I have been reading a book* about a transparent people. They are so open, that they can read each other’s minds. They do not lie, they have no secrets, they are not ashamed.
I was recently learning about picture books where the pictures tell a different story than the words, not only are the stories different, they contradict each other. I wondered if I could write such a story about my life: the narrative, what goes on in my head, the pictures, a depiction of my life. Would they contradict one another?
I am not prone to cry, even less likely to cry in front of others. Recently I found myself in tears, video chatting with SJ’s mom, feeling uncomfortable as I allowed her to see my humanity.
I have secrets. I am ashamed of who I am. I constantly fear the disproval of others. I am afraid to be wrong. I am afraid that if others really saw me, they would not like what they see. Therefore, I ponder many different ideas, but I act in a way which I think will be agreeable to those around me. If I do not know how they want me to act, I freeze. I do not think people want to see the negative emotions floating inside my head. I doubt they want to hear my apathy, I can’t be bothered to share much of it anyhow. I fear that if I share my fears and anxiety, others will fear what I fear, or they will disregard my fears, and disregard me, as nonsensical. So I hide my feelings, I hide my thoughts, I hide me.
This is a challenging way to live, and it be sure, I don’t think it is at all good for my mental health. My physical health seems to be suffering too. I want to change, I want to improve. I want to change the name of this blog, post it on my Facebook, and walk around naked (at least metaphorically). Change is hard, and I am afraid. Part of me is afraid that I don’t really know me, I don’t know who I am, not sure who I want to be. A big part of me is afraid that people will not like me if they see the real me. They will learn that I am pesky and miserable. I want to be a happy person, but when I am not happy, is it wrong to pretend to be content for the sake of others? Perhaps rather I should ask, is it helpful or harmful to pretend a mood.
It is also important for me to remember that I am allowed to change. Though posting on the internet is much like writing in indelible ink, and my past has very much shaped me, it does not define who I am today. My feelings, positions and perspectives are allowed to change, and are encouraged to do so. The aforementioned book* discusses how changing and improving are crucial in our lives, and provide us with purpose and meaning. The people have names that change and develop as they learn and become new beings. They celebrate who they become, they celebrate their accomplishments, not to boast, but as a way to acknowledge the goodness in and around them. They know who they are, they recognise their value.
Who am I? I am a child of God. Perhaps my greatest value in this life comes from being a child of God. Because he is my parent, I have potential to become like him. I am human.
I am a daughter of God. I do not believe I fully understand or appreciate this part of me. I do not mind being female, but I wonder if there are ways I can better be motherly towards children and youth.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a follower of Christ. I have chosen to take the name of Christ upon myself, and make and keep sacred covenants with my Heavenly Father. I desire to become like and follow Christ in all I do.
I am gay. I am particularly attracted to one woman, and I desire to express my love for her in a way that aligns with the pure love of Christ and the covenants I have made. I desire to speak more openly about my sexual orientation, but even when given an opportunity to share, I most often shy away. On a deep level, I am still ashamed that I am gay. Since I have yet to fully accept this part of myself, I cannot expect others to accept me.
I am a teacher. I love teaching! Perhaps one reason I so appreciate my job is that I can stand in front of my class, make a fool of myself and still be accepted. My inner class clown, the attention seeker I’ve always suppressed, has an opportunity to shine.
I’ve been taking anti-depressants for about 6 months now. I think they are helping, but I don’t want to rely on them for the rest of my life. I think if I can learn to be, love and appreciate me, I might not need anti-depressants any longer.
I am an auntie. I love my nieces and my nephew. I love spending time with them, though I feel like often my energy in inadequate.
I like to run, I like to bake, I like to write and I like to create, but interest in these hobbies waxes and wanes. These hobbies do not make me who I am.
These sorts of thoughts are not new to me. They are not new to my blog. I hope posting this post is the first of many steps to change. The process of reconciling myself with myself, may not be easy. Perhaps the next step will be changing the name of this blog, coming out to a few more people, or crying openly. Change may not be easy, but I believe it is possible, I believe it is worthwhile.
*Morgan, Marlo. Mutant Message Down Under. (HarperCollins, New York, NY: 1994)