we want to be seen


we all want to be seen. we all want to be validated. why is it so hard?

sometimes the problem is us. in my life, often it’s me. i want to be known and heard, but it’s hard to share the truth of my reality. i dole out bits and pieces of myself, sharing a portion of this and a smidgen of that, but i’m never fully exposed. i keep many of the dark bits hidden inside. i remain convinced that the reality of me is unhandleable and unsupportable. i remain convinced that if people really knew me, if they understood me or even worse, if they could read my thoughts – the anxious ones, the depressed ones, and the defective ones – they’d leave on swift feet and never look back.

that’s on me.

i want to be seen, i just want to control it a little. i don’t want people to see everything. i don’t want them to know how much i obsess about food. i don’t want them to know i struggle against measuring everything i eat. i don’t want them to know i still count bites of food. i don’t want them to know i count at all. i don’t want people to know i can’t work mayonnaise.

i want to be seen but i don’t want people to know that i still think about ways to kill myself. this is not an active suicide thing, it’s an ideation thing but i worry about what my friends would think and how my family would react if they knew. i’m afraid of what they’d do if they knew the thoughts that pop into my head, at any given time, frequently.

i want to be known, but i don’t believe people won’t tire of me. i don’t believe they’ll accept me when they learn that sometimes, i struggle with leaving the house. that sometimes going out in public, even with friends, is hard. that often, other people are overwhelming to me. i obsess over what the world thinks, certain that the lady behind the counter at the thrift store or the cashier at the grocery store considers me nothing more than a hot mess.

i struggle with trust. i struggle with the idea that i will be abandoned if people know my whole truth. my inside voice likes to remind me that i’m too ugly and weird and damaged for people to handle. i remain convinced that i’m on sufferance. what if i’m right? what if i share myself fully and people leave? i’d be alone.

definite trust issues.

i obsess about the people i encounter, and those in my circle. after all, how well can you really know someone? we can never really know what’s in someone’s heart and soul. we only know what they choose to share. all we have are their words and our belief in their character. it’s a leap of faith that requires trust but i have difficulty trusting my judgment. when i’ve been wrong in the past, it’s been epic. if i can’t fully know someone, how can i fully trust someone? how can i believe them when they say, “talk to me”?

trust is hard.

unfortunately, it’s the only game in town.

if i want close relationships, if i want intimacy, if i want to be seen, then i have to take the risk. i have to jump.

a history of betrayal and abuse and abandonment makes that hard.

i want to be like the child i mostly wasn’t. i want to be open to people and experiences. confident, utterly, that the people around me will be there for me if i reach out. confident that someone will pick me up if i fall.

it’s somewhat of a catch-22. you can’t know them ‘til you trust them, and you can’t trust them ‘til you know them.

i want a guarantee that is not forthcoming. i want someone to promise that it’ll all work out and i can’t have that. i want to be sure i’m safe before i share fully but there are no guarantees. we have to step forward into the dark, open ourselves up, and risk.

we need to trust that those around us are being honest.  we need to trust that they deserve our honesty in return. we need to believe that our darkness is not enough to send them away.

the alternative is to not trust, to stay small, to stay closed off. to never love fully, to never stretch our arms wide to embrace life.

i’ve hidden myself for a long time. i’ve pretended to be what i’m not. eventually, that wears you down. it makes you angry and the hostility bleeds out into the relationships. “how can you not see me? how can you not know what is so obvious to me? how can you be so blind?” questions like that belie the truth; people can only know us as much as we let them.

i’ve been trying. i’ve been taking the leap. i’ve been sharing more of my truth. it’s hard. i feel like an exposed nerve. i feel like a burden. i feel like ultimately, people will leave me for someone who is less work. the voice in my head that tells me to stay hidden suggests i have nothing to offer. that any good i may bring is outweighed by my negatives.

i don’t have these thoughts about others when they share their truths with me. my thought processes don’t require consistency.

a leap of faith is required to avoid doing the same old, same old. nothing changes if nothing changes. repetition is a trap that will lead me back to where i started from and honestly, i’m tired of living there. it’s time to be fully honest. it’s time to start reaching out when i’m at my worst and believe that in those moments, the people i’m relying on will be at their best. it’s time to believe that if i don’t get what i need from someone, it doesn’t say anything about me. it just means that i need to reach out again.

it means that i have to try and trust; i have to believe that if the worst comes to pass, if some choose to abandon the field, i’ll be okay.

living an authentic life, living your truth, and being seen is vital. it’s definitely more important than being safe.

5 thoughts on “we want to be seen

  1. The beauty of reaching this stage is knowing what it’s like to be alone and abandoned and knowing that you managed to survive it, in whatever manner it was, you’re still here and you can share as hell survive it again.

    Nothing changes if nothing changes is one of the simplest yet most life changing lessons one can learn (and actually implement).

    Liked by 1 person

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