It’s not easy being Me

October 18, 2010

I talked to a friend yesterday. She was telling me about my being an inspiration for her. She sees me as a wonderful being, it seemed, so free, so creative. I listened to her and thought that she was so wrong. It felt so wrong that she should think so well of me when I know how messed up I am, when I know how many days I spend unable to move, unable to function, because of my fears, of my pain. It was so not right that she should think me so present and creative when I know that most of the time I sit in a corner with my hypochondria smashing me to the ground, when I know that I spend weeks at the time doing nothing but imagining another type of cancer I surely have and will die from, and being terrified into absolute immobility. But it felt right to correct her. It felt right to let her know that I am not great at all, not special at all, no different from anyone else. It felt right, it felt noble almost to be straight, frank, truthful, open. To not pretend that I am someone I’m not. It felt so very good, in fact, that I thought I should look closer into why it feels so good exactly, and I saw that by numbering all my faults and afflictions I am not being open, frank and truthful. I am being deceitful and closed up. I am being a lier. I realized that I didn’t tell my friend about all my problems to be honest with her. I told her about it so that she would not think me special, so that she would not think me different, so that I could be just like everybody else, so that I could be normal, ordinary. So that I could fit in. I formed my trauma into a mask that I hide behind. And so it is very easy for me to tell the world about my trauma, but to talk about what is behind the mask … that is much harder. To say openly, honestly, truthfully, that I am an amazing being. To say clearly that I know who I am, that I know who I was before I was born, and I know who I will be once I die. To acknowledge that I know why I am here, that I know the meaning and purpose of my existence here, and that my life here, therefore, is a great adventure that no fear can limit. To admit that I can see many things clearly, that I am not tangling my life into an intolerable mess, that, even though there is trauma, I am not run by the trauma, my life is not run by the trauma. To admit all that – that is not an easy thing. To own it, publicly, out in the world – that is very difficult. It is much easier to put on the mask of fears, problems, pain. And yet – I can speak of my trauma easily, because I know it’s just a mask, I know it’s not me. But then, as long as the mask is up I can only move so much, extend so far … before I run the risk of the mask being too small to cover up my true face.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erna October 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Aww…take it off! That face is so pretty.

It’s so easy to judge ourselves. Who are we pleasing when we do that? Whose wishes are we obeying? It’s always good to take care to know these things clearly. But I do have to say that when one feels like she is suffering on her own and another shares that she too has these burdens to bear and yet somehow still creates beautiful things for people to look at and to read, well then, it becomes encouraging and supportive. The other feels like maybe she can find the strength to create something even in the holes of despair and darkness that sometimes come over her, her burden of judgment on herself becomes lighter, her prospects in life just seem brighter. As a friend of ours loves to say, what are friends for?

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Pausha October 19, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Very true, and … I don’t think trauma is here only to torment us. I might never have realized how amazingly being present to my death can open my life, how it balances life, had I not organized the hypochondria for myself to deal with.

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