I am so terrified of showing up.
So every single day, I like to make myself uncomfortable by showing up.
But it is not enough for me to exclaim vulnerability like a millennial for dipping my toe nail in the water.
I am doing myself a huge disservice every single day and I know it.
While I am in my happy place watching youtubers and listening to podcasts, I am so uncomfortable at the idea of showing my face or recording my voice because I do not want to be ridiculed.
I have asked myself why and made up many lies already.
I told myself i was not ready, that i did not have enough experience, that i am too shy or melancholy, that i need to practice first.
And it was all a series of BULLSHIT.
I pride myself on being honest, brave, and authentic but I also ridicule myself for not being enough of those things.
So here it is. Plain and simple.
I want to be seen and heard.
I do not want fame, but I sure as fuck want to be liked.
The neglected inner child and abused adolescent girl deep within my psyche are begging for love.
And I have been told this by specialists and social workers before but always sneared or wrinkled my nose in a way where I was sure I was no stereo type. I was NOT submitting to someone else's interpretional story of the psychological issues an abused person must have.
I would not let them define me.
But here I am at 28, with this newfound passion for blogging about Trauma and a lifetime of stories to fit within this niche.
Here I am, hiding behind a screen and shaking to the core at the idea of hitting the record button.
And the truth is it is not fear of not loving what I do, but in me not being received well.
In me becoming visible to the people who hurt me.
If I reveal myself, will I be able to handle the responses.
And this is a natural response for any human, as vulnerability is scary, but especially challenging for an abuse survivor with PTSD.
My brain was trained to not like myself chronically. To feel insecure, broken, weak, fearful, jittery, easily malleable, and fleeting.
My mind tells me daily that I will not be able to see through my responsibilities. That I WILL MESS UP. That I will fail.
And the worst part is often I listen.
But those whispers of doubt actually do confuse me.
I think it is my intuition and inner guidance telling me things like "you know you always get excited for a few days and then ditch that thing you are doing", "you think you can wake up early but years of trying have proven you cannot" to which I respond "yeah, you are right".
I say, yeah....I am not going to follow through with this. I am going to panic and not like this. I am going to lose interest or drop the ball. I always do this and I always will.
And these are all lies.
Manipulation and abuse left a shadow in my head, one that creeps around and lingers in my dreams or motivations, to make sure it can control me at its' will. That shadow is called the aftermath.
And what we mostly do not realize for far too long is that there was a time when that shadow did not even exist in our head or body, because it IS NOT OURS.
People. Those who can relate to this nagging voice of "I am not good enough and no one will like me" ---------> can you recall a time when you did not say those things? A time when you were neutral or even had joy in what you did or who you were?
Most of you can.
I realize now, in analyzing my journey, that I was born into and raised by abusive, sick people. So my first education in mindset and ability was tainted by trauma.
So I am not merely lost in a shadow of doubt because of a hard time in my life that left me wrecked....I was hardwired this way.
And yet, I have always LOVED to set myself apart and LEAP into opportunities.
I have always OOOZED CREATIVITY and EXCITEMENT for the things I could achieve.
I loved grade school and thrived in College, going OVERBOARD AND EXTRA in every project i did.
I still think of ways to be OUT OF THE BOX and GET PUMPED when working on something i am passionate about.
SO WHAT GIVES?
I am brave.
I am vulnerable.
I test my limits and I take risks in order to move forward with my ideas instead of staying in paralysis analysis or not doing anything at all.
BUT if I take a step back and see what I do naturally, I realize this analyzing of my own behaviors is false.
Because there are always more ways to level up.
I have a million ideas a day for videos, blog posts, social media content, art and writing, collaboration ideas, Inspirational books, creative and helpful content to help people grow ------> I rethink the mental health care system, challenge myself to come up with new and improved ways to talk to youth about mental health and abuse, I research trauma and formulate ways for people to self diagnosis and deactivate trauma responses while living with PTSD.
MY MIND IS A CONSTANT FLOW OF ENERGY IN THE TRAUMA SPHERE AND I HAVE VALUE TO BRING TO THIS WORLD.
So what the hell am I hiding from?
I am not a scared little girl hiding in her room behind a dresser.
I am not powerless and weak or inadequate in any way ---------> and I have all the options and tools I need to show up fierce in what I know and what I am most passionate about.
I never thought I fit the TEXTBOOK DEFINITION of an abuse victim.
Because I am energetic, keep busy, love to connect, enjoy talking about progressive ideologies and social constructs so I can advocate for better ways to thrive in life.
I am not "Stuck".
But then I realized....
I do have an immobile piece of me that keeps me from the NEXT THING.
