Last night, my friend Raine messaged me asking for a favor—she said that she was going to embark on a quest to get out of her comfort zone: that is, for a hundred days she was going to do at least one thing a day that frightened her in an attempt to grow as a person. She asked if I would be there to remind her to do these things, once a day—and I said yes, of course. I also said yes to joining her on this quest to be fearless. Just because I love the T. Swift song, I am going to name this Head First, Fearless to go with the whole shiz-named-after-songs-thang e.g. Coffee & Flowers.
While I can’t and shan’t speak for Raine, who is an infinitely more private person than myself, I suppose I can tell you what she told me that made me agree to this whole lotta cray in the first place. She said that there was that whole 100 Happy Days thing floating around but that the problem with that is happiness is so fleeting—we shouldn’t base our growth around happiness. We should base it around fear—and conquering it because that way, we get stronger and really, truly progress as human beings (whatever that means). And I agree. So, as I vowed not to keep a journal this year in an attempt to avoid my tendency to live wayyy out of the moment, I will instead post it up here so that a) people who are maybe a lot like me and scared of everything can find some semblance of good juju here and b) I am able to process my thoughts and introspect without completely cutting myself off from the rest of the world.
So, onto today’s entry: vulnerability.
As I think I mentioned a few months ago, I have a huge dilemma with directness. Although that said, I feel the need to emphasize that I’m not afraid of confrontation. I feel like this is because confrontation is very solid whereas I am afraid of being direct with emotion, with affection, with the softer things. I can be fluffy and hyper and perky but I am hardly ever able to say how I feel, when it counts.
I have a problem with being seen as the victim. I have problems with pity—I think that the worst thing you could do to someone is pity them—and yet sadly, I cannot fully divorce myself from my Catholic upbringing: pity is what I feel toward myself when I feel like I am visibly vulnerable. It makes me feel so small. Some days I think about why I write (fiction) and why it has become such a central part of who I am and I feel like it is the only way that I have been able to make myself completely vulnerable without hating myself.
Today, though, I was able to accomplish vulnerability (surprisingly). Talking about this on here is making me feel it even more (I’m cringing on the inside), but we will power through this. Mostly because I promised—but also partly because I want to.
When I started working, I found myself feeling like I was back in the sixth grade. When I was a new student in Manresa (where I went to high school), on the first day I buried my face in a book because I didn’t want to have to go through the awkward first day isolation of being a new student. The book was Oliver Twist, although I remember also having a Brian Jacques book in my bag (can’t remember which, though). And it did kind of work. I don’t think it was as awkward as it would’ve been had I not brought the book.
I employed the same strategy when I got employed around four months ago: bring a book to minimize the awkwardness and also to convey a non-necessity for company. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the terrible degree to which friendships can go wrong and how there is so much to lose when you interact as in, really interact with people. Interaction isn’t just you hearing or saying things, it’s also giving parts of yourself away and allowing yourself to be altered by other people and their unique set of ideas, thoughts and emotions.
To be perfectly honest, one of the reasons why I thought I would be really well-suited for my job (aside of course, from the obvious writing aspect) is that it required minimal interaction: but life happens–the only way out is through. None of us escape unscathed but also none of us escape untouched by the lives of others and where there are opportunities for pain and endings, there are also opportunities to begin and to learn and to form friendships. And I guess I’d forgotten that that’s one of the things that make life worthwhile.
Today, I realized that I have allowed myself to care about the people around me who are (relatively) new to my life. I’ve opened myself up to wanting to make friends and to the possibility of again, losing said friends. I’m still not very good at saying what I mean, in essence–maybe I will never be good at directly saying I care or this is why you shouldn’t go or you can do it or stay, stay, stay or whatever friendship-like things people say. But I know that I mean it–and that’ll do for today.