what's one thing you wish people knew about you? i asked this question to a variety of my friends...a couple wanted more time to think about their answer, one said he just wants people to get to know him, one was actually very philosophical, but the rest had different versions of the exact same answer..."i wish people knew i'm not as strong as they think i am".
i've thought about this all day. first of all, why do we feel the need to make others think we're so strong? is it because we truly care that much about what others think...or, is it more to convince ourselves that we're strong enough to handle whatever life throws at us? secondly, why if we work so hard to make others think we're so strong, do we wish they knew we aren't? is that so that we can stop pretending? or, so we can be more forgiving of ourselves if we can't, in fact, handle everything with the ease we feel we should? why the need to put on such a show?
i mean, there are things we each face that are just too hard - at least temporarily. yet, we still expend a ton of energy making sure everyone around us sees us as this unquestionable force, capable of dealing with every trial, every load of crap that gets dumped on us when in reality, sometimes all we wanna do is give up and have a good cry. i know, i know, weakness is a sign that we're somehow less...somehow incapable of doing...doing what? everything? carrying not only our own burdens but those of everyone around us as well? because, if you really think about it, that's part of it. we want...we need...to be able to step up to the plate whenever we're needed - even if we really don't have it in us to do it at the time. we don't want to disappoint those around us...even at our own expense.
i went to church camp as a kid for years and to this day one thing stands out to me...it was the closing campfire of the week, we had spent five days bonding with kids who had been complete strangers just days before...and on that last night, we were asked to create a mask that we then placed on the fire. these masks represented the us we put in front of the world, not necessarily who we really were. these masks held within them our insecurities, our fears, our hopes for what we wished others could see in us...if only we would allow them. we were just kids...jr. high age i'm fairly certain, yet we were able to grasp that at even at that young age we were already posing for the world around us...most often to protect us from the cruelty that comes from being different.
i suppose you want to know my answer to the earlier question. what do i wish others knew about me...well, my easy answer is that i'm actually shy - yeah, i know...you'll never believe it and to anyone i gave that answer to the response was always the same "you hide it well". but, it's the truth. i hate walking into places alone, especially crowded places where everyone else appears to be with someone. i'm honestly terrible at small talk - unless you count the mindless banter that comes with a complete stranger while waiting in line. if i'm honest, i overcompensate with being overly friendly or if you watch close enough, i actually become quiet.
here's the thing, it's actually hard for me to answer this question because at this point i'm not sure what you all don't know about me. maybe that i'm terrified of falling into the same depression so many of my family members have been plagued with for years. or that i fear failing so much that i don't even try many things...that way i don't have to deal with the disappointment of screwing up. i read once that is actually a form of perfectionism...the article was very convincing although i in no way consider myself a perfectionist (i'm too lazy for that). but, most of all, i want people to know that i am exactly who they think i am...i am exactly who i appear to be...a ridiculous mess of anxious and excited, rarely organized in anyway that might make sense to anyone else, an over thinker who sees absolute reality yet follows her heart always, an extrovert who struggles with too much alone time yet gets claustrophobic in crowds and maybe most importantly...almost always strong to the point of exhaustion - because i've finally realized i need to be needed like that almost as much as i need air...yet, i am weak too...i crack just like everyone else...rarely is it in front of others, but it happens and i've learned to let it happen when it does. i am genuinely happy and truly love my life. it's not an act, i assure you. i'm not trying to make you think i'm strong, nor do i care if you think i am. i am simply just me.