimes, maybe I need a Steve-type person.
It is so true what I said – we have no real idea what others think of us. Even when they tell us. The thing is, we are harsher on ourselves than they are. Granted, there are people out there that think they are the shit and have no idea that others don’t agree. Ah, ignorance is bliss! But for people like you and me? I think we judge ourselves way harder than other people do. There are reasons you think you are unlikable and we’ve touched on those before. But I hate that it’s something you feel and think that holds you back from seeking out friendships, but others don’t see it that way. Yes, you are real and you tell it like it is and you don’t hold back. But you are not mean, you don’t say harsh things to people, you don’t call them out on their bullshit (outside of the immediate family, anyway 🙂 ), you don’t tear people down. You’re funny, you’re generous with your home and your stuff, you offer help and mean it, you have already promised to care for me in my old age and that is a legally binding verbal agreement.
Ultimately, for me, I’m working on not caring or focusing on what others think of me. I would be a different person on the outside, how I present myself to the world, if I cared less about that. Even strangers – why should we care what a stranger thinks of us? I don’t mean acting like a lout or being rude or anything. I just mean, when you find yourself bopping to a song in the supermarket, why should you stop for fear that someone will think you’re nuts? This is the only life I’ve got – why shouldn’t I enjoy it? The same goes for weight. Sure, I’ve got a fat ass. So what? That doesn’t preclude me from enjoying a swim, so put on that bathing suit and jump right in. Insert your issue here. So what? Jump right in and enjoy your life. Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.
I think I’m going to have that embroidered on a pillow.