I have been going through hell and high water lately. Lots of emotional turmoil and upheaval in my life.
One of my character flaws that I have noticed is that I have a tendency to run from my feelings and keep people out.
I am transparent and authentic to a degree. I’m real about my life. About the issues that are going on and how they affect me. But I do not share my feelings.
I don’t share my feelings with my friends or my family.
This week I decided to not only share my feelings but also my needs with my family and friends. I was surprised by the responses. I was crying in public and writing detailed emails to friends. I was open and honest on a level that I have never shared with anyone. And the responses were all overwhelming. Everyone was so nice, so loving, so great. I never figured I would get the kind of responses I did.
Since receiving these responses I have become sad. Have I been missing out? Its like the Grad banquet that happened tonight. When the emails went out about it I immediately crossed it off my list of things to take part in because it would cost money. I know $10 seems like nothing but when every dollar is rationed out it means a lot actually. $10 for one meal is astronomical. I would never spend $10 on one meal. The play I went to tonight instead was great. It was also $10 but someone else paid for that. I’m sure that if I had mentioned to someone who I wanted to go to the Grad banquet but chose not to because of the money that they, like my friend tonight, would have paid for my ticket into the banquet but I didn’t tell anyone. Now the good thing about getting 2 degrees a year apart is that thankfully I will have the opportunity to go to this banquet again next year and can then attend because I will know that I actually wanted to go tonight instead of thinking when I got the email that it would be no big deal to miss it.
So I missed out on the banquet…so what. It’s not the point of this blog but it was weighing heavily on my mind and I needed to write about it to stop thinking about it.
Am I missing out on something by not being vulnerable? When I told people this week how I was feeling and that I needed needs to be met I was never turned away. I have always thought that my needs are important but that no one could help me meet my needs so why talk about it. Everyone is in the same spot I am in and $10 would be a big deal to everyone so I cannot ask them to help me out. My friend Betsy and I had lunch last week and she asked me to think each day about what I need. This past Sunday I was thinking about what I need and what I needed was 1 bag of groceries. That was all I needed but I could not ask for it. Did I miss out on something by not being vulnerable and asking someone to provide a bag of groceries? Did I miss out on something besides the groceries?
In other words am I missing out on being close with people because I never share my feelings? My therapist is constantly asking me how I feel about things and I am constantly saying I have no idea. I don’t know how I feel or I would rather not deal with my feelings. So when I told my family how I was feeling and what I needed from them I was overwhelmed that they not only met the need but that they spoke some love over me. It made me cry, weep. I never knew I was so loved. Have I been missing out by keeping my family at bay?
I keep people at an arm’s length. I am authentic and I try to be transparent about the crap and bad hands I have been dealt in life but I am rarely authentic or transparent or real about my feelings. When I was surrounded this week by support and love (my roommate even bought me chocolate just because I needed it and asked for it) I asked myself if I have been missing out and I think I have.
I have been grieving this week for all the missed opportunities. I have been crying in public and allowing others to comfort me which is really hard. When my abusers abused me they convinced me that I didn’t deserve love, comfort, or getting my needs met. I believed them. I believed that I didn’t deserve any of those things. I didn’t deserve those gifts that God gives us to give to each other. I didn’t/haven’t let those things in because I believed that I didn’t deserve them. I have kept people out to keep myself safe.
The protections I have built have kept people out and have kept me in. I haven’t allowed my feelings, my tears to bring me closer to people and I haven’t honored other people’s’ feelings in the process. I judged people I didn’t know who cried in my presence as being less than because it made me uncomfortable. I saw them as people who I needed to help so that they could hold it together. How pompous have I been? Does it make you uncomfortable when you see a woman crying? Do you consider her less than?
I now know that I have been missing something and now is the time to work on the hard stuff of letting go of the protections and allowing others in. Its going to be a hard road but I believe I am ready to do the work.