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What I’ve Been Afraid to Tell You

May 31st, 2012

 

Although I operate under the guise of openness on this blog, there are many, many truths I choose (or am told) not to write. Complete transparency is funny that way; I suspect there isn’t such a thing, other than in a person’s heart – and even then, sometimes we don’t want to see ourselves. I know that in my deepest innards, there’s a lot of rocks I prefer not to look under. Either way, I delight in this exercise because it makes me look, and after all the heavy lifting, I feel much lighter. This is why I’m writing here. First, I was inspired by this post, and second, because if we aren’t honest with ourselves, what are we?

 

So, the things I’m scared to tell you are:

 

1. I’m disgusted by my writing.

I could be better, I could be better, I could be better! I’m not on par with anything other than average, and that really bothers me, because I don’t feel it’s in my skill set/talent range to go any higher. Or, rather (here we go): I don’t try to step outside the comfort zone of what I know to write, subject and style-wise, so I don’t grow. Which leads me to:

 

2. I’m terrified to finish my work in progress.

I can’t bear it to suck. I’m stalling because once I finish, my crappy first draft (begun circa 1999) will be in front of me and I have to do something about it: make it better. I’m horror-struck at the idea of not being great. So why go through all the mediocre to get there? Is this because I’m lazy? Unmotivated? I’m not quite sure. Those rocks are too heavy. The searing part is that I see Toots not want to finish artwork or a story she’s writing because one line or word is out of place. She also can’t stand anything less than perfection in her work, and since nothing’s perfect, I fear both of us will give up before undergoing the soul muck it takes to be better.

 

3. I’m horribly impatient with my children, and my husband.

Too many times I tune them out to focus on what I’m doing. I’m a child when bored, inconvenienced, or irritated. I’m telling you, it’s a horrible trait. I spend many nights in my room with my computer, typing out the overstimulation. I shut down a bit when I’m needed too much. Since you don’t have the option of an off switch when you’re a parent, I better figure this out, and fast. I bring too much stress, tension, and snapitude to too many situations.

 

4. I believe in the darkest (and lightest) parts of me that I’m not good enough.

Very recently, someone said something about me that made what I feel on the inside (not good enough) real on the outside. In a nutshell, this person’s summation was I was a talentless know-nothing. It’s taken me more than a week to dismiss what he said, and truth be known, I’m still not over it. Refrains of “you can’t do this,” “who do you think you are?” and “stop trying, you’ll never amount to anything” play through my head daily. It’s debilitating, really.

 

5. Sometimes I think something really bad happened in my childhood to make me this way.
A few years ago I underwent a CAT scan and discovered that my right orbital bone had been broken and never quite healed. A bone shard still protrudes into my sinuses, which really explains my inability to breathe from my right nostril (good to know). I asked my dad about it and he had no recollection of anything that might have led to a splintered eye bone other than a teetering fall from my high chair when I was a baby. And that’s probably what it is, but I also get glimpses of images (a basement, a couch) that I can’t reason away, and have had the same dream: running away from someone through backyards, since I was a kid.

 

It’s not that I actually BELIEVE something traumatic happened when I was a child, it’s more the freak-out notion that one can squirrel away awful events (my family tells me about the horrifying incident that made me terrified to fly because I don’t remember even one detail of it myself) and not bring them back from the subconscious. So what lurks there, you know?

 

and…

 

6. Am I lesbian?

Sometimes I think relationships with girls would be easier and nicer-smelling. I know I’m not (too many guys to love from afar and near, i.e. The Rock) but every now and then the thought crosses my mind. Like, “could I be?” if I really tried?

 

It’s probably better if we all just signed off now and pretend this never happened. Of course, everyone ever in the world can see what I’ve written here for eons to come. Which goes to show, I’m not the smartest tool in the transparency shed.

 

(What things are you afraid to say?)

 

On May 31st, 2012, Lua said:

I ADORE this post! Furthermore I think you are incredibly awesome for sharing. Honestly Deb…I love your writing! Every time I read your blog I laugh, learn and enjoy every word! :)

I too am horribly impatient…sometimes I think: “Oh gawd if this was a reality show, someone would make a montage of me and it would look awful.” – Ultimately though, I’m aware of it and I take time to correct myself when I can and since you even realize it about yourself…I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think. We are all hard on ourselves.

And you know what?! I think you’re right…being a lesbian could be quite nice! Clean house, good food, potpourri, endless chick-flicks and you could double your wardrobe!(provided you wear the same size) ;)

…that’s how it works right?! Hehe

On May 31st, 2012, laura said:

I’m always amazed by your honesty.

