A Private Diary Entry: Bravery

scared

Dear Diary,

I am scared.

It’s strange, how shameful it is show your fear. You’re seen as feeble. Someone who revels in their own pain, and has the impoliteness to rip out their own intestines and show the pinkish-grey coils to others. No thank you. We don’t want that. I am scared, and I wish I knew why. I wish I could clinically extract my fear, distil it into a test tube, and then view it under a microscope to determine the best way to destroy it.

Do you ever find yourself curling your lip at your own behavior and thoughts? For a moment, you are disgusted and shamed by your own neurosis. All my life, I’ve been this tangled knot of fears and insecurities and anxieties. It’s pretty much like walking around as a human-shaped tangle of nerves. A network of live wires. I get thousands of shocks every single day, until I’m twitching and buzzing in pain. When you’re so…aware, so self-conscious, so sensitive, when loving yourself is harder than inching a nail through rock, everything hurts. It hurts so much. Honestly, it’s as if you don’t have a skin, that you’re just exposed to the world, slabs of red flesh lined with muscle laid bare for all to see and poke and prod at with surgical instruments. Lift up the gleaming organs. Stab the heart until it spurts and gushes a red fountain. It’s as if you’re entire soul is a festering canker sore. You’re a cat, festering with sores and itches and rashes, missing an eye, fur ripped out in places, crawling with fleas, and, most of all, mewling in pain, and yet they still beat you. Again and again and again.

I care too much about what people think. I’m terrified of being disliked. And this is at counter purposes with my desire to be individual. To be brave, and strong, and not care what people think. I fear everything under the sun. I fear the world. I fear it all, and it swallows me until I’m just a dark rush of shrinking. I try to be strong. We all try to be so strong, because we’re told that breaking under pain, curling up into a fetus to nuzzle at the imaginary flesh of our mother’s womb (Safe. Safe. Where has safety gone? I’ve lost it, long, long, long ago. I never feel safe. It’s all danger) is weak. Weakness is frowned down upon, in both men AND women. Strength and toughness are admired in our society, along with persistence and grit and being true to yourself. So, we are strong. We show ourselves to be strong. But being strong can sometimes be a cover-up. It doesn’t mean we aren’t hurting, hurting so much we’d rather fold ourselves into shadows and collapse into dust. I don’t know why I’m weeping a bit writing this. It’s just life. It’s all transient, and it all ends. That’s the thing about pain though – it always seems the most important thing in the world in the moment. Battling with anxiety, trying to handle social situations without looking like a fool, keeping your head up in a world that doesn’t understand you, feeling so wrong, so off, so defective, feeling so delicate and yet being told that we have to be TOUGH, tough and confident and assertive…it’s like being stabbed every day. Everyday. Wounds. Come home to lick the wounds.

I know I’m an overly neurotic, anxious, depressive, melancholy and obsessive person, but the knowledge of that does not make it any better. Only, it leads to self-hatred. Look at me. My insides are curdled with these thoughts. I feel lesser than others for being haunted by so many demons. Like I’m unhallowed. Add to this the desire for perfection in one’s art, and you’ve got an exhausting cocktail of angry shadows that seek to chew apart the deepest recesses of yourself. My writing has been taking a nosedive, along with my confidence, if it isn’t obvious already. My jewel, once so bright, and faceted, and tough, is being squashed like a mere grape. Squelch. I know it takes persistence. I know it takes hard work. I know I have to get used to misery, and create art despite the misery, even when it hurts. To run even when it hurts. Nevertheless, when you’re knee-deep in it, it’s hard. Especially when being bombarded by the talents of others. This envy is pointless and no-one cares about it, but I think that if anyone reads this diary entry, and feels the same way, and feels less alone for, then I will have accomplished my goal. I so want to love you. I so want to love everyone. I want to hug and love people. Why is that so hard? Believing in yourself is hard. Loving yourself is hard. Why is it the hardest to deal with ourselves? Why are we so often in conflict with ourselves? I wish we could separate the parts of ourselves into different people, and send them off to situations that require the specific functions. That way, I could send my confident and happy self into the world every day, rather than the hunched, scared self, wringing hands and giving weak smiles. It’s just life. We’re all going to die. But boy, must we suffer between the interval. There’s nothing I wish for more than to embrace other people who are suffering. When people suffer, and expose the rawness within themselves, a bottomless reservoir of affection within me rises up to the surface. I love the rawness. I love the pain in their eyes, not for some sadistic reason, but because it makes me feel close to them, makes me feel connected, as suffering humans.

