I feel like most of my life I have always been an open book.
To a fault, really.
I never shied away from telling people the things I’ve been through or was going through.
That’s one of the most significant differences between myself and my sister.
While my sister has always kept her cards close to her chest her whole life…
I desperately showed mine to anyone willing to look.
Both of us were trying to survive but using different methods to do so.
One was protecting herself, and the other was crying out to be saved.
What people did when they saw my cards, I had no control over…
As long as they were willing to look, I was willing to share.
Now that I am a lot older, I am still willing to be honest, but only to a certain extent.
And that’s not just with people but even with myself.
The truth is, being vulnerable has never paid off for me.
In fact, being vulnerable now scares the hell out of me.
What will they think of me?
What will they do with this information?
What if they don’t do anything?
Even when I have attended therapy, I have never been fully vulnerable with my therapist because I never felt safe enough to put my guard down.
There’s always this part of me that holds myself back…
Because if life has taught me anything it’s that being vulnerable can screw you over big time.
Oh, I’ve shared superficial traumas with therapists and have faced all the issues that are obvious to even the untrained eye….
But it’s the stuff that it’s in the deepest, darkest corners of my life that even I’m too afraid to say out loud, that stays hidden and tucked away.
A couple of weeks ago, I was writing in my journal about how I am not even candid and transparent when writing in my own journal.
It was so odd to me.
And I was so frustrated about it….how everything I write about was so superficial.
It’s this fear that when I look back at it years from now, I’ll either be ashamed of how pathetic I was or sad because I’m still that same person.
I started this blog to share my journey — my feeble attempt at being honest and open about my struggles and the things I’m learning along the way.
But the truth of the matter is, as much as I have prided myself on being honest here, what I have shared of myself thus far only feels like the bare minimum.
Sometimes, I have even found myself thinking that I could have said so much more, but I hold back because I worry that someone will read it and feel uncomfortable or think that I am just desperately seeking validation and attention —
all responses and reactions I’ve received in the past when I’ve attempted to be vulnerable and honest…
This morning, I was innocently and nonchalantly working in a self-love workbook that I had hidden under my chair because some of the questions it posed made me uncomfortable.
So I hid it to forget its existence.
I had been avoiding it for months.
But, for some reason, I decided I would do some work in it and responded to two questions.
Before I could even write an answer, I found myself weeping.
When I could finally catch my breath, I responded with statements that I had never said out loud to anyone.
Thoughts that I had buried deep down inside my soul, were now written permanently in ink.
Thoughts that, even now, as I reread them in my mind, break my heart.
As I wrote them, I sobbed even more uncontrollably because it felt so heavy.
Hours later, it still feels heavy.
To know that I have spent my life with those feelings buried deep inside my heart, and have been living every day — even in the best, happiest moments of my life — with those thoughts rooted deep within me….
I never could quite understand why I always felt so sad or why I’d find myself, even during my quiet times of meditation and stillness, crying and feeling so lost.
I could never figure out what this pang in my heart was that I just couldn’t get rid of, and it has seemingly become more prevalent each and every day.
I attributed this sadness to PMS or just feeling moody/off…maybe all these melodramatic K-dramas are just making me lonely AF?
…but after this morning, I have realized those feelings I’ve been carrying with me and have been desperately trying to ignore all these years are not symptoms of PMS, loneliness, or mood swings…..
It’s pure and simply overwhelming grief and sadness.
Sadness for the little girl in me that was failed time and time again.
Sadness for the young woman who was not protected or saved.
Sadness for how much I’ve hated myself all these years.
Sadness for how much I’ve dismissed myself and dimmed my light.
Just pure and utter sadness.
Being vulnerable is not always easy or comfortable, or even safe.
There will always be people who will dismiss it or say I am just an attention whore who wants sympathy, validation, and attention.
I can tell you a million different things people will think and say because if they have not already said it to/about me before, I have thought/said it to myself.
The reality is that not everyone will receive or accept it.
And just like I had no control over what they did with my cards when I was younger, I have no control over it now.
But, I am exhausted, y’all.
Mariah Carey sings, in my all-time favorite song of hers,
“She smiles through a thousand tears
And harbors adolescent fears
She dreams of all
That she can never be
She wades in insecurity
And hides herself inside of me..” (Looking In, Mariah Carey, 1995)
And I think I’m just tired of hiding now.