Reflections: Later, the Same Day...

It feels that way sometimes. Like the space between then and now is a string that could be folded in on itself, and I could walk across as easily as crossing a room. But it's not that simple. Things have changed, in little ways. I've grown, in little ways. Perhaps not observable to most. But I've always observed my surroundings, myself, the string between then and now, with a piercing gaze, wondering why. Wondering what keeps me here. I know why I came here first, a year ago. I wanted to escape, to dive into something separate from myself yet wholly myself, to find something to be excited about, immerse myself in, a place in which to heal, and move on.

I came here slightly broken, in need of a distraction and emerging (and perhaps still am) from a difficult transitional period in my life, one that turned my self-image upside down. But I have no one to blame but myself. I must look myself in the mirror with a mixture of self-loathing and, if I'm honest, questioning whether "given half a chance, would I take any of it back?" 

 Someone once told me "you are entirely without pretense." I suppose that meant either A. I am woefully naive or B. My mind doesn't naturally focus on ways in which to deceive others, nor am I typically cognizant of the ways in which I could be deceived myself. I try to fly under the radar here, but still, I observe, and watch all the ways in which people in this manufactured community deceive each other and seek to tear each other down, and for what? Isn't there enough pain and suffering in the real world, for people to feel the urge to hurt those they've never met, that they don't really even know except in truncated and compressed images and expressions? Does it make them feel better to act out their life frustrations in a controlled environment, where it's easy to just walk away and not see the hurt on the other person's face, because, in a way, they aren't real? Or do they simply not realize the damage they can inflict?

I don't mind that I fly under the radar, that I'm not the most popular, the most talented, the most anything. It's unnerving putting myself out there, out here, at all, let alone promoting myself as a sort of streamlined, universally palatable brand in the hopes of gaining followers, who, for the most part, wouldn't really be interested in what I have to say. That approach can work for some and can be done quite tastefully, but me, I'm too mutable. Some days I want attention, want to connect, want to be heard and understood and remembered. Other days I feel a real desire to live alone in a tree house or in a cabin a la Walden Pond and just write all day for no one. No expectations or judgements leading my hand. In a way I don't want to shine a spotlight on myself, open a door to the kind of needless emotional vivisection that is running rampant. So perhaps that person wasn't entirely right about me. Trust doesn't come easily, at least not with any regularity or predictability, and I haven't always been cognizant of my ability to hurt others, feeling that anyone could actually care enough about me to be hurt by me. For a long time I was not aware of my power in that way, but I am now. So, between then and now, that has changed. And that's a start.

Coming here was easy at first, not feeling like anyone was listening, that I was just writing for myself. Now, even with just a small audience, I have to train myself to not try to please everyone, to not censor myself in the fear that someone will read me the wrong way or not like what I have to say. To allow myself to ramble as I see fit about whatever I like, to not edit myself into oblivion. But why do I worry about it? People read me wrong every day. People in my daily life see me a certain way, and I don't often correct them, because that would require vulnerability, something that also doesn't come easily to me, because I usually associate it with rejection. It's not that the image I project isn't me, it's just a sliver of me, a watered down version that simply makes it easier to get by. It's all I give most people permission to see. Some people are impressed by my ability to not care at all what people think of me. They have it all wrong. I have erected so many walls in my life to protect myself, because if I start to care at all what people think about the 100% unfiltered and authentic me, I would start caring entirely too much.

Growing up even as a child I would often wake up in a cold sweat, with this nagging sense of dread and fear, not knowing what was wrong, until I realized that at some point during my day I had shared some personal truth, however minor, talked too much, laughed too loudly, been too "out there." That I had somehow opened a door that could never be closed. Like having a dream where you're walking around naked and can't find a place to hide. Then I would ruminate on what I should have said, what I did wrong, what the other person must think of me now. Lamenting that what had seemed like a brave and confident choice at the time now seemed like a horribly foolish mistake and how could I? Social anxiety is a bitch.

