“Vulnerability” {Blog}

When I began this website, I vowed to myself and my friends and family a strict ethic of complete transparency and so far I’ve lived up to that.

Social media has created a world in which we have created this impossible social construct of optimism and projected happiness, thereby denying half of our human existence by hiding thoughts and feelings that don’t fit into that construct.

We show our accomplishments and our victories. We show our photos with the brightest smiles and happiest moments. We share photos of our children at their best and their accomplishments.

These are all lovely, wonderfully uplifting things that absolutely should be shared with those we love.

The underlying issue is that we don’t show the uglier side of our lives because we don’t want others to know of our imperfections.

We want them to continue to view us through those beautiful rose-colored lenses.

We want our high school “friends” that we haven’t seen in twenty-odd-years to see how far we’ve come, and what an amazing life we’ve created for ourselves.

Lying by omission.

We are all struggling in some way, shape, or form.

We all have parts within us that are dying or already dead; sacrifices we’ve made in order to have the lives we portray to others both within and without social media.

An unwritten law instilled within us all is that we do not show our fallacies, our melt-downs, and our less-than-wonderful moments and emotions because the automatic, subconscious response from others – due to this unwritten, instilled law – is to critique and judge you for it, marring the reputation you’ve built for yourself.

Last night, I took three klonopin, smoked three bowls (marijuana), and drank a couple of beers (I am not a drinker. I can’t even tell you the last time I drank alcohol) all within an hour.

I then locked myself in our basement bathroom with my ass on the cold tile and my back against the door, and I cried for an hour or more. Ugly, heaving, lonesome, quieted wails that I had no control over. I lost track of space and time. I prayed. I cursed. I pitied.

I reached out to a friend, but that friend was at work and couldn’t reply immediately.

I’m selective who I reach out to in these moments (and I’m always, always humiliated to my core afterward).

I have friends going through chemotherapy for cancer. Friends who have lost a child this year. Friends who have lost parents. Friends dealing with Covid in their household, the loss of jobs, and struggling to put food on the table.

The entire world is suffering right now.

While it is unfair for them to compare my suffering to their own, they are human, and I don’t want to put them in that situation, nor do I want to add anything to their plate.

Suffering is suffering, and we should all hold empty space within our hearts for friends who come to us with their own; without judgement, bias, or subconscious comparison.

At one point I found myself laying on the cold tile; so physically and emotionally/mentally exhausted I had temporarily lost the strength to hold my body upright.

I have never felt so alone in all of my life.

And I have every damn right to feel everything I felt last night, and when it happens again, because it will, I will have every damn right to feel it again.

Do not come at me with, “Focus on the positive!”

“Things always get better!”

“How could things possibly be that bad?”

“Look at all the good in your life!”

I cannot fairly judge your life because I cannot look within your mind to know your true circumstances, just as you cannot look within mine.

Past trauma plays into current situations and we are at the mercy of our minds and their cellular memory in these moments.

“You’re overreacting; it’ll be okay.”

Never, ever accuse someone who is releasing emotion of overreaction. That is a form of mental abuse. We react how our mind, body, and soul need to react in order to release, or unclog our drains, if you will. Everyone releases differently. Just as no human body nor mind is the same; so too is our hardwired physiological response to trauma.

“Just talk to a therapist; maybe get on some meds.”

Band-aids, band-aids, band-aids.

First and foremost, I am a massive supporter of therapy and psychiatry. I am also a massive supporter of meds when needed, but especially natural medicines (marijuana, psilocybin).

I don’t need another synthetic medication (I already take klonopin for panic attacks). I don’t need another person to talk to. The things that I know that I need in order to rectify the underlying causation of my suffering are just out of reach at this point in my life, so my emotions are deeply justified and do not need your biased judgement thrown at me like slaps to the face.

Also noteworthy, through years of therapy I came to understand that I was never properly taught how to release negative emotion as a child/adolescent/teenager because it wasn’t permitted in my household. At nearly forty I’m only just now understanding the importance of emotional release; of expressing my anger when I’m angry and my despair when I’m depressed.

I’m learning these things for my children, because I want to teach by example and therapy has been fundamentally instrumental in this process.

Words from friends, although they may be thrown at you with only loving intention, can be damaging. They’re only trying to help.

To help is just to be there.

Your presence is a present.

Reply to my text, even if it’s just one word. I just want someone there with me in that moment when I’m a million miles away mentally and a thousand miles away physically.

Helping is also knowing when to speak and when not to.

I’m in a cyclical situation that multiple therapists have said, “Wow. That is an intense, pretzel of a situation you’re in. I wish I knew the answers for you,” but the answers won’t come. Not until the timing is right. It’s situational, and I’m doing the best I can, as I always have, as we all do.

So until then, let me suffer. Let me wallow in and feel my pain deeply and profoundly, because it is my right and possibly a very important part of my journey to do so.

For it is when we are at our breaking points that breakthroughs tend to magically appear.

Tomorrow is always a new day, and tomorrow I may be back to the smiling, ever-optimistic, bubbly, extroverted version of myself that most have come to know and love.

I may not be.

I am human.

My emotional range is vast as the universe itself and as deep as, or deeper than the Mariana Trench.

We’ve all met someone with the emotional range of a rock.

I am absolutely *not* that person, and I embrace myself as I am, for all that I am; not just the parts of me that are pretty enough to reveal on social media.

-Shelly

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