Over the last few days there has been a movement among bloggers. Have you noticed it? A small, but brave voice being raised in the hope of shining the light of reality into the seemly perfect world of bloggers.
It was all started by this post by Jess Constable in which Jess so eloquently points out that bloggers and bloggers lives aren't what they seem purely from the edited, styled and photoshopped blog representation. Ez was so inspired by Jess' post that she issued the invitation to bloggers to present their real lives on their blogs. Post after post, from so many women I admire, popped up all over blog land. Real posts. Messages from the heart. Brave souls opening up to expose the tender topics they so preciously hid for so long.
After reading so many of these posts, with still more I intend to read, my heart was pounding and I knew it was telling me I needed to do this too. My first thought, to be honest was, what more is there for me to tell? I've already shared the big thing that terrified me to let the world know. I've shared many deep and personal things with you and this blog certainly isn't all roses, but I believe in the power of honesty, and the freedom it brings. So, here goes:
1. I have touched on this before, but I'm going to say it again. I have a huge problem with comparing my life to that of others, and with jealousy. ESPECIALLY online. I see people signing book deals, having their homes featured in magazines, starting and making huge successes of their own businesses, getting married, travelling the world, working with amazing brands, buying amazing designer clothes and jewellery, throwing amazing parties... living my dream... and then I see my life, all the imperfection, the mess, the "I hate my clothes" the "I live in my parent's garage" pathetic-ness of it all and I get jealous. I want what they have and life feels unfair. I'm afraid my dreams will never come true. What reading all the "Thing I'm Afraid to Tell You" posts over the last few days has shown me though, is that I most certainly am not the only one. There's a lot of comfort in that. The women I look up to and admire feel the same way I do. Somehow that's a really good thing to know. It's not about never being happy, it's simply about realising we are all human and in many ways are the same.
2. This might seem a little strange after reading point 1, but I have recently discovered that I am afraid that my dreams WILL come true. Yes, you read that right. This one is a little harder to explain. Have you heard the quote along the lines of "If your dreams don't scare you, you need to get bigger dreams"? Well, that's not my problem. I have huge dreams, and they terrify me. Not achieving them scares, and so too does finding that one day I am living my dream. Why is that so scary? The only explanation I have for that is that to get to that place of living the dream there is going to have to be a lot of getting out of my comfort zone. Having had so much life happen to me without any say in it myself makes me shy of deliberately putting myself out of my comfort zone. I don't know why success scares me so much, but it does! ... and what happens if I get there, and it's not all I dreamed it would be?
3. I'm afraid to tell you what life is really like being as overweight as I am. It's one of those things that never leaves my mind. Every. Single. Place I go, I am worried if there will be a chair wide enough and strong enough to support me. I always plan ahead as much as I can to make sure there is somewhere nearby that I can park my car. I am always hot and sweat so easily that I never feel pretty and feminine. I can't shop in even the plus size clothing stores. I can only buy clothes online in my size. [although this is changing little by little, I'm almost back in a 26]. I love fashion, I love being in with the trends, but looking at my clothes you would never know. I can only buy what fits and I hate pretty much every item of clothing I own. Because of all this I don 't feel like I can participate in conversations with friends and other women about clothing. I don't like shopping and feel unwelcome in clothing stores of any kind. I can't do stairs, the pain in my knees is too much. I can't walk much, I can't stand for long. If there are too many "unknowns" in an upcoming outing, I will usually make up an excuse not to go. I have had quite a few overwhelmingly embarrassing moments over the last year as I have been trying to get out more and not let my weight and size get in the way. Moments where I have literally wished the floor would just swallow me whole. Moments I wish I was invisible and the hot sting of tears in my eyes only adds to the embarrassment. Children stare at me, teenagers openly make fun of me and people misjudge me all the time. Most people never take the time to see past my body and get to know me, the real me, and they just make up their own mind about who I must be. I can't live the life I dream of because I have eaten myself into a prison of fat and I am trying hard to get out, but many days it feels like a maximum security complex and there ain't no breaking out. The problems are so deep in my mind and emotions that I'm scared I'm never going to be able to turn this around! I could go on and on with this one...
4. I am scared of being rejected, excluded, left behind and forgotten about. I don't have a great track record with friendships. I tend to turn myself inside out trying to be what people want me to be, because I have convinced myself they couldn't possibly like me if I was just me, only to be hurt in a major way anyway. I have a habit of entrusting my heart and emotions to unsafe people. This fears translates to my blog too. I have opened my heart and my life up here and there are some posts that have been so hard for me to write and there has been no response from anyone. While I don't write just for the hope of getting comments, the very big part of me that is looking for acceptance and approval is wounded a little each time that happens. That's a bit scary to admit.
5. I am afraid that because of all I have had to deal with in my life that people only see the weak side of me and not how strong I am, not how much I have actually overcome and not how much progress I have made. I'm not weak. The fact that I cry easily doesn't make me weak. The fact that I am sensitive doesn't make me weak. The fact that I am prone to depression and anxiety doesn't make me weak. I'm scared people won't see me for who I am, a woman who is not all the way there yet, but who is overcoming the odds.
6. Sometimes I am afraid someone is going to call me out as a creative impostor one day. Sometimes I feel as though I AM a creative impostor. This is a bit of a comparison thing again [see I told you it was a big issue for me], but I see the amazing creativity that comes out of some people and think to myself, "who do I think I am calling myself a designer?" "You must be kidding, Amanda, if you think you can call yourself the same 'professional' as those people". Sometimes I feel like a sham.
7. I feel like I am just never going to be enough. Not well off enough, pretty enough, healthy enough, funny enough, creative enough, kind enough, outgoing enough, strong enough, caring enough, patient enough, organised enough, thoughtful enough, adventurous enough, intelligent enough, proactive enough, fun enough, secure enough, fashionable enough, loud enough, quite enough, well spoken enough, informed enough, worthy enough... you get the idea. I know I don't have to be all things to all people, but what if I'm just never enough?
So there you have it - 7 things I have been afraid to admit to the whole world. 7 things I have been scared to tell you. My anxiety level is high right now as I get closer to the point of actually clicking that "publish" button, yet at the same time it feels good to know these things won't be in the "too afraid" category anymore.
I encourage you to visit Ez's post and read through the entries by all the bloggers who have exposed their "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You". I hope you will be as inspired by them as I have been. If you feel you want to write your own post, sharing the real, honest and not so edited side of yourself, I encourage you to do that too. If you do write your own post, make sure you come back here and leave a link so I can read it too.
The truth will set you free.