I mean, if I was trying to be a role model, I think I’d be a pretty crappy one.
Most of the time, my posts end up turning into a little lesson that I’ve been needing to learn, and though I still hope that people read and take something away from my blog, this post is one that really is mostly for me. It’s something that I ‘know,’ but for me, it’s counter-intuitive and I seem to keep forgetting it.
I’m also fairly anxious that at first glance this post might make me look pretty conceited, as though I’m trying to imply that people somehow look up to me, and I want to clarify, that that’s not at all the case… I know how many people actually read my blog!
But this post isn’t really just about my blog — it’s about who I am in my day-to-day life, too. Maybe it’s arrogance, or maybe just my insecurity, but I am constantly trying to put my best self (and my best self only) in front of others. It feels weird typing that on a blog where I talk about my craziness and all the various difficulties and struggles that I have, but my idea of my ‘best me’ isn’t a perfect me.
I want to be a wonderfully gracious, strong, and frank woman. I’m not interested in faking perfection while I crumble internally — I want to be a woman who faces difficulty with wisdom and proficiency, fights the good fight, and inspires others to do it too. A woman who doesn’t give up, helps others, and comforts them. I want to be a woman worthy of being a role model.
But I’m just not there yet. And that’s not what this blog is. This blog isn’t supposed to be about neat and tidy stories that have funky little lessons to take home with you, it’s just about telling the stories that get looked over all too often. Here’s a quote from one of the first things that I wrote on my blog, the ‘Why?’ page.
I haven’t [told my story] until now because I thought I couldn’t do it properly until I was ‘better.’ […] The more I thought about it the more it got to me. Why can’t we share the tough stories? The rough, unfinished, unflattering, undiscovered paths that are so common in mental health and recovery.
Rough, unfinished, and unflattering stories are not there to be inspirational — only to be there, or at least mine are.
I’ve caught myself one (or twenty) too many times trying to edit an idea, or a post, or even myself, to put a better picture out there for the internet to see… But why? I don’t need to, no one’s asking me to, and that was never even my goal. Even just by writing that question, my own mind shouts back at me: ‘Delusions of grandeur!’
I’m the first to admit, maybe it does come back to my desire for all of this struggle to have a reason; that maybe I’m meant for some ‘greater purpose’ where I help others by telling my story… Or, maybe it’s just my generation’s stereotypes showing through. But maybe it’s not.
I’m starting to think that it all stems from my incredible aversion to vulnerability. Okay, that might not be normal for someone on a personally expositional blog, but it’s true. I am pretty open about my mental health because I’m not ashamed of it. In most aspects, I’m sure that I’m not going to catch any flak or dirty looks when I talk about it. But, really, when it comes to the more nitty-gritty, day-to-day of my mental illness, I’m just not as sure.
My blog’s purpose is to talk about what’s not talked about enough, but I don’t think I’ve done enough of that yet. Writing about my Binge Eating Disorder and my night in the ER was really tough for me, but I think that those two might be the only posts I’ve done so far that really made me feel quite vulnerable. I really was talking about something that I believe isn’t talked about enough. Neither of them were meant to give advice or life lessons, instead, they were meant to shed light on the difficulties that I’ve faced in my recovery — their only goal was understanding.
I’ve never liked being vulnerable. Never liked opening myself up to the possibility of pain, however slight and whatever the reward. I shove my scariest emotions down and I keep them to myself, I won’t burden anybody else with them or give them the chance to tell me they’re wrong.
My past is littered with cases of my vulnerability being turned against me or plain ignored, so now I’ve got my walls up. The most sensitive, crazy, and broken parts of me don’t see the light of day — who knows what those would bring my way?
I’m just not ready to be hurt, so I won’t find out. My experiences have brought me two incredibly self-damaging core beliefs.
People can’t be trusted.
People will hurt me if I give them the chance.
So I refuse to give them the chance. I don’t do things when I can’t anticipate the outcome and I am always ready to fight back at the slightest inkling of confrontation. My anger is the emotion that comes before any others, without fail.
Even when I want to share, and I’m in a place that is objectively super safe, it’s like my body fights against me to make sure that it doesn’t get out. Too many times I’ve sat in my support group wanting to share the difficulties that I’m having and I can’t get it out. The thoughts flying through my head come faster and faster saying all sorts of ridiculous things…
What if they don’t think those things too? What if they just think I’m certifiable? What if they think it’s dumb? Mean? Wrong?
When will they use it against me?
It can be a very sad and lonely place to live, behind a wall of anger and feistiness. My problem is that I can’t seem to find any good evidence that this is not the case. I am trying, believe me, but my whole being is pushing back against the idea. Just writing this, my heart is racing and my hands are starting to shake. The paranoid thoughts are creeping into my head and I’m counting down the minutes until I can finish writing and leave the coffee shop.
So, this post is here to remind me that I am not here to be that wonderfully gracious, strong, and frank woman — at least not today. Today, I’m just trying to tell my story and get through my own shit.
Apparently, this post has ended up with a little lesson that I’ve been needing to learn, no matter how many times I’ve said it aloud, it’s hitting me so much more right now. I can’t get better until I start opening up to the idea of vulnerability again.
Damn you, magical blog-writing-fairy. You’ve made me deliver my own lesson. I get it. Fine.
So, until next week, what’s a lesson you’ve really needed to enforce on yourself?