There are many things you don’t know about me, but more and more I’m letting down my guard and showing you the real me – beautiful, sexy, brilliant, funny, strong, insecure, petty, angry, resentful, jealous me. Me, in every iteration. A full picture. And I’m terrified. I’d prefer to present a picture-perfect image of myself. But not too perfect because then you’d have feelings about me. And my goal for much of my life has been to prevent others from having any feelings about me at all. Neutral is safer. Right?
Over the past six months of blogging, I’ve written about many of my insecurities. I long for people to read my work; more people, in fact, than actually do. The majority of my readers, other than my mom, have been other bloggers who also are exposing their inner selves. All good. You show me yours, I’ll show you mine. Deal?
I love getting comments on my blog. I can read and respond to them at my leisure from the safety of my kitchen. However, as my readership increases and people in my real world begin to get to know me through my blog, some have the nerve to comment to my face.
A family member recently said, “I love your blog, Mary. I had no idea you were so insecure!” She’s right. I am insecure. And for the first time in my life my insides honestly match my outsides. I’d love to focus on the idea that she’s reading my blog, enjoying my words! Instead I feel vulnerable and scared. Sharing myself with the anonymous Internet world? Exciting! Getting feedback in person? Terrifying.
So, let’s be clear: I want you to see me, love me, adore me (come here, come closer), and I don’t want you to see me so clearly (go away, too close). That dysfunctional dynamic describes many of my relationships to this point!
I come from long line of secret holders. Worrying about what others think is a full-time job and one I’ve signed up for on many occasions. Unfortunately, the more secrets I hold, the less likely I am to invite people in to love me exactly the way I am, flaws and brilliance in equal measure.
And lovability is the real issue, right? The message in my head has always been I’m only lovable if I’m perfect. Perfect people don’t have insecurities or issues or foibles. They certainly don’t have daughters who scream and hit and pick their noses! But I am real. And I want to be honest and trust that my relationships can handle me being more vulnerable and open. Or not. At least I’ll know.
My father told me the other day he wanted to talk with me about my blog. He worried I’d be offended and I assured him I would be, no matter what he said. He went on to express his feelings about an essay I wrote about my grandfather (his father-in-law).
I tried to justify the stance I took in the essay, but really my dad was telling me he reads my words. He sees me and has feelings about what I write. In a general sense, that’s what every writer wants: for people to have feelings about their work, positive and negative. I want people to feel, relate, disagree, but when it happens I hold my breath against the vulnerability.
No one wins. Don’t mention my work, I’ll resent you. Do, I’ll squirm in fear. Fun for everyone!
I believe I’m brave and honest for sharing what I do. And there’s plenty I haven’t chosen to share at this point. I may in the future. I may not. I do know that I am being more authentic than I’ve ever been and showing you a side of me I rarely show to others, even family members.
I find it terrifying to be known, to be seen. If it weren’t terrifying, I wouldn’t have hidden behind perfect images of myself for so long. I’m ripping off the masks and letting you have a real look. Hurry up, I can only take it for so long before I put up my walls again.
I’m looking for someone, a brave soul, to hold on to the voices in my head that tell me I’m making a fool of myself writing about this; the voices that say “Who do you think you are?” More and more the answer to that question is “I’m me. Beautiful, wonderful, imperfect me.” Finally.
I’m linking up with the talented, supportive community of writers at Yeah Write. Check it out and come join us!