Strangely, over the past year or so I’ve received a lot of messages from readers and people curious about the person behind the stories and the social media presence. There is a common thread in many of these messages, and it’s pretty much that for someone who is so public and approachable, no one really knows much about me. That, I’m afraid, is very much the plan on my part. However, I’ve decided to open up just a little and talk about why my life is a closed book.
Over the past ten years I’ve somehow managed to create a very open and direct presence online in social media, and it’s a huge part of my natural personality. It’s also the result of ten years of painful building, because I am not extroverted by nature and find it almost impossible to be out-going. But, this is a public business and a public presence is not only expected, it’s required in the current market.
So, why am I a closed book about myself and my life? Long story, and I’m one who uses words a lot, so let me paint you a picture. Since I was a child, I’ve been a pleaser. I wanted to do things for people. It’s how I overcame my shyness, by being a doer… Early on, I learned it also enabled people to hurt me, deeply. As you can see from the image that accompanies this post, I am not pretty, and never have been. My sister is the beautiful one, and I was always the awkward misfit. When everyone wore cool clothes to school, I wore plain stuff that was comfortable, but hardly fashionable. I know what it feels like to be laughed at, ridiculed, and just generally treated like a freak. (This is not a poor me, this is an explanation of why I keep my private life private, so please don’t start thinking I’m looking for sympathy.)
The whole time I was in school was like this, too. The little fat girl who was always the last one picked for anything, always the class joke. It etched a scar in my soul that will never go away completely. Some kids blow off shit like that with ease. Others, the empathic and sensitive ones, spend a lifetime trying to cope and heal. So, while I involve myself with writing and creating safe worlds where love conquers all…I am also protecting my privacy because that was my only defense from childhood onward–make a shield, and hold onto it.
Whether it’s true or not, I don’t see beauty in the mirror, I don’t see confidence or anything to be much admired. I see the little girl who wanted so desperately to belong and be loved that she took the shit and pretended it didn’t hurt or matter. I still do that. I bleed in private when I’m criticized or someone uses me to further their own ends. I still want to trust people to be what they say there are, even when I know better. It takes me days to recover my emotional balance when someone turns out to a liar and a cheat, or turns their anger on me when it’s their bad mood. I’ve managed to learn to stand up and fight back, but even then it’s not always easy to shake off the hurts.
So, you see, while the walls are in place, I can function and be the public person. My personal space is dark and very unforgiving to me, so I keep it hidden. I’m learning more and more not to take anyone at their word, and to place trust carefully. I should have learned these lessons long ago, but I had the idea for a long time that people were essentially decent and meant what they said–because of course, I don’t make idle/empty promises and I follow through on the things I say I will do. I expect the same from other people, and often that’s just not the case.
Some say creative people are always tortured. Who knows? I have learned to be independent, stronger, and sometimes outwardly cold and/or distant. I value the things I give in any relationship or interaction, honesty, straightforward dealings and integrity. I don’t pretend to be more than what I am–and if that means people feel like they never know me, maybe that’s for the best, too. I have an inordinate amount of fear in my heart a great deal of the time, and it doesn’t matter how hard I try, it remains. The accumulation of a lifetime of rejections, some blatant, some less so. I do my best not to succumb to the darkness, and to always offer the light to people struggling to find their way. I don’t do it to be a hero, I do it because I would hate for anyone to live the way I do inside myself. That simple.
So, to all of the people who ask me why I don’t let people get to know me–maybe it’s a little bit more understandable now. Even this much revelation scares me, but what we fear is what we must face next, so this is me… and yes, it is not pretty–but it is honest and real. I’ve discovered that’s more than can be said for many in this cyber-world we all share.
Blessings, love and light to you all.