I’ve been trying all day to think of a straightforward, cohesive way to write this post. But it hasn’t come to me, so I’m just going to write.
First of all, I’m no longer going to be sharing my new blog posts to facebook. I might still do it if it’s my monthly book post, or something equally light and non-personal. But the posts that actually mean something to me internally are not going to be shared. I’m fairly certain nobody checks my blog if they don’t see a new post on facebook. And I’m okay with that, because I’m really just writing for ME. Because I need it. But just in case you do stumble across this post, you’ll now know to occasionally check back for more. If you care to read it. If you don’t, that’s okay too!
I’ve been really struggling lately with how much I can say publically. I don’t want to hurt people that are close to me. But I also want to write what really matters to me. I want to have a voice. Unfortunately, having a voice comes with consequences. It doesn’t seem to matter what I say – if I verbalize an opinion about something – and it can be anything – there will always be at least one person who wants to argue with me. Which you might be thinking is just the way life works. But I’m highly sensitive, deeply internalize any negativity that is thrown at me, and have a very, very hard time of ever letting it go. So I guess for my own protection, I’m going to start trying harder to not say anything anymore. Except in places like this blog, where the only people now reading are the ones who cared enough to actively find out what’s going on in my head.
Something that bothers me more than just about anything else, is when I’m told by a friend or family member that I’m not allowed to feel the way that I feel. If you want to instantly destroy a part of my soul, insist to me that I’m not allowed to feel disappointed, upset, or hurt by something that happened to me. One of the strongest examples I have of this is an argument I had with, at the time, a close friend over the boys’ t-ball coaches. I won’t go into the details, but I was disappointed in how lacking the coaches were in teaching young kids completely new to the game, any type of explanation or actual coaching on what to do. It caused Shepard to be crying in confusion at nearly every practice. Isn’t being in a new situation and having no clue or instruction what to do one of the worst places to be? Was it my right to be upset that the people in charge of changing that for him were doing absolutely nothing? According to my friend, absolutely not. I was supposed to be bowing in gratitude that they were volunteering their time. Speaking an ill word against their methods (or lack thereof), was apparently the worst thing I could have done. Anyway, the end result of this story, is that I basically lost one of my best friendships. I’ve felt that I had to be constantly on guard with her and what I say to her forever after that. And it still hurts me, years later, that I can’t just be myself.
Another huge example of this, is when I say something negative about Caden. Maybe not directly negative about him, but I mention how much his attitude and bad behavior, oftentimes violence and insults, have ruined something for me. Caden HATES going places, hates doing anything outside of the home. Every vacation, special dinner, outing, birthday, etc. – he finds a way to ruin it. I’d say 80% of the time. IT SUCKS. And more often than not, people try to tell me I’m not allowed to be upset. That whatever he’s doing can’t really be that bad. They’re under some illusion that he’s a perfect child and surely I’m exaggerating the problem. Don’t get me wrong, he CAN be a great child. But in a situation where I say it hasn’t gone well – believe me. Unless you’re Greg, you have no idea the depths of issues we’ve faced with Caden over his lifetime. So do not tell me I’m not allowed to be upset. Do not tell me I’m exaggerating. Do not tell me I should gloss over the situation and pretend it’s all fine for the sake of someone else who isn’t even there and sharing the experience with us. It hurts me so much that people who are supposed to be close to me, tell me I’m not supposed to feel the way that I do.
Another thing that really irks me is when people accuse me of not thinking about the repercussions of what I say. I may not always be great at censoring myself in person in the spur of a heated moment, but more often than not I just keep my mouth shut because I know it’ll get me in trouble. And confrontation scares the heck out of me. But when I post things online you can be sure that I’ve really thought about what I said before I say it. I know that sometimes whatever I say might not make every person feel absolutely perfect. And I try very hard not to directly say something hurtful about someone because that’s always fodder for the gossip mill. But sometimes I just really need to say something and I need people to accept that.
I think what hurts the most is that most of these issues occur between me and a family member or close friend. There’s a difference between having a friendship that’s open and honest and a friendship where one person continues to tell the other that they’re not allowed to be themselves. I realize I’m probably not always the easiest person to get along with. I’m very easily irritated, usually because I feel misunderstood, overwhelmed, or frustrated. While I like having someone take an interest in my life, I don’t like feeling like I’m being under interrogation. I’m easily offended, sensitive, and hold on to grievances for a long time. But I also think I’m a pretty good friend when I feel like I’m accepted for who I am. I deeply appreciate the few friendships I have that go beyond the small talk and illusions of life perfection. I crave the relationships in my life that are honest and real. And I’m hurt again and again by the people that should accept me, but don’t. The people that always see me as the bad guy, even though it’s usually because I’m advocating for someone in my immediate family. I’m pushed out more often than I’m included, and on days like today, it really hurts.
So that is my plea, thrown out into the universe. Let me be me. Please stop telling me I can’t feel how I feel. Stop telling me what I can and can’t say because of how I feel. I need to be me. And I will continue to be.