Faux Bravery

I was texting a close friend and they said how the fact I have this blog where I’m radically open and on full display is a “brave” thing, and for some reason that didn’t sit right with me – I couldn’t accept that as a compliment. I sat with the thought and tried puzzling it out a bit more on why I felt that way, and I concluded that I am this open in a selfish and unhealthy way.

For context, I grew up emotionally neglected by my parents and ended up learning very unhealthy ways of coping with emotions. I didn’t know how to reach out to friends, or how to ask for support so I would hide little “cries for help” in any way I could, with the hopes that someone would go out of their way to see them and come care for me. This unhealthy habit persisted throughout my life, and it would manifest in me posting cryptic descriptions on my private Instagram, leaving coded messages, or trying to have visible signs of me struggling. None of these things ever worked, and it was a weird cycle where instead of realizing how unrealistic this tactic was, I believed I simply had to leave more clues and do more of the same behavior.

Now, I’m better at this – I can reach out to friends, talk to my therapist whom I see weekly, or do any of my numerous other coping mechanisms, but I guess this blog still reminds me of those cries. I would be lying to say I haven’t sometimes fantasized about certain people reading this blog, recognizing the things I’m too cowardly to confront them with or realizing how I could use some extra support. I’d like to think through conscious effort I’ve moved away from that – part of my proof is how I no longer want a friend to follow through on their word of them subscribing to this blog, (still love you sheepy!). That being said, I still feel like it’s familiar enough to evoke those same feelings of longing for that care and attention I wasn’t given as a child.

The other reason I realized I felt comfortable putting my shameful parts on public display was that I realized no one cares about other people to this extent. Maybe if someone is your partner or someone you are incredibly integrated with they would consciously follow you and be invested in your thoughts – but outside of a very small handful, people are so preoccupied with their lives to give you that much time and effort. I feel like this comes off as incredibly depressing and lonely, but to me, this is an incredibly liberating thing. I don’t feel concerned about how people perceive me, because they’re more focused on themselves to care if I go out wearing pajamas for my morning dog walks. I can be incredibly vulnerable and expose myself on this blog with virtually no consequence because no one who I interact with often cares enough to read the sheer volume of text I pump out. This could either be a sad, lonely feeling, or it could be a freeing and joyous realization. For me, I choose the latter.