It’s been a long time since my last blog post. I’m not proud of that, but the long rest served its purpose. A lot happened in my six months of silence. A lot of that time was spent deciding whether or not I should write about what I was going through. I really wanted to share my insights about what happened, but I knew that the people who knew me may not have a favorable response. The other option was to write with unforgiving censorship, but that would push the limits of honesty. That’s why I decided not to write anything at all. I’d rather keep quiet than lie.
So, what changed my mind? Hmm… Let’s just say that most of the reasons why I couldn’t be honest already opted out of my life, thus forfeiting their right to react to anything I write. (Disclaimer: You know who you are and if you happen to come across this post, do yourself a favor and close the window. If you think you can keep your judgments and reactions to yourself, you can read on. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
I received a few messages and comments saying that though my posts were “good,” they seemed too impersonal. My voice lacked a human element. My readers knew my opinions, but barely knew me as a person. Those comments led me to a path to self-discovery. Here are the things I learned about myself the past few months.
1. I am
an extremely private an unhealthily secretive person.
I am a storyteller who came from a family of storytellers. That was a learned skill. I had to learn. Otherwise, I would never get a word in edgewise come dinner time. I won’t deny that I can say a LOT in very little time. You should hear me speed talk. It even gets to a point when my mouth couldn’t catch up with the words in my head that I stutter. But that means nothing. I tell stories, but they’re rarely about me.
I spent most of the past 150 days cooped up in my room… by myself… and I liked it. Some of the circles I used to belong to would never consider that I am a natural introvert. Ask the kids at my old church and they’d tell you that I’m very outgoing. It didn’t help my rep that I had a number of opportunities to speak in front of large crowds and barely showed any sign of nerves. I was known as the talkative twin while my sister was the quiet one. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I can say a lot about a lot of things, but if you really knew me, you’d know that I can be physically incapable of saying something, anything, about myself. This very inconvenient handicap makes it near to impossible for me to have real relationships. I could be going through a special kind of hell without anybody noticing. And in the rare moments that they did, they couldn’t pry the story out of me. I’d tell them off and say that I’m okay. I know I hurt some people because they felt like I didn’t trust them enough to share, but I just couldn’t. At least not right away.
This is not good for me. I know. This is one of the big reasons why I struggle with depression more than a normal person should.
It hurts me to know that certain people whom I cared about very much think that I have the capacity to “overshare.” If you really knew me, you’d know how hard it is to get to know the real me behind all the walls I put up.
2. People who claim to know me know very little or nothing at all about me.
This is a direct result of the first point. I’ve been very successful in keeping who I am from people that I’ve mastered the process of creating a persona. It’s quite simple, really. I show a few sides, some emotion in certain situations, and the people liberally fill in the blanks.
Well, most of what they fill in aren’t true. What’s even worse is that the people I cared about believed these “creatures” who claimed to know me. They didn’t even bother to ask me directly. They just believed them.
There’s just one person outside my family who knows a big deal about me and she’s living in Australia. Anyone else is making false claims.
3. I convinced myself that I didn’t care about what other people thought of me, but I very much do.
I know people see me as the classic, emotionless, brutally honest b*tch who is incapable of love. Yes, they try to mask this opinion by hiding it behind compliments like, “I envy your strong personality” or “I wish I can be as passionate as you are,” and act like they really care, but I can see behind that, ladies. I wasn’t born yesterday and this isn’t the first time that someone’s prepped me up for a good stab in the back. You can’t fool me.
I tell myself that it doesn’t matter what people think of me so I could go on and fulfill my (and most times, other people’s) duties and responsibilities. I keep working and I work hard not to show my emotions, but it hurts really bad. I wished what people thought about me were true. It would make my life so much easier… and painless.
4. I DO CRY… just not in public and not when someone else is already crying.
If I find it hard to talk about my emotions openly, imagine how hard it is for me to show these emotions. I work very hard to keep my emotions in check all the time. If I didn’t, I’d be a sloppy mess all of the time. So, I only acknowledge my feelings when I’m in the safety of my room. That’s when I cry… big time. When I start, I find it hard to stop. In the beginning of my solitude, I developed a routine. I start after 1:00 AM and finish when the sun comes up.
Here are my reasons:
- I try not to cry in front of anyone because I don’t want them to harbor any negative emotions towards the person/people who hurt me.
- I don’t cry when someone else beat me to it because I don’t want to steal the focus away from them.
- Crying never did me any good. In the few times that I let people see me cry, they either found me weak or thought that I was pretending.
5. I am fiercely and blindly loyal to anyone who’d take the time to show me a bit of kindness.
When people betray me, it’s always a blindside. Haha… I would NOT do well in Survivor. As much as I would want to consider myself as smart enough to notice if someone is just throwing me a bone, I’m not. When someone tells me that they care about me or, God forbid, love me, I believe them with all of my heart. It’s been very easy for people to lead me on. Even when someone told me that these “friends” were plotting against me, I didn’t believe them. I even told them off saying that they couldn’t possibly do that to me. Yep. I’m that pathetic.
I found out in the past few weeks that people who claimed to care about me and love me like family said (and are still saying) very hurtful things about me behind my back. I wept for days.
6. I always blame myself for anything and everything that people do to me.
I cried not because I feel that they betrayed me. I cried because I blamed myself for causing them to make such drastic moves just to get rid of me. I cried trying to figure out why they felt the need to discuss my shortcomings among themselves instead of approaching me. Maybe I didn’t make them feel comfortable enough to be honest to me. Maybe I didn’t do enough to make them feel that I cared about them. I should have done something really bad for them to do that to me. I couldn’t hate myself more.
7. I don’t fight back when people hurt me, but if anyone I love gets hurt, the game changes.
Hurt me and I will run off to my room. Hurt my family and I will burn you down and salt the ground to make sure that you never recover.
8. If you think I’m tough based on what you’ve seen so far, that’s nothing, dearie.
That’s me holding back. I know how people tick and I’m sure I can get you where it really hurts, my darling. You don’t want that.
If you already took offense in anything I’ve said so far, you will not survive one tiny encounter with me. I can reduce your self-esteem to ashes in a couple of words. If my “intelligence” made you, your siblings, or your children feel inadequate, that is not my fault. God knows how many times I played dumb and bit my tongue so as not to come off as arrogant. Imagine how it would make you feel if I really tried. If you consider my discretion as dishonesty, think really hard before you ask me for the truth. You’d probably prefer the silence over my full disclosure. There is absolutely no way that you will come out unscathed.
The past days have been rough. I don’t expect the next ones to be any better, but it’s okay. I’m free to be what God created me to be. I no longer have to shortchange myself or undersell who I am in order to make people feel good about themselves. I don’t have to second-guess myself because, for the first time in my life, the phrase “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” rings true.
Things are going to change around here. Expect my posts to be more personal and real. Since I no longer have to protect the people who declared open season against me and my family, I can state things from my perspective without fear. Anyone who disagrees is free to approach me or you can keep on discussing how awful I am among yourselves. Only this time, I wouldn’t care one bit. This time, I won’t be surprised.