Ok, #2 ~ I’ve read your work and am waiting to finish the rest of it (hint *cough* hint). And? It’s fabulous. FABULOUS!!! I wish I could push your fast forward button so we could get to the part at the end of the whole process and I could give you a big hug and say, ‘Well done!! I knew you were going to rock this!!!’
xoxo

On May 31st, 2012, gigi said:

I love how you approached this prompt – been seeing a lot around the web. I am right there with you on #3 and #4.I’d be such a better person if I was less impatient with others and more kind to myself. Makes me wonder if I did one, if the other would follow.

Great food for thought.

On May 31st, 2012, Theresa said:

I want to punch the dude in #4 in the FACE….

I adore you so much and I am a huge fan of every SYLLABLE you have ever written. Even the early stuff in 3rd grade… brilliant!!

I am standing by to show up at your book signing someday SOON with my copy in hand waiting to get your signature and I weepy hug.

So proud of the woman, mother, wife, writer and creative genius you are today.

On May 31st, 2012, Middle State said:

“I shut down a bit when I’m needed too much.”
Nice to know at least that you are not the only one. I did this for a month in order to work through some things. So much fell into neglect that I am paying my dues and will for some time. But, yes, I have a hard time compartmentalizing my problems. I carry it all around in a big sack until I fall over. Then I shut down.

On May 31st, 2012, Wendy said:

Give yourself some more credit! You’re brilliant!
Didn’t see number 6 coming…at all. Hilarious.

On May 31st, 2012, julie gardner said:

First of all, I think onions are hot.
Secondly, if you’re not good enough I’m screwed.
Third, if I weren’t married I would try out #6 with you.

Still, all of these have a similar theme.
Which is a strength in writing, no?

Crap.
Okay, I’m done.

On May 31st, 2012, Crystal said:

Deb…you are super freakin’ awesome. If any chick says she hasn’t pondered #6 – she’s lying…lying I tell you! I’m also #3, and I’m pretty sure something #5-ish happened to me as well.

I have loved reading your writing since I first came across you in the blogosphere, oh I don’t know…some time when I only had 3 kids, and now I have 5. LOL.

It’s okay if we carry this stuff — we just can’t let it consume us and keep us from moving forward. You are bomb-diggity. Just know that. :-)

On May 31st, 2012, Crystal said:

OH…and like Theresa said, I’d like to punch #4 Dude in the face…or throat…or nether regions…whichever one I could reach first.

On May 31st, 2012, Jessica said:

ok. 1. Back off ladies! Deb switches sides, she’s mine. Then again, I’d have to switch sides but i’m already half way there (divorced) .

Deb you know how much I adore and admire you. I’m the luckiest friend and businesswoman in the world knowing that you are right there working with me side by side (okay skype by skyp…) forget it. You are brilliant and talented and if we can’t punch the guy, can we sue him? fucking loser.

On May 31st, 2012, Mrs. Wonder said:

Number 3 for me too, more often than I’ll admit.
And anyone that said you were talentless- doesn’t know shit.

On May 31st, 2012, Marta said:

I too loved this. And in so many ways I feel the same way as you. I want greatness. Really desperately want it. But I’m terrified to even try to go for it because of the inward fear of not actually being good enough. Of not being able to do it. So if I don’t try, I don’t really fail. Which doesn’t make it easier as someone who hates mediocrity and the mundane.

Whoever said you can’t do it is a jackass. He can’t do it himself and his way of coping is to bring someone else down. I hate people like that. What good do you achieve by bringing someone else down?

On May 31st, 2012, Kerstin said:

LOVE this post.

Aaaaannnnnd :
#1 – what are you talking about? I love your style of writing and since when is it wrong to write how it suits you best? You should be writing in your comfort zone, everything else would just not feel like you.

#2 – you’ll get there when you get there – the road is part of the journey and once again I see nothing wrong with it!

#3 – now this one: I am totally with you… I think the problem is that we feel – as parents – that there is no off switch, so we snap. We have to learn that there is a switch and we have the right to flip it off for a little while. And by “we” I mean myself and I will let you know how it goes ;)

#4 – people who bring you down like that usually lead very pathetic and sad existences themselves. I believe that people should respect each other and of course there are people that rub us the wrong way, or we feel like they should not quit their day-job to become *whatever*, but bluntly being mean? That is just a sing of a person who is hurting themselves and need those quick fixes of bringing others down to make it through their day. YOU ARE AEWSOME!

