Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Brave?

I haven't said it in a while, but I'm always thinking it: You guys are amazing. The best! I received a lot of encouraging and kind words about my recent post Manic. Thank you!

A few people even went as far as saying that I am "brave". That made me stop and reflect. Am I? I consider myself to be a fearful person, who needs to make an effort to push herself out of her comfort zone.

I grew up in a family that is very closed off. You don't discuss family matters in public, which is probably a sensible approach to life. The less other people know about you, the better. Problems are to be solved on your own, and quietly. Nobody needs to know about your business.

This approach to life always made me feel suffocated. For years I didn't know what I was suffocated by: Was it the town I lived in? The people? My family?
Now, with the clarity of hindsight, I realize that I was choking on all the feelings and words I wasn't supposed to say. I wanted to talk about personal stuff. I needed to.

Nothing will make you feel lonelier than thinking you are the only person who is different. All the conflicting emotions I had, the doubts and fears, insecurities and irrational anger made me feel like an alien. Nobody else around me seemed to struggle like that, they all had their shit together! Why couldn't I?

Even with friends I couldn't open up completely. What if they would drop me when they saw my ugly side? Who wants to hang out with a crazy person? So I would (try to) leave my freak at home and be upbeat and fun in public. "Suck it up" was the motto of my childhood, so I tried to live by that.

Except that it didn't quite work. I'm not very good at sucking it up. I wear my emotions on my sleeve for all the world to see. A poker face I have not.

Before I started blogging, the internet was nothing more than yet another place where I had to hide the real me and only let fun- and life-of-the-party-me out to play. Facebook was the main social media then, and it was little more than a bragbook: Only happy moments were shared, creating the illusion that life was nothing but a neverending vacation, party, and selfie-wall.

But then I discovered blogs. People like Meg, who is openly writing about how life ain't easy, and of her struggles of wanting to find love. She is vulnerable in a strong way.
Or Laura, who was let go of a job she hated, and who decided that she would start living the life she wanted right now. She is travelling the world, doing what she loves, which is writing. She is also not afraid to show her weaknesses, and has a knack for making you feel good about yourself.

Amanda just had the baby she wished for. She is overjoyed for having her, but is also not afraid to share her identity crisis with us.
And then there is the bloggess, whom I have mentioned several times lately because I'm clearly obsessed with her. Her honesty and fearlessness of sharing her mental illnesses (and embarrassing details of her life) is just incredible to me. So inspiring.

Christy shared her weight on the internet. Melyssa regularly shares her income with the world. My blog friend Samantha opened up about the eating disorder she had in the past.
Mariah and Shannon were amongst the first child-free women I found online, making me feel 100% understood for the first time in a long time.

These women are my heroes. They have helped me so much in my own life, and made me stronger and more confident.

That's why I can't and won't stop sharing the truth. Forget about the highlight reel you are surrounded with everywhere you look. We all struggle and fail and crumble sometimes. It's normal.
But sharing it will not only help others - it will help you. The most surprising lesson I have learned is that by showing your vulnerability, you will become stronger.

Not having to hide any more is incredibly freeing. My biggest mistake in the past was hiding who I really am. I thought I would look strong, but I felt weak.

Accepting yourself with all your flaws will set you free. I don't know if it is brave.
But I do know this: It is your ticket to happiness.       





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