here’s the thing.
i can be so fucking plausible. i can go out in the world and meet people and seem totally okay and like i have my shit together.
(and it’s not all a complete act. some of my shit is definitively more together than it used to be.)
but a lot of it is an act, and i’m beginning to feel like the act is the thing that’s stopping me from being totally okay and having my shit together. what if my survival tactics are only keeping me surviving, and stopping me from actually living?
this is such old and well-travelled territory that i kind of don’t have to sketch it out for you. you ask how i am, i say fine, even when it’s not the truth – especially when it’s not the truth. it’s the well-established british way of things and man does it work out. except when it doesn’t. and nobody ever talks about it except in a superficial “haha we all say we’re fine when we aren’t we’re so cute and funny in our repression” kind of way.
because the thing about the act is there has to be a space in my life where i drop the act. there has to be a point where i tell someone actually this is not how my life is going, things are falling apart, i’ve forgotten how to do a big shop and go to sleep on time and i am struggling. and the struggling is not some kind of ‘girl interrupted’ angelina-jolie-smoking-a-cigarette looking struggling. it is me sat looking at the asda app on my phone feeling utterly useless because i don’t actually know what normal people eat and i’m scared that even if i did know i wouldn’t enjoy it. lying in bed, wide awake, surrounded by fully £73 worth of sleep aid products. it is me desperate to tell people the truth but deeply embarrassed and concerned that you will think i’m lying about how sad and scared i am because i have convinced you that i am never sad or scared. it’s this kind of opposite crying-wolf effect. i have convinced people there is no wolf, from inside the belly of the beast.
and some kind of cosmic debt eventually has to be repaid.
all the sad and scared i have jammed into my brain and not spoken about has to come out eventually, and it is sadder and scarier than it ever was when it went in.
and i mean the remedy is to just be honest right? it’s just to tell people hey, this is who i am, sometimes i am sad, sometimes i am scared. i bet you are too! maybe if we knew we both felt this way it would ease the burden a little.
so in the interest of honesty:
i am sad and scared sometimes. at the moment, a little more than usual. i am really worried that i can’t look after myself properly and that i am a fraud and i will be found out.
i am 100% convinced every single human being on the planet feels this way sometimes and that comforts me.
i have amazing joy and happiness in my life. this is true at the same time as i have intense fear and a kind of mental “uckiness” that i have never found a good word for. (current phrase: my head is full of guck and muck)
i wish i could feel more comfortable telling people this face-to-face, and that they in turn could tell me the same thing back.
i am really good at pretending not to care if people like me to cover up the fact i am deeply concerned about how much everyone i know likes me.
(also totally normal, in case you were wondering)
it’s not that i want to be happier – because i have real moments of actual pure happiness – it’s that i want to be more able to just go with the flow of my own mind, which occasionally drifts into like the bermuda fucking triangle of obsessive thoughts and nonsense en route to actual pure happiness.
i always feel like i need to apologise because i feel like when i let the mask slip i am letting people down. but i actually would really love to trust people still to care when the mask slips, slides and runs off to join a nudist colony in south wales. and i guess sometimes i’m apologising for not trusting them with that.
and the biggest bit of honesty of all – it’s actually all me. the disney, the smiling, the being happy, the pure passion, the crying about not knowing what to eat, the not sleeping, the total mess occasionally, laundry mountain in my kitchen and lavender pillow spray in my bedroom. it is one person, it is all me, and i am full of difference and mixed up ness and isn’t that lovely? and the people i love most and connect with most are also full of difference, and have shades of light and shades of dark, and are funny and interesting and occasionally say things that make me scream like ‘oh shit backstory!’.
and this is the sort of conversation i crave. tell me the backstory. tell me what you think i don’t want to know. because it’s way more interesting than just saying you’re fine when you’re not.
let’s make each other brave.