I think I could only fall in love with someone who shows me their vulnerability, their suffering. There’s nothing I love more. As suffering organisms, all swimming in the same consciousness. If you’re suffering right now, I wish I could hug you. To wipe the tears from your eyes, and know, together, in our hearts, that this is all we have, this sun, this moon, these stars, this us. Just, to cry, and to know. I’m so idealistic when it comes to love I even laugh at myself, but it’s the bad kind of laugh, the kind of laugh you laugh to cover up the true pain underneath. I hate that about myself, you know? Independence is something I try to pride myself on. I use it to hold my head high and weather the batterings of life. I tell myself to be realistic. I tell myself not to hope for too much, for fear of getting disappointed.

Disappointment hurts more than any other emotion. It’s a grey wound, deep, and very, very quiet. When we’re sad, we cry, when we’re happy, we smile, when we’re angry, we shout and fume and seethe, but disappointment is silent. We just sit there, a little dumbfounded at the intensity of the pain, while the hurt nibbles at our soul like so many ethereal piranhas. We allow ourselves to be eaten, to be chewed, and do not run away, so stunned are we.

But, yes. Deep inside me, down where the glowing fishes and shipwrecks lie, there is a deep yearning larger and older than the universe for love. For true love. A grand, tired, sleeping fish, with sad eyes the size of countries filled with pale glitter. I tell myself it’s just a fantasy. I remind myself of my own parent’s divorce. I tell myself no-one can love me until I truly love myself. I tell myself love is transient. I tell myself there are more facets to love than that of the romantic. I tell myself I’m not worthy of love, that no-one could love anyone as messed up as me, as unwanted, as socially shunned, as misunderstood. Who wants a broken toy? No-one. I tell myself that I don’t need true love, that friendships and soulships and familial relationships are enough. I tell myself that a relationship won’t complete me, that life is dissatisfaction. That love can’t fill the gaps in my being. Nothing works. I’ve never even met true love, yet I yearn for it as deeply as mothers yearn for their lost children. The entire concept caters to my sensibilities so perfectly it makes me weep just to think of it. I yearn for it so hard it sometimes feel like my heart is ripping to shreds in the process. I yearn, oh!, how I yearn.

And how I loathe my own yearning. Sylvia Plath summed up my feelings perfectly in one of her quotes: “How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.” The moment I saw this quote, grief stunned me in the chest, hard as a smote from a loved one. None of my family members understand the slightest bit of me. I want to be understood as much as I want to be a writer. I need to be understood as much as other people need to breathe. To grieve for something you have never known! To feel safe, secure, loved, understood by a single person. To be in someone’s arms, and to wake up in the morning to their soft comfort. To love. Love. Needless to say, if I ever loved, it would be with complete and utter devotion. If I ever loved, and were betrayed by that love, I would shrink from the world. There is no middle ground when it comes to emotions, when you’re an INFP and a HSP. It’s either splintering joy or crushing despair. I’m afraid of dying alone, and never being loved. I’m afraid I’ve idealised love too much. I’m afraid of loving too much. I’m afraid of losing the love I have not yet received. I’m afraid of pushing away love. Of being too socially awkward and in too much pain to open myself to love. I’m afraid of people being disgusted by me. I send the wrong messages. I do this stupid thing where I push people away, and act cold and aloof when what my heart really is screaming to do is to talk to them, get to know them. And this empty screaming inside me goes on and on. For instance, right now, dear diary, there is this one person I would really like to get to know. I keep bumping into him, and I’m afraid that he hates me for my coldness, my unresponsiveness. I would love to get to know him. I find him quite fascinating – incredibly logical, systematic, and grounded, yet kind and heartfelt, full of integrity and wisdom. I’m afraid of being too enthusiastic, and pushing him away. I’m afraid he won’t like me enough to let me talk to him.

