This post will be a free-flow way for me to disseminate my thoughts, as I have little idea what the end conclusion will be.
Since writing my last post There Is More To My Story, I have been thinking about my relationships with the people close to me, specifically, what I choose to reveal to them. I was also chatting with another blogger, Fictionatrix, in response to her post Late Night Thoughts – Who Am I? Some of her words struck a chord with what was going through my mind.
As mentioned in my last post, I just got a new set of tattoos. They are on my wrists, so they are quite visible, and I not one with a lot of tattoos. I’ve got a large one on my back, that’s it, but people don’t tend to see it. Hardly anyone in my support network have tattoos, and I know that they will ask me what my tattoo means. The tattoos aren’t “pretty” or superficial, and those close to me will know that there is some significance to me. I tend not to do things lightly. I don’t want to lie or give a half-truth in reply. I care and respect them and it would make me feel incongruent. I am feeling fear and shame right now.
There is a certain freedom with writing a personal blog. I can write what ever I want, be raw, be imperfect, and without the risk of worried and concerned looks from the ones that I love. Only very close friends know of my blog, sometimes even read it. My family knows that I blog (if they even know what that is) but they don’t know the site address. But even with my friends that read my blog, I only sometimes tell them the full depth of my thoughts.
Sometimes, the act of writing is a medium for me to clarify or articulate my thoughts and feelings. So, when I talk with my close friends, I have trouble articulating my feelings. Though I do censor myself sometimes, as a defence mechanism. I omit the full truth, revealing only the details that I feel comfortable with. A week prior to my tattoo appointment, I was talking to my friends about my concept. I told them about the semicolon concept and how I hope that it will remind me that there is more to my story, to keep going. That’s all the detail that I shared. I suppose I alluded to it, but I didn’t tell them that sometimes I used to have suicidal ideation or thoughts of self harm. That when I did, my mind would focus on my wrists … Even though the purpose of telling them is that this tattoo, I hope, will help me if I have those thoughts again.
I feel fear and shame when I think of sharing these less than happy experiences with those close to me, though it is okay with strangers. I fear their disappointment of me. The shame of making them worried, anxious or sad because of me. I feel shame that I have made them feel helpless. I feel shame because I have caused them trouble.
I realise that these feelings of fear and shame are my projections on those close to me. In a way, I am the one disappointed of me, I feel that I am not worthy of being troubled, worried or sad over. That I am not worthy … It is unfair to have these projections on those close to me. They have not had the chance to respond. I don’t know how they will respond. I am probably wrong.
I’m a bit of a hypocrite too. I’ve been sort of vocal on the issue of mental illness stigma. I’ve come out about my mental illness to my circles. But I generally talk about it in intellectual or social justice/impact terms. Another defence mechanism: intellectualisation. I’ve not had the courage to share the rawness of my experiences. But the questions about my tattoo will come. I have a life mission that I created as part of the work I do with a support group. “I create family by being enough.” I’m not being congruent to my mission.
I think that I will start with a Facebook post about my last post on my tattoo. I only have good people on my Facebook list. I will try to tell my story to those close to me. Though I think it is still wise to be careful with people in my physical life that I don’t trust yet. There still is a stigma, but I will try to feel safe with those I have chosen to be close to.