I was reading yet another poignant article on The Rumpus and it got me to thinking again about how I’ve chosen to remain anonymous in this space (you know, as anonymous as one can get on the big ol’ world wide web).
And I’m starting to think that one of my problems — something at the core of everything that I deem “wrong” about myself — is my basic inability to share myself with other people. Ironically, not complete strangers, mind you, or people that I meet only virtually — you guys probably hear more than you want — but with anyone that holds a spot in my “in real life” life.
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who simply was private. Someone who took a little work to get to know really well. But as I look closer, I find that with the exception of one, perhaps two people in my life, no one really has any idea what’s going on with me. I’m not private, I’m utterly closed off.
Most of my friends would respond, if asked, that I was just fine and doing well. “Sure”, they’d say, “she’s still single and I know she’d love to be in a relationship, but her job’s going great, she’s always busy and up to something fun.” In fact, many of my married with kids friends would probably admit to being a little jealous of my lifestyle, as theirs no longer allows for the independence and spontaneity that I enjoy.
Now, my family? None of them have absolutely any idea that there’s anything even close to out of place in my life. Depression? They’d never think it. Lonely? They look at all my friends and activities and would it would never cross their mind. Struggling with being single? They’re quite sure I’m single by choice. I’ve never been one to share much of my social/dating life with them, so no information now isn’t a change.
This leads to the question: why?
The answer is a little complicated, but it boils down to a few bullet points:
- I don’t want anyone to know that there’s anything wrong with me. I don’t want the pity, the knowing glances, the “oh you poor thing”. I don’t know how I would handle anyone wanting to talk to me about the problems I’m having.
- It’s easier to just act happy — I think it makes me more fun to be around. And it helps me — sometimes putting on that mask makes it become reality for at least a little while.
- I already think bad things about myself and hate myself for them — why would I want the people I love thinking those same things and perhaps coming to the same awful conclusions as I have?
Seems a little ridiculous once I put it in black and white.
A little background: growing up, my family didn’t talk much. We joked, we laughed, we teased, we had fun, but we rarely talked about anything of consequence. When I came out to my parents, that was one of the first times that I had spoken frankly and openly with them. So, for me to, say, make this blog public to friends and family? A little terrifying.
But if I’m honest with myself, I’ll notice that I spend a lot of energy keeping myself closed off. A simple example… I don’t tell people, “No, I can’t go out on Thursday because I’ve got a therapy appointment.” Of course not. I give a vague excuse and move on, hoping they won’t press for a more descriptive answer.
One day I’m going to have to take that leap and open myself up to friends and family. Perhaps it won’t be through this blog — there are things in the archives that might hurt some feelings or cause some friends to be a little weirded out (do straight friends get weirded out when they find out they were the object of your love?) — but in some way I think it’ll have to happen for me to move forward.
It’s occurred to me that this might be a huge part of why I’m still single, even. It’s funny because a way-back-in-time ex-boyfriend described me as “emotionally unavailable” when we were breaking up (oh, okay — I was breaking up with him)… he wasn’t so far from the truth, now, was he?