The thing my blog has taught me, if nothing else, it’s that I’m afraid of being vulnerable, afraid of judgement, and afraid of rejection. This translates to being afraid to be myself, on the internet and elsewhere.
When I started law school, I was brimming with false confidence. I was just gonna walk through those doors and win it all, get an important job at a big firm with a big paycheck which would probably lead to a big house and an expensive car and clothes and shoes and all the other things one needs. As it would happen, my experience with law school and the legal industry in general would deliver nothing fancy for me to hide behind.
By the time I left law school, I was thoroughly humbled, though not in any way that was particularly useful to me. I lived in a constant state of scarcity. Nothing would ever be enough. I would never be enough. I found my way into litigation, and spent every day embroiled in family drama. I took it all on my shoulders. Perhaps I could be enough for my clients. For someone. For anyone.
The weight of it crushed me.
At the same time, my marriage was failing and I hid it from everyone. My friends and family were shocked when I was suddenly separated from my husband. But, in fact, the only thing sudden was the announcement. I suffered alone for months, maintaining the appearance in person and online that ALL IS AS IT SHOULD BE AS PER USUAL NOTHING TO SEE HERE SORRY I FORGOT YOUR BIRTHDAY JUST BUSY.
I know this is bad for me, and even worse, I know I’m not alone and I think that is very bad for all of us. We fear vulnerability and we suffer in silence and self medicate and loose sleep and thank god for flattering filters on all of our social media posts. Because, of course, everything is fine. Perfect, really.
I had a really foul day yesterday. The first thing I did yesterday morning was re-publish this site, which I had taken down nearly immediately after I wrote my most recent post in December about re-publishing everything I had previously unpublished. (I know, it’s exhausting to me, too.) I was feeling pretty okay about the nice little “about me” page I had written and though the formatting on my CV page was frustrating me (someday I’ll just write this site from scratch, but today is not that day) that was looking fine, too. I mentioned it all to Ben, or showed him the nice, sanitized online version of me I had created, and he said something along the lines of, “I just think it’s a little weird that you deleted all your blog posts.”
My face must have betrayed me and said what I was thinking, because he was pretty busy after that for a while. How dare he judge me! It’s totally reasonable that I would want to carefully architect my image on the internet because there are going to be people judging me and I want to make sure they judge me correctly, not accurately.
Later, as we made breakfast in the same room but not together, he must have decided I’d had enough time to fume and his curiosity got the best of him. He asked gently if something was bothering me. I don’t remember if I burst into tears before or after I told him that I had felt judged by his comment. I blabbered that I know it’s actually me and my fear of judgment that is the problem, not that he’s actually judging me but nonetheless, *gestures to my snot-covered face*
His response was perfect, of course. He said that my blog reflects me and he really likes me and that it’s brave to be vulnerable. Which was very sweet and annoying because here I am.