I’ve kind of let the relationship (if it could be called that) devolve into mutual hostility from pretended apathy on my part, when all my heart wants to do is be amiable. This has been bothering me a good deal, and I’m afraid of not talking to him soon enough and thus giving my silly brain time to build him up in my mind, to fall in love with a fabrication of my own imagination. I’m afraid of falling in love with ghosts. I’m afraid of being seen as too obsessive or weird. I’m afraid of passing up an opportunity to get to know a good soul. Someone I can connect with. You can see that kind of stuff, in the eyes. The next time I bump into him, I’m going to try and strike up a conversation, and if it doesn’t work, if he brushes me off (a stab of rejection, deep into the sensitive flesh of my soul), then I’ll lift my head, put on a brave face while my heart cries, and move on. That’s what I always do.

Maybe if I yearn hard enough, I’ll disintegrate.

I’m going to write for a while, and then go to bed. I’m going to find solace through my distasteful words, and dream of better worlds. Of better “Me”s. Of true love. I’ll probably sniffle and a shed a few tears. And then I’ll wake up in the morning and scoff at this entry and scoff at myself and scoff at my words and toss my hair over my shoulder and go out into the world with a flat smile on my face.

I’m brave.

Love,

Anne

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8 thoughts on “A Private Diary Entry: Bravery

  1. Anne,

    If that is your real name, it is beautiful. In any case, you are a beautiful person. You pour your heart and soul into this blog and as I read, I feel like I could have written a lot of this myself. You have a very vivid way of describing things, but you sum up the way a lot of us INFP/HSPs feel.

    I also find it striking that you struggle so much with the rugged individualism of society. I had always hoped that was an American thing but it sound like its the same everywhere.

    I know you dont correspond by email but if you change your mind let me know.

    Bill

    • Thank you. I’m very happy that you liked the post, in some way. I can correspond by email, but it often gets disjointed and messy, and I end up feeling bad for not replying often enough. If I do change my mind, I’ll definitely let you know. 🙂

  2. Hello, Anne!

    Wow, this post moved me a lot. I had no idea that you are feeling so much pressure from life. It reminds me my own conditions from 5-6 years ago. If you may, maybe I can help giving some thoughts and sharing my experience with you. Because, believe it or not, I was like you in this aspect: overthinking. This does not mean that I’m in a better position facing the challenges of life and psychological neurosis right now, but I developed mental frameworks to consolidate my confidence and improve my resilience. As usual, I like to be specific about the problems and refer to them giving the best proper solutions that I can come with. Bear with me and pardon my intrusion (such a delicate subject, but I believe that you are open to others perspectives, alright?)

    I don’t know if it’s okay to post a link to my blog here (if not, you can delete this comment. I’ll understand), but I wrote a sarcastic post about the pressure I was feeling from my family and colleagues:

    Benefits of Being a Coward: http://kiddolink.blogspot.com.br/2014/10/benefits-of-being-coward-republishing.html

    Okay, there we go (don’t take everything serious here. These are just tips and advices, so you can decide what might work for you):

    1 – Learn to ignore. Yes. You’ll congratulate yourself later, if you do. Because stress causes a lot of psychosomatic problems, worsening health conditions, skin problems and so on. This happens because stress is a defensive mechanism of the brain to increase our focus, strength and reactivity. On the other hand, it damages our cells and causes our body to collapse depending on how long we have to tolerate it. So take care of yourself!

    2 – Don’t laugh at this one. Don’t! Okay, just kidding. Watch shit in internet……. What? Exactly! Have fun with weird videos or funny content. For example, I’ll show you something that always amuses me (don’t worry, it’s nothing offensive, I guess. It’s an opening of a japanese drama): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk5LDYeFRyQ or if you don’t enjoy this kind of stuff, you could give a try reading this site (with funny, compelling and informative articles) prettyfedup: http://www.prettyfedup.com/index.htm . The lesson here is: between heaven or hell, pressure from life and entertainment on internet, go for entertainment most of the times! Reframe your way to see things a little more positive and smile. Laugh. This is better for our bodies. If this does not convince you…

