Sometimes, I am quiet. Other times, I feel like I talk far too much.
One of those times recently was in my Family Studies class. We were having a small group discussion, and I started telling my group the story of when my dad threatened to kick me out of the house. Why did I tell this story? Looking back, I’m really not sure. Sometimes I just start talking and I can’t get myself to shut up. I mean, it kind of related to what we were talking about, but it really wasn’t necessary to tell it. It’s kind of a long story.
So I’ve been thinking about this. Why I say stuff like that – that some part of me knows I’ll regret later on, whether it’s about my family, or Mercy, or something that seems uncomfortably close to bragging.
And I think the truth is, I tend to isolate myself and stay silent and closed off so much that sometimes I just feel like I need attention. I’m embarrassed/ashamed to even admit that, mainly because of my struggle with self-injury and the stigma of being an “attention seeker” in regards to that. But honestly, I think we all have our attention-seeking moments, we all need to be validated and feel like we belong and are loved and cared about. It’s just that some people have healthier ways of getting those needs met than others.
Sometimes I tell stories about my family because I’m feeling unsure that things were as bad as they seem, and I want validation. When I’m telling a story about my family, maybe what I’m really saying, underneath my words, is Please tell me this really was serious, really was bad, really shouldn’t have happened. Please tell me that I’m better than what they said/implied I am, because right now I feel like I’m not good enough, stupid, selfish, lazy, unloved, unwanted, alone, etc. Please accept me, please like me, please care about me, please remind me that I’m worth something.
I think I understand better now why I regret it when I say things like that, why I feel like I’ve said too much. It’s because what I’m saying is not what I mean. I’m talking around the real issues and hoping that people will hear what I’m not saying. And also because this is not what I want to be known for. My issues are not who I am. My past is not who I am. My family is not who I am. I am a person beyond all that, there is more to me than that! Those things don’t define me, and yet I continue to let them define me. I hide behind them.
It’s only when I stop hiding that I’m really happy and fulfilled. When I stop hiding behind my issues and my stories and my talking around things, my needs are met. When I’m open and honest and real. When I let people in. When I let them care about me. When I choose to trust. When I show my feelings.
My WWC friends were always good about seeing the real me even when I was hiding behind my issues. I don’t know if they realized they were doing it, but they often reminded me, just in the way that they treated me, that I was a real person beyond that stuff, that those things didn’t define me, weren’t who I was. It wasn’t that they were somehow better than the people around me now – it’s not that the people around me now are lacking. It’s that I opened up to them. I trusted them. I let them see my weakness and my fear. I let them in. I let them care, let them accept me, let them love me.
And if I want to stop being miserable, that’s what I need to do now. I’m not quite sure how. And I’m scared. But I need to try. I need to find myself again, to come out from whatever dark corner I’ve hidden myself away in. It’s scary. Hiding feels safer. But it’s miserable, and I’m sick of it, and I just want to live again.