#5 – once again: I’m with you. I have this bald spot of the side of my head that I’ve had since I was little and nobody knows where that came from either….

#6 – I have always said that if my marriage (which is #3, by the way) goes down the drain, my next relationship will be with a woman and that is all.

As for you: wayward daughter, carry on!

On May 31st, 2012, Darcy said:

So, here I am, watching an HBO drama about Hemingway, pouring glass after glass of merlot, and silently lamenting my complete and utter failure to produce anything remotely resembling the Great American Novel … and I read this. One paragraph in, and my thought? DAMN. THIS is a writer. DEB is a writer. Don’t ever doubt that, my friend. You’re so much better than good enough. xoxox

On June 1st, 2012, Chrisy said:

Adore this and YOU! Most if not all of the things you’re afraid to tell us…I believe…many of us feel. You’re an awesome writer, mother, wife, and…maybe something bad happened to you—maybe it didn’t. And if you were a lesbian, you’d have all the best girls fighting for you! xoxo

On June 1st, 2012, tracy@sellabitmum said:

I love this. And you and your honesty. I don’t think I could ever have the guts that you do. (And tell Ms. Julie up there that you are mine;). xo

On June 1st, 2012, green girl in wisconsin said:

Like you, I shy away from writing the really hard stuff.

On June 2nd, 2012, Jennifer said:

Whoa! I could relate to almost every single word you wrote here. Thank you for sharing the painful stuff. You are brave & yes, indeed, a great writer.

On June 2nd, 2012, becky said:

Oh, Deb. I get it on the writing front. And you know what? You are one of the ones I love to read because you inspire me to be better (even as I fear I’ll never get up to your level). It’s all relative, isn’t it?

Also? I want to punch the person who told you that you’re not good enough. Because, dammit, you are one of the most tenderhearted people I know & anyone that tries to crush your spirit needs to have some time in a dark alley with me and a crowbar. (What?)

I nodded yes to so much of what you had to say. Not feeling adequate. Being impatient with my kids, which makes me feel all kinds of guilty because this time with them when they’re small is so SHORT and am I making it shorter by wanting to do what *I* want to do in the evenings?

So, yes. To all of it.

On June 2nd, 2012, Kizz said:

You didn’t ask for advice but I need to say this so you can skip it if you need to. What if you decided you’d just finish the first draft and then just give it to someone you trust to read. Someone who wouldn’t say what was wrong but who would list some things that were right and maybe request more of some things and less of others. Give direction without breaking the skin. You know? ‘Cause you are good enough and Toots deserves to see you finish this even though it’s hard.

Gosh, I don’t say so much stuff that I can’t even distinguish what it is. I guess the thing I don’t say the most, the hardest, is that I do want to be in a relationship but the desire not to have that relationship suck is my convenience excuse.

xo

On June 2nd, 2012, becky said:

I love what Kizz said, and I would happily be that person if you wanted me to. xoxo

On June 2nd, 2012, LAURA LEE said:

I DIG YOU, DEB.
Thanks for your candor. You are very brave.
You are awesome, too, and as someone who has suffered from issues of self esteem as you have described above — you gotta just know, you are loved and I see how special you are. Seems like you have a lot of people around you who love you long time and also agree that you are special and daring and AMAZING.
Own that in your heart of hearts.

On June 2nd, 2012, San Diego Momma said:

I feel sort of speechless right now. SO I’ll be back. And thank you.

On June 3rd, 2012, Erika said:

I love your honesty in this post, and your willingness to share.

So much of our journey is reflection, and acceptance. I think the acceptance part is hard for many of us. Including myself.

So many of our “tapes” that we tell ourselves (like what you talk about in #4) are merely a result of what we observed around us up until age 6 – when our brains were imprinting into our subconscious. That’s where those underlying “beliefs” come from.

The great thing is that there are things we can do to shift those patterns. I know for me, understanding that it’s the way my brain was forming that led to these beliefs, helped me move toward acceptance. Prior to that, I used to say “what’s wrong with me that I think these things about myself?”

Anyway, hugs to you for sharing your heart. Love.

On June 3rd, 2012, Joann Woolley said:

Isn’t honesty the best policy… and probably more true when talking about being honest with numero uno! I joke all the time I shoulda been a lesbian… men and women just do not think the same way so it would be easier for sure!
Your writing is great. I want to give a piece of my mind to that person who told you somethinig about not being good enough… wow.
A great share. One that makes the rest of us think.

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