    3 – Get some scars. No! This is not about self mutilation. It’s about to voluntarily put yourself in embarrassing situations. For example, go after this person you are attracted to and say: “I love you!”. HAHAHAHAHA, how frightening is that? The worse that can happen is the other person say: “Are you crazy or what? I don’t like you!”. So what? That’s it. Or you could read nonsense advice like this one, How to be random: http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Random . What a crazy stuff, but it’s interesting! Weird stuff. I am all for that and I incentive creative people to embrace chaos. I know, it sounds strange for a programmer to say things like that, but that’s how I am. I see no difference or contradiction because humans are all about emotions. Some say they are 100% logical or whatever, but that’s not true. The truth is: they FEEL good by being that way. If you are not feeling good about trying to be always logical, so be a little bit crazy. Don’t live by extremes, play life as the circumstances arise. Search for what is convenient and enjoy yourself.

    4 – Say things that you wouldn’t say normally just to see your own reactions. I’ll go first, if you buy the idea, you go next: I am a ballerina who enjoys cut nail with a chainsaw! I know, in the morning tomorrow I’ll regret those words. But it’ll be too late because I’ll publish this and you’re going to read anyway. And that’s fine. Life is strange. Do not be so restrict. I want people to dislike me. Yes, please, dislike me. Hate me. Even yet, we’re going to pursue those and the things we care about. If you care about the opinion of others, you can try to be more specific and trace those whose opinions you really care about. I’m sure you don’t care about all opinions. I’m sure you don’t love everybody. Try to focus on those who you really care. It’s hard to maintain 5 or 6 friends, imagine to sustain everybody interests by mindless pleasing people. The lesson here is: HATE me. Even if this happen, it won’t change my curiosity about your writing. Not even a bit.

    5 – Personally, I am a very strange guy. I feel awkward everywhere I go. I know nothing about etiquette, clothing, hair style, manners (okay, maybe a little), parties, ceremonies, nothing! I just don’t see the point of a lot of events that people organize. But still I have to attend to some of them. People notice how weird I am! Not because I am disgusting or something, maybe because my serious countenance (that deceive almost everybody!) or my tiresome way to look at things (which I find boring). I know that people dislike me. Not everybody, by the way. And I don’t give a damn about it. Not because I want to be hated. But I learned that: I can’t do anything wise about this. I can’t control…. MINDS. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    6 – Be weak. Yes, show your weakness and ask for protection. That’s okay. (Weird example coming…). For example, I don’t know if you already played RPG, but in those games you usually have different vocations: knights, sorcerers, priests, archers and so on. Each one has its own strengths and weakness. For example, priests are the supporters. They help a lot by healing knights, sorcerers, archers and other priests, but they are helpless in close combat. They are not infantry. So, learn this: maybe you are not a person who fights. Maybe you are a person who heals. A person who creates, not a person who take sides and make world-changing-kind of decisions. Maybe not. Who knows.

    7 – I don’t believe in myself for a lot of reasons: optical illusions, memory failure, lies, shame and a lot of other things. But I do things that I find interesting and I PLAN how to do them better. And eventually, confidence emerges. Not because I was firmly confident at first, but because I kept doing what I like doing and found people who enjoy doing the same things. I know, this sounds simple. Because… it is.

    8 – Love. Well, that’s something that I recommend: don’t take my advices. But I have some words about this. If you like someone, tell him/her. And see what happens. I know anyone who died by declaring his/her prohibited love… or, wait. Actually, I know a lot of them! HAHAHAHAHAHA. But the most in movies. In other words, telling someone how much you appreciate them don’t hurt anybody. In my view, you just tell the other person that you would enjoy his/her company and ask for a date. If the person refuses, move on. I know, it’s fine to be romantic and search for passionate people to share the moments. It’s a frightening feeling to have our hearts beating so fast, but that’s what love is: showing our weakness. Passion is different. It’s more about attraction, seduction and the moments. But love is more serene, condescending and lasting. And both are feelings that we all want to feel and get response for. Go for it. I’d rather have a broken heart (it is, crashed into pieces) than let an interesting person escape from me. Unless this person decides to do so. In this case, just let them go. Love also includes freedom and acceptance.