My mind may be pinging around like a pinball game and I may physically run around doing things ALL THE FUCKING TIME.
But where the fu*k has my self esteem been chilling out?
My self worth.
If I take to a keyboard or pen and paper, my thoughts have a place to escape and take life.
But so long as I hold back from speaking and showing my face, I hide the one piece of me that is "Stuck on Pause".
----------> My pride.
The thing that got stomped on by abusive lovers, when I was cheated on and lied to relentlessly. When someones' I loved all looked me in the eyes with promises not meant for me, and I was the one left as a dime a dozen.
The thing that made me cry my heart out like I was screaming for help, until my throat was sore, even though no one could hear me ---> after my dad tried to kill me and then told me he never wanted to see me again.
The thing that made me justify lost opportunities that I was too lazy to finish, or that I was too afraid to even apply to; "that was not meant for me", "I can tell it was not in my path" .
The thing that made me not admit my shame in walking around as a teen mother in clothing too tight and pee leaking without my permission, while all the senior girls were looking for prom dresses "because I was never even into that sort of thing."
The thing that made me sue my parents for abandonment, even though I thought at the time I was doing that shit for honor when it was really for revenge. And validation. And then I lost, sitting there while my parents lied under oath about never having substance addictions or abusing me. And I listened to them validate being "regular parents who disciplined their unruly teen who got pregnant more than once and ran away constantly." And though I disassociated with the memories of that day, I have since recalled how I sat there in shock rather than fighting back or demanding a better lawyer. Instead I just fell in defeat.
My pride has been hurt over and over again.
Having "friends" or toxic relationships I humored because I wanted connections and to be loved, but got scorned and burned by. Only to message them or try to reach out for years because I felt broken by the end of the relationship that was never healthy to begin with.
My pride was hurt when I honored not one but two different long term relationships with my obsessive need to paint a pretty picture and make the best of things, when I had to lead them like cattle to plan any date and be thankful for the crumbs of disinterest I labeled as LOVE of someone just "inexperienced". Master manipulators that I would have a heart breaking attachment to long after it was over, trying to message them and find closure or justify why I tolerated red flags from the start.
My pride does not want to admit I was duped because I did not know better. Or worse, that I did know better because everyone I ever got close to was just willing to humor me and I purposely ran with it further than they had the rope for. Because it was better than nothing.
So now when I think about the social workers with poor delivery skills, who bluntly told me I had a baby at 16 so someone would finally love me ----> to the lawyer I had recently for something good my husband and i are working towards for our family telling me that i must worship my husband because he is the only stability in my life and I would not bare life without him.....
I WANT TO SHOUT AND SCREAM, FKKKKKKKK YOU that is not me.
But I am now humbled enough to realize that the things we find offense in and the things we hate most are a mirror of our deepest insecurities.
What if I have a deep motivation to be a people pleaser after all?
What if I pride myself on vulnerability and yet it is like someone who fell accidentally into a pool and avoided a panic attack while trying not to drown, later claiming they dove off the diving pool and did a perfect landing.
Bad delivery or not, multiple professionals reading off textbook jargon to sum up who I am hurts me.
Because I have been hurt.
Because I have trauma and I have kept tears locked away in safe boxes, all labeled in stickers with sharpie I hand wrote. In clean and neat rows, by the hundreds, hidden in the back office of my brain.
Pain cannot break me down if i micromanage it and hire a part of me to work full time without vacation or pension to guard that door.
Pride sits there on her tall stool and watches that room like a motherfucking boss.
I will not submit to temptation, pride says.
But that's the thing.
So long as pride sits there with that pain and those secrets kept neatly tucked away ----> the information never leaks and my brain stays safe...I do not crumble from the avalanche of traumatic human experiences, and all stays right in my world -----> but Pride is a prisoner and does not age or mature like a NORMAL, HEALTHY persons pride would.
It just stays Stuck on Pause in purgatory.
And that my friends is all just bullshit.
Once you have awareness, you cannot sit still with it.
You are changed.
I am now calling on Pride.
I have a new job for her.
I need her to see a fucking therapist and the light of day again.
I need to tell Pride to join me in a new mission: to SHOW UP.
And I want to play match maker, because I think her and vulnerability may fall in love after sitting together for a while.
There is no longer a reason to keep files buried.
I want to go in there myself, probono, and open each drawer.
I want to read every single page out loud to you.
I want to SHOW UP and I want you to receive me with love, empathy, kindness and compassion.
Because I am scared.
And this is pride finally taking some vacation time.
I want to be important and relevant to myself.
That was the approval I needed all along.
J.S., Jaded Savior
Published by Jean Soto JS Jaded Savior blog: email@example.com
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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