Yesterday was a day of deep and profound realisations. I spent two and a half hours in a skype session with Therapist 3.0, and a considerable portion of the rest of the day reflecting on what we had spoken about. Such a monumental amount of thought patterns and beliefs have shifted that I can’t currently begin to describe them. One though, which is a wonderful shift, revealed itself to be a double edged sword this morning.
One of the biggest problems I’ve had for my entire life is a lack of belief in my own self worth. I have been almost pathologically unable to comprehend why anyone might want to spend time with me. When people are good to me, it feels amazing, but I haven’t been able to hold on to it because I haven’t been able to internalise the truth of what they are saying. It’s not that I ever doubted their sincerity, but rather that I just couldn’t accept that what they were saying was true.
I need to explain something else about how I’ve been up to now. I don’t like phone conversations because I don’t like not being able to see the person I’m talking to you. I’m pretty good with body language, and I know by looking at someone whether they’re really listening, whether they’re tuning out, whether they’re hiding something from me, whether I need to encourage them to tell me something……..I lose all of that in a phone call and it freaks me out a little.
Another thing is that I don’t have a large circle of friends. I know plenty of people but there are only a handful I would consider close, and of those, there are a couple I’ve met here, through this blog. The friendships that I’ve developed here are very different. They’ve started as an occasional mail, and then turned into more regular chats, but almost all are predominantly text based. Up till now, that has worked. We’re in different parts of the country if not the world. We lead busy lives. Making time for a chat on the phone doesn’t always work, but it’s easy to fire off a text.
Here’s the thing though. The ease of firing off a text has let me keep myself hidden a little. It’s kept me safe from getting hurt. If people only know the virtual me, they won’t realise what I’m really like, they won’t leave (I’m thinking this through as I write so you’ll have to forgive me if it gets all disjointed). But the virtual me is the real me. It’s the me I’ve been hiding from myself, the square peg version of me that I’ve been trying to fit into the societal round hole.
I’m not an extrovert. I don’t want to be in the middle of a large group all the time. I’m at my best in small interactions, and I’m far more comfortable having a conversation with people about their actual reality rather than the surface they present to the world. I value honesty, possibly above everything else. If there’s a problem, talk about it. If we can find a solution, if the friendship really means something, we will. I don’t give a shit about what you wear, what you drive, what you earn, what you do – I want to know who you are. I want to know what makes you tick.
I realise there’s an intensity to all of this that plenty of people aren’t comfortable with, and that’s fine. That’s who they are, and they should never have to apologise for that. I have spent almost my entire life apologising for who I am with every single decision I make. Except for here. Here, I’m me. Here, you’ve accepted me entirely as I am, you’ve seen me for who I am, long, long before I could.
I seem to be circling back to my original point, about the double edged sword. I’m not quite sure how to say it, but I think it’s something like this……..my fear of people leaving me, my inability to see any worth in myself, my inability to take a compliment……..it has done far more than hurt me. It’s hurt the people I’ve been unable to believe. Every time I dismiss a compliment out of hand, every time I deny the value that someone sees in me, every time I shut someone off – I’m denying them something. I’m sending them a very clear message that what they think, what they believe, is wrong. That’s not ok.
Because of all of this, I hurt someone yesterday, unintentionally, but so badly. It shook me. But, and this is very new – I didn’t go into a tailspin thinking the relationship was broken forever, because I knew that this was someone I could really talk to, and be honest with. We’ve had a virtual relationship for over a year, one that has been hugely important for me and I now know, for my friend. All I had to do was get past the trauma of actually making the call. This was someone I could pick up the phone to and actually talk about the situation with – what I said, what they heard, what they understood that I meant, what I actually meant – communication is a minefield. I’m not good at speaking my mind because my brain goes too fast for my mouth to keep up. I blurt things out. I use the wrong words. I get emotional. When I write, it’s different. I have time to think, to pause, to reflect. ‘Normal’ conversation doesn’t allow for that. It doesn’t allow for silence.
This wasn’t a ‘normal’ conversation. It was a conversation with someone like me, and I suspect, like quite a lot of you. Someone who understands how difficult it can be to articulate emotion, how easy it is to say the wrong thing, or interpret something entirely differently to how it was intended. Someone who can allow for pauses and gaps and awkwardness. Someone who can allow me to be me.
When I got to speak to my friend this morning, I was able to articulate (albeit very clumsily) just how important that friendship is to me. The very fact that we were having a conversation about what had happened, that we were able to hear each other out, hammered home to me what my values are, the values that started to become so clear after my session yesterday.
I’ll never be one of the gang. I’ll never feel really comfortable in a group. I won’t be the life and soul of the party. But do you know what? That’s ok! That’s more than ok. It’s who I am, it’s who I’ve always been. It’s who I’ve been hiding, repressing and ashamed of all my life. It’s who was able to create this blog, this community. I’m a little different, for sure. I’ve had a few (!!!) kinks that needed ironing out. But I’m not going to apologise for being me anymore. The me that I’m getting to know is actually pretty awesome. I just need a little more time to get to know this me better.