Everyone thinks that being able to write is a truly marvelous thing. Sometimes it is. Other times, it’s such a struggle to keep the thoughts from spilling out of your nostrils that you have to hum really loudly to outdo the incessant projection of your fantasies into your real world. In case you still think this to be a wonderful experience, do read on.
I have a problem with using my words to express exactly what I’m thinking. Add to that my often delayed response to hurt and shame and you have a bubbling cauldron of trouble.
So now that you have a background, I’ll share a little story. As previously stated, let’s take a hypothetical angle to this. Okay? Good!
An old friend of mine – let us call him Peter – recently pointed out that I reek of independence. He obviously did not mean the good kind. He was not the first person to point that out. In fact, he was the third male friend to have cited this observation and so it sucked big time to hear it said to me a second time in under two weeks; the third strike would occur the day before yesterday. In the spirit of applying what I have learnt from Brene Brown about developing shame resilience, I started thinking about the things that trigger feelings of shame in me. This is where I go out on a limb and share, on the world wide web, what it is that makes me feel vulnerable:
- Asking for help. I don’t mind being needed, but I hate to feel needy.
- Reminding a close friend/relation that they owe me money. This makes me feel like a petty and exacting person every single time.
- Feeling like a third wheel. Sometimes, conversations happen around me that I cannot contribute to because I don’t watch TV, I haven’t been up-to-date with movies, I don’t read certain books, I have been so busy at work that I have lost touch with a couple of friends over the past few months (let us just count all of this year).
- Saying “No, thanks” when everyone is in on ordering pizza for lunch again or going out or meeting up or visiting a mutual friend. There are days – sometimes several in a row – when I would prefer to remain at the office alone or walk home alone or sit in my little house alone and just be with Michael Buble or the dim lights that seep into my room when the lights in my house are off.
- Feeling as if I need to explain my decisions/choices. I get defensive a lot. Even when it doesn’t show (which is not often). So finding the words to explain why I do not feel like: tagging along on an idea or taking one for the team or doing it with everyone else or not being a party pooper is a hustle. How do I put it frankly without boring you with too many details or coming short of explaining what I mean to say? Wait, why am I explaining my need for alone time to you anyway? I don’t like sitting to complete a half-done to-do list late in the day/night and having myself to blame for getting arm-twisted into something that may have been important but was definitely not urgent.
- Coming off as bossy and coming off as indecisive. The former leaves me feeling as if I am stuck in a tunnel and waiting to get run over by a giant truck traveling in my direction at 100 miles per hour. The latter makes me feel as if I’m in a perpetual state of falling down a cold bottomless abyss.
- Falling short. Whether it is of expectations at work or at home or among friends, family and strangers. I do not like to let people down where I should have been more capable of handling an issue whether on a professional or personal level. I have been told that I do not like blame and I have confessed to having the guilt conscience of a nun (although the opposite is also true if I should manage to block someone or something out of my mind completely).
- Like my rabbit breeding business which failed twice before even kicking off. The blame went round and round in my head until it landed smack where it started – with me. The worst part is not that I lost what was my life savings at the time, it was (and still is) that I lost my business partner’s money too. And it doesn’t help that he says that he signed up for it with the risk of failure in mind.
- Getting called out out loud. I hate feeling like a live manual whose every move and habit and likely breakdown have all been mastered. I don’t like most statements about me which start with: “Wait and see how she’ll react to…” or “You’re going to make her…” or “This is where/the part where she (will)…”. I don’t like experiencing the overwhelming and exhausting need to prove myself to people I care about. Trying to prove them wrong, a natural reaction for me, is equally painful and emotionally exhausting.
- Feeling dismissed. Have you felt as if you were there for someone more than they were willing to be there for you? Have you been willing to listen and be present, advising gently without fixing, only to never really feel as if you were receiving the same patient willingness to listen to your own hurt/frustrations? That is the one thing I feel I need to learn to get over.
I just realized that I am feeling pretty about myself right now. So I’ll stop typing now and get into bed before I actually break down.
I really hope this helps someone.
P.S. I wrote this last night. I’m feeling pretty good about myself today.