I wonder sometimes how much one should reveal of themselves to strangers, online or in real life. Here on the blog, I speak rather blithely about serious matters past and present. A lot of people I know in real life read and learn very personal details about me. Occasionally one will comment upon my childhood, my past, my history, and now my excursions into fitness and overall health improvements.
It’s interesting, mostly. People in general are so kind, so compassionate, and so caring. Sometimes I simply cannot bear it, their kindness. I suffered horribly as a kid, grew to believe myself completely undeserving of anything good much less kindness, compassion, care. I am pretty happy and content with the way my life is turning out right now. Enough said, right?
Many of my/our friends are obviously uncomfortable, yet intensely curious. One of my long-time casual friends emailed me that she would never guess there was this darkness about me, and I was not sure what to say in reply. I was molested and raped repeatedly before age 12; how does that get expressed and discussed in polite company and casual conversation? If I am uncomfortable with someone just expressing their condolences then I am really taken aback with direct or indirect inquiries for more details. It’s not like we are discussing the wonders of being happily married or what it was/is like dating or going through a divorce or the intricacies of good parenting.
I believe it may just be me, reacting from my anxiety and the deepest, rooted fear in my system. No one really wants details. I don’t think, anyway. But I act/react as if that is what they are asking when in reality it’s just someone who cares trying to express it and let me know.
But it is the second thoughts and third thoughts that get me every time. I second guess what I write here, I wonder if I should publish or be that public and open about my life and best adventures or worst nightmares.
Then there is the way I feel about working my ass off, quite literally. Part of me, just a little tiny slice of me, is super proud of my efforts. The rest of me worries endlessly about it on autopilot. I focus on the health-enhancing aspects of my training and diet modifications and try not to think that maybe I will be more up to traditional standards of attractive as the thinner, fitter version of myself. I do not like to think in terms of being more attractive or even approach the idea of being hot or sexy to anyone else. M likes and loves me just as I am, right here and right now, and he appreciates my efforts to be better and more capable as we grow older and that’s the only thing that matters. Other than to admire pretty clothes or to ensure my hair looks presentable for public viewing, I dislike looking at myself or my body. Ever. I fear my disgust with it may be written all over my face.
It seems so very silly to worry about it, now being middle aged. I’m smart and caring and sometimes really funny, qualities I value highly and seek out in others. But I do worry about appearances. I hate the attention from strangers or admiring looks I occasionally catch directed toward me while fervently hoping it’s directed toward someone else across the room from me. It makes me feel and relive every bad, negative, soul-destroying emotion I have ever known. And I hate that. No amount of therapy seems to ever relieve me of those thoughts and feelings. I can and do put them away much of the time, but they are always there, waiting. Pandora’s box with a faulty lock and spring hinge.
I do not seem to have a way around this. I have no plans to cease my fitness efforts or my training with J. If I could trim my headspace by doing time at the gym as easily as I seem to be reshaping my ass, I would be signing up with the headshrinker and attending religiously. But I’ve been down that road many times with varying degrees of success, and it feels as if I am as mind/memory healthy as I am likely to become. So for now I’ll work on improving my overall physical health, keep my eye on the prize, and try to block out the rest of the bullshit that tries to reduce me to small, helpless, afraid.
I am so much stronger than that now.