I've walked that straight and narrow path my whole life, partly because I want to be a
upstanding, ethical person with high standards for myself and others, and partly because I grew up with a mortifying fear of making a mistake. Then I came to a crossroads in the past couple of years, where the pain and disillusionment of being let down by others who couldn't meet my standards, and the paralysis of abiding by them myself, caused something to snap inside. Id took over, and logic was skewed. As long as a few walls were coming down, I reasoned, why not just say to hell with every last one? It was my perverse way of freeing myself from the cage I had locked myself in. It was the wrong way to do it, and it didn't make everything better or easier.

That's why I came here, to create a space for me to be myself, the most inclusive version of me, a place for me to be light-hearted and warm and fun and sensitive and thoughtful and free, the best attributes that I could take away from that time, the moments I want to hold onto, and to leave the rest in the dust. A year later, and I'm not quite as far along as I'd like. If I actually publish this, even as vague and open to interpretation as this is, I still fear that I will wake up in the night with that familiar, nauseating, cowardly fear: oh, no, I've said too much. It's so much more complicated then this, and the reasons why are many. The scars are still there, and the memories and loneliness still haunt me, but I don't want to drag it into this space, this healing space. That was me. I was not possessed, I chose. I am not entirely with pretense, and I must own that imperfection, without letting it hold sway. We all have a shadow side, whether we like it or not. We all have the capacity for selfish indulgence, to hurt without regard, to set our lives on fire just to watch it burn, because it hasn't gone the way we planned. We all have that capacity, but what we do with it is a choice. A choice we have to keep making and committing to every day.

I'm writing this to remind myself that I'm doing this for me, that I can't please everyone. Don't be concerned that all of this seems like the proverbial tale told by an idiot: sound, fury, and sentimental blathering. I'm writing this mostly for myself, because this voice is a part of me, and I need to stay in practice. Some people will think I'm weird and too serious and talk way too much about what seems like nothing, but I can't change that. In my heart I know my intentions are pure. It saddens me to see others tear each other down, and I want no part of it. I have learned my lesson, and have had my fill of that hurt, both giving and receiving. So I will hunker down here away from it, keep sharing my truth as it changes and evolves, and welcome happily anyone who wanders in.

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  1. Happy 1 year blogiversery! Great post! Still not completly sure all you are refering to... I understand some of references to the nastiness that has been going on in this community recently. Glad you are here and sharing part of your life with us!

  2. Thanks Peach! I would be quite surprised indeed if you understood all my rambling. Really, it's just personal life stuff I needed to write very generally about for my own peace of mind(anniversaries put me in a reflective mood) and I have also been very disheartened by all the "drama" in the beauty blogging community. I'm of course not personally involved and don't know enough to speak about it in an educated way, but what I see I really don't like. This is supposed to be fun and supportive and a creative outlet, and it saddens me when people turn it into opportunties to be underhanded and catty and manipulative. It's just sad. I'm glad I seem to attract the nicest and most accomodating followers though (perhaps my crazy ramblings filter out the bad eggs, lol!). Thanks for all the kind comments and support :)

  3. Happy blog anniversary! A milestone indeed :)
    I'm always glad to read your thoughts and the way you write reflects your personality. Not all blogs have a personality, yours has a beautiful one. Looking back, a blog can be like a time capsule, like a body of work that you should be proud of :) Keep writing! x

  4. @Su: Ah, you always know just what to say, thank you! That's sort of how I look at it. I have diaries saved reaching back to the first grade (though my entries were often just something like this: "I went to the zoo today. It was fun. I saw animals. It was fun.")For the past few years I didn't really write much because it seemed like nothing much was happening, and I regret that because I don't remember as much, it feels sort of like a big gaping hole of time in a way. This blog is great motivation to just keep writing. Sometimes it will be about things that I hope will benefit others, sometimes it will just help me work out my thoughts and help me mark the time. I'm really pleased you enjoy it!


Please leave me comments if anything strikes your fancy or if you have any helpful suggestions. Remember, I'm no expert and am just sharing my truth. Hopefully you will find something useful to take with you!

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