***Update*** I’ve gotten some of the nicest, most sincere responses to this, and I appreciate every single one. I’ve tried to personally respond to each of them, but for some reason, WordPress is giving me issues and won’t accept all of them. If I haven’t replied to your comment personally, please know that I did read it and really, truly, appreciated it. Thank you to everyone who commented!
One of my favorite bloggers, Ez of Creature Comforts, just wrote this awesome post about her “real” life- not the one portrayed in every post. She’s not the only blogger talking about this reality – she even linked a huge list of other bloggers participating in the same challenge.
I’m going to try to participate, too. Here goes:
(Warning: this is a long sob story that may or may not have a point. Read at your own risk.)
Even as I try to openly admit here that I’m nervous about being brutally honest, there’s this nagging voice that says “Seriously? Like anyone cares about what you have to say.” I’ve been half-heartedly blogging for a few years now, and my goal really wasn’t ever to build it into something serious until recently. But, in the past few months I’ve been trying really really hard. What changed? Well, to understand that, you have to know a few things about me:
I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life. It isn’t that I’m not ambitious or some kind of slacker; actually it’s the complete opposite. I want to do EVERYTHING. Everything. Seriously. I have a million interests. My mom says I’m too influenced by the power of suggestion. If you were to send me an interesting article about… clouds, for instance, I’d probably spend the next few weeks devouring everything I could on the subject and decide that I wanted to be a cloudologist. After some time, the next interesting article would catch my attention and clouds would be replaced with whatever the newest thing was. Okay- maybe that example is a bit extreme, but it’s very close to my reality.
I’ve always been “that” girl. You know, the one who was never “cool” because she didn’t have the right clothes and liked all the weird things, and whose parents didn’t let her do all the same things as the other kids. In high school, I was fortunate to have a big group of friends and acquaintances who were pretty accepting (band geeks), but in middle school I was bullied a lot. I was the only kid from my Catholic elementary school to go to the public middle school, and I was really *not* hip at all. I wanted to stand out, and I did… in all the wrong ways. Giggles and whispers followed me everywhere I went; there was even a group of girls who would follow me out of my classes every day and follow me down the hallway, taunting me. I would have things ripped out of my hair and held up while they giggled and told everyone that my mom shopped at Goodwill (this was before thrifting was cool, folks). The boy I liked told me I was fat in front of all of his popular friends, and I believed him (funny thing was- I really wasn’t fat at all). At a school dance, the preppy girls paid him to ask me to dance, and then stood around and laughed at us. As I’m writing all of this, more and more memories that I had forgotten about are flooding back. There was always this one little hopeful, trusting part of me that would think “This time will be different! They’ll surely like me now!”… except it was middle school, and that just doesn’t happen. I know this isn’t exactly an uncommon experience; middle schoolers are brutal, and at that age, no one knows how to handle it. Somewhere along the way, I made a decision (conscious or unconscious, I don’t know) to just be indifferent. I developed Chronic Bitchface (it’s funny, but it’s not) to ward people off, and developed an extraordinary use of sarcasm as a means of self defense. I was (and still am) far too prideful to admit that it affected me. I started to believe that everyone was like that – mean and hurtful to anyone who wasn’t like them. It struck me that I had become my own worst enemy when an old friend from elementary school went to college and met one of my classmates from high school (I didn’t know her very well, but we shared some classes). He asked if she knew me, and she said “Yeah, she was a real bitch.” I was shocked to hear that- I’m not a bitch, but I always assumed the worst of everyone else.
Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve learned that everyone struggles with insecurity and most people aren’t truly mean, but my gut reaction is always distrust. Especially because I’m still “that girl”. The one with the weird hobbies. The one who doesn’t go out to the bars and party because she’d rather knit.
I know very few people “IRL” who are like me, so I go online. I blog for an audience who “gets it”. The same kind of people who go to the store and don’t buy things because “I could just make that myself’, or the people who are inspired by everything and need to make all the things.
Here’s where this all ties back into my secret fears (I told you we’d come back around). I read tons of other blogs written by people who seem just like me – but I still feel like I’m “that girl”. Like I’m back in middle school, trying way to hard to get people to like me, stupid enough to believe that they ever will. Like everyone else looks down on my blog and secretly thinks I’m a loser. Like even the good and kind people are just tolerating my existence, humoring me. I bust my ass to make sure everything on this blog is perfect, so there are no chinks in my armor. I show no weakness.
There is absolutely no good reason for me to think these things. But I do, and I don’t know how not to.
BUT here I am, showing you all the one giant chink in my armor. The thermal exhaust port in my Death Star, so to speak. I feel like most of these type of posts need a succinct summation of all the important parts, and a nice, well-rounded moral of the story; a happily ever after. I don’t really know what the moral to this story is. I’m not even 100% sure it all makes sense. I’m exhausted after writing it, and I don’t really feel like double checking to make sure it makes sense. I think I’ve thoroughly presented myself as a cliche at this point, so ¬†I should probably stop.
I guess the real reason I wrote this is that all of the other posts struck a chord; their collective honesty was so similar to my own story that I thought I should share mine in the hopes that I’m not alone in it. It feels like a huge risk, but if only a few other people raise their hands and can say they know how I feel, I think it will be worth it.
If you have your own “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” post, please link to it in the comments! I like reading them. Make sure to check out Ez’s list of other posts, too.¬†