I have learned a lot about myself since the divorce and the one thing I have come to realize very distinctly is that I am two people. I am the person I let most people see & then I am the person I rarely let anyone get to know.
They are both technically accurate versions of who I am. It's not that one is fake & one is who I "really" am. It's more that the one everyone sees is an incomplete picture of my personality. There are pieces of the whole that are missing from the person I let people get to know.
Publicly, I am funny, polite, warm, friendly, strong, and put together. I have very limited emotions that I show to people. It's limited to happy, silly/goofy, angry, and frustrated. I am never sad in public. I am never vulnerable. I am never hurt. I let people think I have my shit together even when I am completely falling apart. I portray a very strong person who never lets things get to her or knock her down. People generally never know what is really going on in my head.
The other part of me is the much more emotional & much more sensitive. I am very deep but it never shows, bc I deflect everything w/ humor. I am a someone who cries quite often but very few people know that. I am very affected by the things people say about me or do to me, but again, no one would ever know that. I have a myriad of emotions that I don't let people know about. I am second guess myself all the time & I am not nearly as strong as I let people think I am. I am also very cynical about people. I assume that people don't genuinely want to be in my life & have some other motivation/reason for being around me besides the fact that they enjoy being around me. But I almost never let anyone know I think that way.
The more emotional, more vulnerable part of my personality is one I rarely ever let anyone see. Most people I know describe me as "strong" and I let that continue to be the person everyone sees. For example, everyone commented on how well I was handling the divorce bc other than 2 or 3 people, no one knew I went home every night & sobbed my eyes out for roughly a year. No one knew that I would skip taking my medication so I could just sleep the minute I got home from work & not have to think. I kept those things to myself.
I find some relief in this blog, which has always operated as my place to talk about the things I don't usually discuss about myself. My crushing social anxiety, for example, and my heartache over the divorce & my ever-present certainty that I will not be in a relationship ever again. Those are things I don't really discuss w/ people, although I make self-deprecating jokes about it bc it allows me to deflect away if people ask me about those, or other, sensitive topics.
I guess that's why it is such a terrible thing for me when someone I care enough about to let them see the entire person I am suddenly takes off. I am so reticent to let anyone see the whole picture, so when someone does, it's a rare thing. It's incredibly difficult for me to feel like I can be completely myself around someone. When I do, it's a huge thing for me. I do it with people that I have determined will likely be around for a good amount of time & who won't abruptly cut off contact with me. But, considering I start with the assumption that no one will meet those two things, it's hard to stop expecting the worst from people.
The confusing & difficult thing is that I would like to have people I am close with & who I can be the whole person I am around. But @ the same time, I am too cynical/skeptical/afraid to let people get close enough for that to happen. And there is always a part of me, the part of me that I rarely show anyone, that is afraid that people wouldn't like me anymore if they got to see all of me, the funny, witty, friendly, independent, strong public side & the emotional, vulnerable, sensitive, fragile private side. I don't want to lose the friends I do have, even if they don't know all of who I am, so I keep this part of my personality deeply hidden.
Especially after the divorce, I am extremely gun-shy to let people get to know the entirety of me. Being out there & exposed seems so dangerous & risky. Part of why I think it's doubtful I would ever be in a serious relationship again is bc the idea scares the living fuck out of me. Actually going on dates w/ people over the last couple months was pretty huge for me. But that's about the extent of what I can handle @ this point & who knows if/when that will change. Emotional vulnerability, be that in a friendship or a relationship, still seems like a risk I don't know if I can take. I would need someone who was committed enough to getting to know all of me to convince me to take that risk.
I want someone who I can talk to & be able to drop my guard with that person. Normally, I use my sense of humor to keep a wall of separation up & to prevent any actual emotions from showing. I would like to have someone to talk to on a regular basis that it feels like I can have other emotions besides the very few that I show publicly. I do have a small handful of people I have let see me before but most of them now live out of state. So when I am having one of those times where I had a rough day or week or I am in an off mood, they can't come spend time w/ me to help distract me.
I had that w/ YKW. I was with him for 6 years, so obviously I let him in & got close to him. I don't want him back, nor do I want to be involved with someone in a serious relationship like I was with him, bc that's too much to handle right now. But I do wish I had someone that I could be totally myself with, both the part of me that everyone gets to see & the part of me that almost no one sees. I do wish I had someone who I felt close enough with that I could let my guard down & talk to them face to face about things that are on my mind. And I want to be that person for someone else, too. I want to be someone's confidante & sounding board, so I know the openness isn't just in one direction.
It gets very lonely to be the strong, tough, independent person all the time. Sometimes I just want someone to take care of me when I need to be weak for awhile. But I don't have someone (in this state) that can do that for me & my out of state confidantes can only do so much. Sometimes I need to have someone in person to just give me a hug & tell me it will be all right. I need someone to need me to do that for them, too.
But currently I don't have that person. I don't know of anyone who wants to get to know me beyond the public side of me that everyone sees. I don't know of anyone who I could let get to really know me without them being freaked out by the drastic difference btwn the public & private aspects of my personality, and then they go away. That's my fear: if I let someone see the whole of who I am, then they will dislike me & leave & I will lose someone I care about. And I don't know if it will change in the future, that I will have a person in my life who knows me, comes to help me when I am falling apart, and who needs the same from me.
So, for now, I blog to mull over my thoughts. It's essentially operated as my journal, with occasional feedback from people (which is always appreciated). For now, the blog & the few in various states will have to be enough to quell the loneliness that comes with having so few people who really know me.
For now, and maybe forever, I am the "strong" one who stands alone.
"I got to fold because these hands are just too shaky to hold,
Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love."
-Paper Bag by Fiona Apple