The most important things are the hardest things to say.-Steven King
I’ve loved this quote since 8th grade. It’s so true. The most important things are the hardest things to say. For me that’s things like “I love you,” “You hurt me,” “I need you” or “I need help.” It’s also as simple as just telling someone that I’m not ok. I hate saying I’m not ok. Even to myself. But admitting I wasn’t ok last August finally got me to start being ok again. I’d been feeling so good about myself lately- working out, working on myself. It was such a tough year last year and I am finally on the road back. Or so I thought.
Last week something unexpected and awesome happened. I met a guy I liked, we went out. And then I lost my mind. Completely. 100%. Somehow meeting someone woke up the craziest, most insecure feelings I’ve had in a long time. The ironic thing was that I thought he sort of liked me too. But for some reason, in my head, that didn’t matter. Couldn’t be. What my head instead filled with was doubt. I second guessed every single thing about it. It was torture. No matter how many times my friends reassured me how great I was or I reminded myself of my good qualities it didn’t matter. In my head I was an unlovable loser who wouldn’t get the guy.
And because of those thoughts running through my head, because of my overwhelming insecurity- I didn’t get the guy. Totally drove him away. I actually pointed out my insecurity to him in a joking way in a text, somehow thinking my honesty would be charming? Or that he would reassure me about how great I was (which he could never have done because he doesn’t know me at all. )
And then the embarrassment set in. The total humiliation of my insecurity, my neediness, my weakness. I was mortified. I wished I could take back my texts, my actions. What I really wished though was that I could take back my vulnerability. I felt exposed. I had been spending so much time trying to appear strong- fake it til you make it, right?- that here I was showing myself for who I really am. To a virtual stranger. Years ago I was in a bar with a friend and someone I didn’t know that well and I started telling some story that was obviously painful for me but I was trying to joke it off. And when my acquaintance went to the bathroom my friend turned to me and said, “Don’t do that. Don’t tell people those sorts of stories. Save them for your friends who love you.” I was dumb struck. He was right. I’ve always been an open book. And I’ve always joked away the things that mattered most to me. I’ve prided myself on being (nearly) totally honest. But being honest doesn’t mean being totally transparent, totally open. It’s something I often forget (and that my parents have to remind me of when I tell them too much about my life.) I need to learn to edit myself or, at least, to know my audience. And save the things that matter for the people who know me and who will care and show kindness. I need to not joke away the things that are important, that hit the true heart of me. Clearly, this guy was not the right audience. No matter how kind he might have been (and how would I know, I don’t even know him) that was something I should have saved for someone else.
Kindness. This is something I also pride myself on. I try to be kind to everyone; even strangers. Everyone, that is, except myself. I am rougher on myself than anyone ever could be. I do not give myself a break, I do not allow myself to have rough days. Or I didn’t. Until my lovely friend Elisabeth told me for the umpteenth time that I need to be kind to myself. And then someone else told me I had to be my own best and loving parent. Then I finally got it. This week was terrible for me. I hate being vulnerable. I was embarrassed. So embarrassed. But the past few days I’ve finally realized that it’s ok to be vulnerable. To admit that I want love. That I actually want to be loved so badly that it sometimes makes me a little nuts. And it’s ok to be a little nuts. We all are. That makes us human. It’s imperfect and messy and sometimes we’ll be embarrassed. Which is great. Because everyone has those days. And there are people in your life who will love that about you. They’re the ones you tell these stories to.
I’m still a little sad over the events of the week. Still wish I could take them back or have a do over. But I’m not beating myself up about it. I’m learning from it and next time, and I know there will be a next time, I’ll be a little kinder to myself when I start to feel insecure. I’ll appreciate my vulnerability. I’ll make sure to cut myself a break.I can be true and honest and vulnerable and it’s ok.
And I’ll probably put it out there. In some way. But definately not in a text to the guy.