Hello, lovelies! I need to purge my brain. I have things and thoughts I need to share.
Let’s start with the elephant I invited into my blog: dropping “f-bombs” in my last post. I’m sure many of my readers were, frankly, shocked by my casual use of the word “f*ck”, not only in my writing but, also, in my music. Well, the simple truth is, I say that word in my every day life. And if I haven’t used that kind of language in front of you, it’s because I worry I will offend you or that you will judge me.
Most people who know me tend to view me as “the good one”. My sisters even call me that. It’s not my favorite appellation. In fact, I hate it. People regularly apologize to me if they swear or talk about sex in my presence. It is assumed that I am a delicate flower of innocent purity and nun-like piety. (Ok, that’s probably an exaggeration but you get the point.)
That kind of treatment tends to make me feel like an outsider. It’s clear that I don’t fit in because if I did, no one would feel the need to apologize to me. And it tells me that they don’t really know me. If they knew me, blah blah blah.
But, the thing is, I don’t think it’s really their fault.
Not to brag, but I keep a lot of myself hidden. I know I’m not some special snowflake, everyone keeps parts of themselves hidden from others. And, really, there’s no way of knowing how I compare to your average Jane on the street. But if we’re going by feelings – always a good way to go – then I feel like I hide myself a little more than most.
People think I’m “the good one” because the only parts of myself I choose to reveal are tame, neutral, and non-offensive. People know I love Jesus because I reveal that part of myself. And I let them fill in whatever blanks they want to after that. I don’t tell them my true views on certain theological points or politics because those things would offend them and they would judge me. And those two things – offending people and being judged by them – scare me. A lot.
The last thing I posted here was a song called Awkward Kid. It’s not just a song, it’s my whole fudging life. (See what I did there?) I’m really not exaggerating when I say I haven’t had many close friends in my life. In the past, I have tended to be just weird enough to keep people at bay. In school I always ping-ponged between having one close friend and having no friends at all. When I was 12, we started attending church regularly as a family. Church is “supposed” to be a place where everyone is accepted and part of the “family” but let’s be real honest here, that is not often the case. And so, once again, I was on the outside. I was the weirdo at school and the weirdo at church.
But, honestly, I think being the weirdo at church was a good thing for me. I sat alone a lot. And with no friends to distract me, I paid attention. I met Jesus. And I don’t mean, I learned some stuff about him. I had real spiritual experiences. I discovered a connection with the Spirit that hovered over the deep and called life into being. It was good. That part of my church experience stuck.
I also learned a lot of bullshit at church. And still wanting to fit in somewhere in this universe, I learned to talk the talk and act like I walked the walk. I figured out what was acceptable and I tried to present myself to the world as someone who did and said the acceptable things. I learned to hide myself because when I was hidden, people liked me.
A little part of me was always trying to escape, though. The part that swears and likes magic and sex and zombies and tattoos. The older I got, the more those things began to become “acceptable” to “like” by my church friends. And so, if they showed their cards, I’d flash a peek of mine.
I kept the mask up, though, for the most part. If you had spent your whole life trying to make friends only to be too weird to keep them, you would too. You’d make sure you were as tame and neutral and non-offensive as possible. Someone everyone likes.
It’s really effing exhausting, though. I’m so tired. I am still soooo in my head, second-guessing every text message, social media post, conversation, outfit, hairstyle, accessory, reading material, music I listen to, food I eat, word I say, blah, blah-blah, blah-blah, blah-blah.
For the last few years, I’ve been working hard to do the things I want to do instead of what will win me “least offensive person of the year”. I’m trying to be more authentically me and giving less of a damn if I lose people’s respect or friendship. I STILL WANT IT THOUGH! Curses! I want people to like me, respect me, and think I’m basically amazing. How perfectly banal of me.
I am slowly and painfully removing the mask. I’m still not transparent about all things and I doubt I ever will be. After all, some of this has to be earned. But I don’t want to be so mentally exhausted anymore trying to keep up appearances. I want to just LIVE. I want freedom. I want to feel good in my skin. And I don’t want to wonder if people actually like me or if they just like the mask I’m wearing.
I know as I go through this process I am going to lose some people’s respect and friendship. That really does sadden me. I HATE hurting people. I HATE offending people. And I don’t want to be judged. But I NEED this. I need the freedom this process brings. I need to love myself and feel alive in my own skin.
So let me apologize now. I am truly sorry if I’m not who you thought I was. I’m truly sorry if I hurt you or offend you. And if you are judging me, it’s ok, I forgive you.
All this mask removal is leaving me raw all over. I’m so glad I’m doing it but I know after I hit “publish” on this thing I’m going to second-guess myself, just like I did after I posted Awkward Kid. So if you’re not offended or hurt or judging me, can you please let me know that you love me? And be patient with me. I’m a 38 year old new-born.