    9 – Watch George Carlin on internet! What could be more relaxing? Here is a piece called Entropy Fan, my favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egRgweL12Uc

    That’s it, Anne. I hope this help you somehow. Distract yourself. Don’t try to be a hero. You don’t have to. Go with your flow, your pace. Don’t try to accelerate life and suffer from anticipation. Let the future problems in future. They may come, but until them they are in future. Here, right now. Smile. Force it if you have to! If being unnatural hurts our ego a little bit, let’s learn to cope with it. Get used to it.

    If all these did not resonate with you, I’m sorry. But keep looking for alternatives to overcome this pressure. The above are mine.

    Thank you.

    • You are the loveliest creature on the planet. I’m so sorry if that compliment sounds weird, but it boggles my mind that you are kind enough to write all these tips, tips that could constitute a blog post in and of itself. I feel like you really care, and believe in me. I feel understood. You heal my soul, and make me smile. What I’m trying to say is: THANK YOU. Terribly sorry if this was too effusive and gushy. They did resonate with me. So much. I felt something almost unravel inside of me upon reading some of them, especially the one about letting my weirdness seep out between the cracks. It’s suffocating to go to school and put on a mask of blandness; it feels like I’m betraying my own soul. My heart is much too full to say anymore. Thank you. You can be certain I’ll be rereading this comment on daily basis, as well as the other one you wrote about writing. Now I’m going to try and put a real smile on my face, go out into the arena, get some cuts and bruises, and come out grinning with sawdust in my hair. We fall over, we tumble, we tussle, and we laugh at it all.

      • I have never left comments on any blog before, but it is if your words, brimming with your vulnerability and love, leapt out of the screen to embrace me, and so how could I not reach out to someone out of whom it seems could gush the same thoughts, feelings, insecurities, despair, yearning as could come from myself? It is exactly as you say; tomorrow, when I’m more ‘clear-minded’, I will toss my hair and scoff at these words and scoff at my foolishness at exposing my own vulnerabilities to a stranger. But at the very moment at least, I want my words to hug you as yours have hugged me. Truly, you are brave. In the end, to be like that is also a way to live, as legitimate as any other, even if we have to, now and again, claw ourselves along, and wonder whether we should simply throw our bodies in front of a car and enter a nothingness. I have no good reason to offer about why you shouldn’t head off into the nothingness, except that it simply seems like you don’t want to; there’s no need for any convincing. Sometimes I wonder whether some part of me actually likes being like that; perhaps, if I wasn’t this way, it would feel like I would lose something precious to myself, some core part of my being, Perhaps it is in such moments of despair and self-loathing and deep yearning that I can actually reach down into that deep solitude, that quiet immanence within me. Strange bedfellows, they are indeed. To rediscover beauty each time, even as the meaninglessness of existence seems to bear down upon everything, perhaps that is why we continue clawing ourselves along. In any case, continue writing, let your words and vulnerability flow, and while the depressing truth is that, for maybe about nine parts out of ten of the general populace, they will simply create bafflement or even condescension and disgust, to the rest of us, your words will penetrate to the very core of our soul. Please continue writing, even if only for those few who will gladly return your love 🙂

  3. Wow. Just wow.
    I just by accident stumbled across your blog and read this article which really struck a chord with me.
    It is so good to find someone now and then who expresses feelings that resonate with the ones you expierence yourself. So thanks for this. It makes me feel a little less weird and lonesome in this big, hard world which seems to me so often a dangerous place to be. Left alone, cold and confused, having to fight an unknown battle and the biggest enemy is just.. yourself.O yes, I really recognize it when you write about being exposed; feeling so extremely vulnerable..and thus you try to hide this fear, this sensitiveness and try to be strong and independent. In the meantime there is such a big hole inside you and the emptiness harbored inside hurts like hell.
    But again, thanks for this. Sharing helps to heal, to feel better, to regain strength and courage. I will definitely return to this blog because this made me curious to read more..

    • I’m glad my words helped you in some way. It’s the reason I write. 🙂 Know that you are never alone, and that there lie unplumbed depths of courage deep within you. Lots of love,
      Dreamerrambling

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