Saturday, December 04, 2010

On The Outside Looking In

I wasn't a popular kid in high school.  I was kinda geeky, with braces, glasses, a Toni Home Perm & home-made clothes.  I was shy & socially awkward, & overcompensated in situations where I didn't feel comfortable with a loud guffaw & inappropriate conversation.  For many reasons, which I won't get into now, I felt inadequate, unnoticed & under-appreciated.

I was, paradoxically, also utterly convinced of my own brilliance.  I also knew, KNEW in my BONES that some day I would be famous.  I was certain that I would succeed at something creative ~ most likely writing ~ & would picture myself on Letterman giving a charming & amusing interview about my accomplishments.

The two halves have never fully merged. 

Sure, I am a little more competent in dealing with people.  Yes, I've worked hard to overcome my shyness. {My secret trick?  Pretend I'm playing a role, a confident woman.  It kinda works!} But sometimes?  The socially awkward kid threatens the confident one.  Sometimes?  When things seem to be going well?  I sabotage myself, subconsciously intentionally.  & sometimes?  I find it hard to believe that people actually like me.  I often wonder if I am merely tolerated.  I am unable to see me as others do ~ to see me in a flattering light.  As with most people, I am my own worst critic.  I often {okay.... um..... every day} replay conversations in my head, thinking of how I could have done things differently, how I could have sounded smarter/more empathetic/more witty/more more MORE.  My therapist called it "self abuse".  & it is abusive.  & I can't figure out how to stop.  For someone who may appear confident, or knowledgeable, I constantly & pathetically second guess myself.  About everything.

There are very few people in this world who have seen the real me.  Not the me now starring in the role of "Wilma", but just me.  Most of you may think you are one of those people.  You would most likely be wrong.  My family has no idea who I really am.  They've only seen flashes of that girl.  It's not I think she's so awful, but just that I am loathe to make myself vulnerable, to lay myself out there naked & shivering, hoping for approval & unqualified love & acceptance, while facing possible hurtful rejection of who I really am.

I am trying to do that here.  I'm trying to be me, not "Me" but just me in this place.  DBM is supposed to be my sanctuary, my outlet, my cathartic release.  I feel pressure, self-induced pressure, to be witty, to be entertaining, to be "Wilma".  I don't think that is the point of this place.  I don't think that is why I started coming here.  I know it's not why I continue.

I found some old letters yesterday that gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.  They were quite complimentary to me & I can't believe that I forgot about them.  Some people do "get" me.  Some people see through the role to the core of who I am.  Those people are so rare that when I discover one, I want to wrap my arms & legs around them & nevah, evah let go.   

& today?  Today I am confused by two things. 

  1. When I came to DBM today, there were 11 people perusing the site.  I didn't know 11 people even KNEW about the site!  {Okay, slight exageration as I do have 21 followers... but you get my drift}
  2. When I checked out my site stats, I was flabergasted to see that there were over 400 visits to DBM on Friday.  On ONE DAY!?!?!  My previous high was 70ish. 
The first thought that popped into my head was that they came here by accident.  Cuz they sure couldn't be here on purpose.  

Mayhaps my self-esteem needs some more work.


Bronwyn said...

I like you. You rock. Tell your insecure part to get with the program!

Belle said...

I don't know if any of us knows the real complete person that is someone else. We can get close maybe, but not know or understand everything about someone. I still say things that stun my family and they know me very well.

Queen of Halloween said...

We are our worst enemies! I stopped listening to the objectionable person in the mirror long time ago and have never felt better! You are NEVER going to please it, EVER!
The Wilma I know, needs to tell that twin of hers to shut up...seriously! You should believe in that strong side of yours that has gotten you here so far girl! My fav advice is to "stop building mountains out of mole hills". It's like a pimple...leave [yourself] it alone and it won't get worse, might even go away.
As for your life "role playing"...isn't any different than any of ours [mine], we all doing it! There are days that I would love to walk around bawling my eyes out in public for that's how I feel, but don't. I have learned thru blog land that we are all vulnerable to our own degrees.
I love this post because you have gotten back to the "Death Bed Moment" writer that the 400 has been waiting for...
You go'll always have my vote...:)
And I vote for the strong twin!

Carrie said...

FOUR HUNDRED? Lady, I'm officially jealous. I cracked 80 once with the french panic blog, and I hover at about 15 hits per day, average.

Note that I am being all superficial about blog stats and not commenting on how much I can relate to this post.

Second guessing yourself? I hear you. I do it too. About everything. It's fucking tiring, isn't it?

David George said...

Hi Wilma,

It was you at high school, it was me at secondary school ... I didn't have the perm or the home-made clothes, but believe me, the things I wore were worse.

I could go on, but you get the idea: I was you, you were me - with obvious differences. And in many ways I haven't improved; I lost a good friend by making stupid, inappropriate jokes when he was having a tough time. Fool that I was, that I remain.

But here's the deal. You don't need the therapist - save yourself a fortune. You just need to understand something.

First, you are as you are. Forget trying to 'improve' yourself. For one thing, it's impossible - we have our natures from the moment of conception, I truly believe. Oh, yes, we learn the athletics of walking and holding cups, we learn language and mathematics, the social graces. But they are not who we are. I am still the half-brilliant, half-idiot, usually insufferable and intractable nuisance that I always was.

But I am not afraid. And I was. Oh, boy, was I ... I used to be arachnophobic, among other things. Once I was trimming a hedge, encountered a large nest of spiders about 2cm across, and almost fainted with fear and nausea. No more; these days I am the clearer-away of spiders, bugs, anything that dares to infest my space. Because being afraid is who I am not. I have learned not to fear. Probably too late - my history is littered with opportunities, romantic and otherwise, that I did not take because of my then-timidity. Nowadays I am less interested, but there remain plenty of things I could be afraid of, and am not. Honestly: I don't think I'm afraid of anything these days - not death, not life, not anything in between. The trick is simple - pick something you're afraid of, and face it, embrace it, roll yourself in it. I doubt the stories of people being frightened to death; I have the greatest suspicion about the lasting nature of trauma. I think it's learned behaviour combined with attention-seeking - go on, shoot me down, I'm not afraid.

And here is my final point for this comment: do what you can, and live with what you cannot change. For example, you cannot change the past. You cannot. So, why worry about it? The moment I post this comment on your blog, it's done - if I offend you mightily (hope not!) then still it does not matter, for the deed is done. There is no need for guilt, no point in blame - there is only the situation, and what you choose to do about it.

I like your blog. I hope you will reply and maybe visit mine - it's called TWOP - The Will of the People. And I hope I have given you comfort.