© 2012 jen

Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

My friend Jena just wrote a blog post about the things she was afraid to say, which was inspired by Erin, of Design for Mankind and I thought OK, now I have to do this too. This project was originally thought up as challenge by Ez, of Creature Comforts.

Ez, started this challenge because so much of what you see from the outside on the interwebs looks so perfect.  People’s pictures are perfect, friends, family, house and everything just looks perfect, so outing yourself every now and again in the ways that you’re imperfect- also known as being a normal person- can be liberating.  It allows others to lower their own guard and be more honest about who they are as well.  So here I go . . .

1. I’m a world-class mess maker: I’ve always been a bit on the messy side.  Some of my earliest memories are of me playing in the mud, digging deep into the earth and pulling out the red mud that’s everywhere in Indiana.  We called it Indian Clay – I’d make all sorts of cups, bowls, sculptures, and more, which would break when dry because they weren’t fired.  This was always my style.  Digging in the proverbial mud making things.  More interested in the creation than the mess associated with the creation. I’m still this way. I believe that the more creative you are the more you must get at least somewhat comfortable with mess and if this is true, well then I’m pretty creative (ha!).

If you look closely around my house you’ll see everything has a little dust, dust bunnies big enough to make Martha Stewart’s head spin and probably a sink full of dirty dishes too.  This is OK with me. I used to worry about what other people thought about my somewhat messy house, but more and more recently I’ve come to accept that this is just part of me. I’m not a perfectionist and I don’t require a clean house to be happy.  Sometimes I clean it up and sometimes I let the mess lay where it is.

2. I hate small talk: I really, really hate it.  I have about a 30 second attention span for the weather, or anything that isn’t about a person and their heart or passions.  It’s one reason I keep myself busy helping the host at a party.  Sharing niceties, being polite, staying surface level?  Boring.  I’d rather be at home making something.

Or worse yet, talking about accomplishments . . . I’m not interested in impressing people and being the belle of the ball – who has the biggest success story? Gross.  I want to hear about what really matters to people or I’d rather not play.  I think you can learn so much more about what people are made of by knowing what they struggle with, what they’ve overcome and their solutions to problems than by hearing about their latest success.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for other people’s successes, but I grow tired of talking about them fairly quickly.

3. I’m in debt and have been for most of my adult life: I still have student loans that I’m paying off and I’ve been out of college for 16 years now. My car is 12 years old and it isn’t paid off.  I could go on, but you get the point.  I owe. Well, we owe, my husband and I.  It’s a goal of mine to pay off our debts in the next 2 years and I think we can do it too.  Time will tell.

4. I stick out like a sore thumb most of the time: I always have.  Sometimes I’ve been the star, sometimes the outcast, but I’m always marching to the beat of my own drummer. I pick up on things that no one else does.  I miss things that everyone else gets.  As a young person I was freakishly tall and was an early bloomer.  I was loudest and the most spaztastic always. I’m someone people notice – which can mean they love me or that they hate me, but I tend to produce strong feelings in others and I always have.  It seems to be my role for how I roll.

4. I’m insecure about my writing skills: I have a learning disability, which manifests in the way that I see – my field of vision is huge, which means my peripheral vision is exceptionally broad. As a young person, learning to read was so challenging for me. I had such a hard time focusing my eyes in the standard reading format – left to right, line by line.  As a kid I often read books upside down because for some reason my mind could focus more clearly if I flipped the whole thing on it’s head.  The other issue with my vision is to do with eye fatigue – my eyes tire from reading very, very quickly. What this also means is that I’m a terrible, terrible editor.  I have plenty to write about, but it may or may not make much sense, depending on many things. Because of this disability I’ve always felt very insecure about my writing.  It’s ironic though, because I come from a long line of story tellers – my mother was a creative writer and my Grandmother an actress and an amazing story teller.  I’m very expressive and can make you laugh and cry with a story, it’s just the words on paper sometimes fail me.

As a kid I remember reading a book about Helen Keller, where she was described as a young child – as frustrated because she could not express herself  or communicate her needs yet.  I remember as a kid, reading this book (upside down) and thinking, “This is me.” I have so much to say and so much brain power potential that I struggle to access.

5. Sometimes I give too much: I have a history of giving too much in some of my relationships – personal and professional – and then at some point feeling resentful because I don’t have enough left for myself.  I’ve spent years working on this and generally I think I’m much better at knowing when I’m falling into old habits, but it is my natural state, one that sometimes makes me unhappy, so as I’ve grown older I’ve worked harder at being aware of this habit and stopping myself before I’ve given it all away.

6. I’m crazily intuitive, overly emotional and a highly sensitive person trapped in one cussing, giggly, rabble rousing, dichotomous body:  I cry at all weddings.  Even if I don’t know the people or think they might not be the best match.  If I hear music that has a tear jerking tone, I’ll start crying before I know what I’m crying about.  I pick up on things that I don’t know about from others.  Slight cues and signals bombard me all the time.  So much so, that I have friends who actually avoid me when they have a problem that they aren’t ready to discuss, because they know I will know and I will ask them about it.  I pick up on other people’s emotions whether I want to or not.  I think this is another reason why at parties I tend to stay busy, helping with the flow of the party rather than doing a lot of mingling – sometimes there are too many emotions in the room for me to handle at one time.

I also can be so emotional and passionate about things that I cannot hold my tongue. When I was younger I felt like I was a victim to my own feelings and emotional outbursts.  I couldn’t control my anger, or sadness and sometimes I’d become so overwhelmed with anxiety or depression that I would really struggle.  As I’ve gotten older I have learned so much about how to control myself.   How to manage my intensely passionate feelings.

Sometimes I feel that others think I’m rough around the edges or other times my feeling is that people think I’m all surface because I love to laugh and have fun, but that’s just because I have to balance the good feelings with the harder stuff.  Happiness is a choice I make daily and having fun and laughing are some of the tools I use to get there. As for the rough around the edges part, I think I am a little rough around the edges (fuck yeah).  I just happen to also be very caring and emotionally available too.  It’s a contradiction, I suppose, but that’s me.

OK, so I’m “out” now . . . it’s all out there for you to see.

What about you?  Would you be up to the challenge of writing a post like this?  It actually feels pretty awesome because when you look at yourself and your struggles on paper you see how normal you are, with problems same as everyone else.

One last quick note: usually I have have my work edited, but for today it seemed more real to let it all hang out so this is me, lightly self-edited.  If you don’t like it? Eat my typos!

Authentically yours,