Someone recently commented to me that they needed to get their shit together, and went on to say that it looked like *I* had MY shit together. I couldn’t help but laugh. In that particular moment, I was full of unreasonable emotions that were threatening to break out. I definitely did not feel like I had anything together.
After reflecting for a couple of days, I realized that in some areas of my life I might have my shit together. Job? Check. Paying my bills? So far so good, so check. Paperwork organized? I can locate the things I need, so check I guess. Food in the house, clean laundry, somewhat clean home? I can eat, I have clothes to wear, and the place is presentable enough, lol; so yeah, check. I guess these are basic life skills. On the surface, I look like a competent adult woman who has her life together.
Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a woman who has trouble asking for help when she needs it. Who would rather go without than burden anyone else. A woman who has a lot of feelings, but finds it nearly impossible to express them; even to those closest to her. Especially if those feelings are negative. I find it hard to open up to people, to lean on friends when I need support, or to admit that I’m feeling lonely and need company. What’s humorously ironic about this? If any one of my people called me asking for help, companionship, or a listening ear, I would be there in a heartbeat or less if I could. I would dry the tears of one of my sisters and comfort her if she needed it. I have talked friends out of negative thought spirals, tried to build them back up, and convinced them not to beat themselves up over mistakes and errors in judgement. I would gladly lose sleep, miss the gym or yoga, or cancel plans if someone I cared for needed me in any way. Hell, I’d even take a personal day from work if that’s what was necessary to be there for a loved one. (Dear Boss-please do not read this! Love and kisses, LJG.)
So if I have no problem giving of myself and my talents to those I care about, why is it so hard for me to ASK?? THIS is the area where I do NOT have my shit together. Not one iota, not even a little bit. I have trouble communicating my needs. THIS is what I was thinking about when I laughed after I was told I had my shit together. As I mentioned above, in that particular moment, I had a heart full of simmering emotions I was trying to keep a lid on. I had negative thoughts and feelings I could not bring myself to mention. I was feeling needy and insecure, and I could not talk about it, could not even bring it up indirectly. And this time, trying to hide all of that caused me to blow in the most spectacularly childish way. I was so emotionally overwrought that I was unable to take a step back, breathe, and try to talk about what was on my mind. This mental block causes me more anguish as I get older. I don’t know how to get beyond it. Am I so afraid of appearing vulnerable that I’d rather suffer mutely? Am I so certain that my needs and wants are insignificant that I am unable to give them a voice? Or am I unwilling to explore these thoughts on my own, before I open my mouth? Am I afraid of rejection? I believe this inability to communicate may cost me in my relationships with others. I would do anything in my power to help someone I care about; so doesn’t it stand to reason people who care about me would do anything they could to help me?
I feel good when I’m able to help and support someone I love; whether it’s kind words, a listening ear, a hug, companionship, use of my skills, or even actual physical help (think moving, or a ride in an emergency). By that same logic, maybe the people who care about me feel good when they have an opportunity to support me. When I can assist someone in my life, I feel a strengthening of the bond we already have. I feel closer to them, and I feel honored that they chose me out of all the people they know. Again, following this same thought train, maybe those close to me would feel the same if I were able to open up and ask for what I need. Seeing it all typed out here on the screen makes it so logical. I’m re-reading this, nodding to myself, saying, “yep…makes sense…of course! Absolutely! Um, duh LJG.” And yet, as I think about trying to express such thoughts, a knot forms in my belly. My hands are a little shaky and sweaty. And worst of all, I have tears in my eyes here at the keyboard. The knotted stomach and the shaky, sweaty hands are my fears of opening up physically manifesting themselves. The tears currently flooding my eyes (don’t fall, don’t fall, dammit DO NOT FALL) are indicative of my realization that I HAVE TO learn to open up. If I do not, I fear I will lose some of the close relationships I have developed. I know some of my people understand these fears, because they have conquered them, or are currently battling them. I have opened up somewhat to these folks…and I just now realized I received nothing but support and love from them when I let them peek behind the curtain. No one laughed at me. No one condemned me. No one shunned me.
At this point, I don’t think it matters how I got this way. What matters is what I am going to do to change this.
I have to learn to be more open, more vulnerable. I promised myself last month I would try. The fear of loss now outweighs the fear of vulnerability. It’s time to grow. It’s time to let these fears go. It’s time to grow the fuck up and truly GET MY SHIT TOGETHER.
Wish me luck, faithful readers. Wish me luck and strength and perseverance; because I’m sure I will feel like I am failing in the beginning, and I’ll want to quit. I must not quit. I must keep trying.