The only time I write is when I am moved to do so. And moved doesn't even scratch the surface of my true feelings in that moment. It becomes an obsession and the only thing I can think about until I get it out. At this very moment I'm writing this on my phone as I climb the stairs to nowhere at the gym before I go to a cycle class. I'm typing with my right thumb frantically hoping I can finish this before that class starts. Thinking if I don't, well maybe I'll skip it because this is more important. I have revealed a lot about myself, the good, bad and hilarious in my blog. I have paused before clicking "publish" many times thinking do I really want to put this out there for the world to see and judge. Then I think about all the conversations I have daily at the gym.
As a trainer, my job is sometimes more of a therapist, than someone who just makes people pick up heavy shit and then put it down over and over. It took me years to realize it and I'm sure that there are many clients who have no idea that as important as the workout is, the thing that keeps them coming back is having someone with an impartial ear to talk to. Like a hairstylist, I don't know their family and friends. With the exception of a few, our lives do not intersect outside of the gym. So it is a safe "dumping ground" for them. Also, I'm not in the business of talking shit and telling secrets that have been told to me in confidence. Don't get me wrong, I talk a lot of shit via sarcasm. It's like a sport for me. And when I can find someone that can go toe to toe with me... It's the best day ever. However, I do not get joy out of other people's pain. I know many people that do. I see them light up with excitement the way I do when I'm moved to write and I know the moment I turn to walk away, they will be sending out a mass text. The primary goal for them is to be the first one to dish out the dirt. Because for some reason gossiping and being "the first to tell" gives them a feeling of importance and superiority over the other people that were not the first to know. It's really sad and pathetic. And these people are the greatest root of so much pain and suffering…. wolves in sheep’s clothing. We have all said it "These people get off on it. The ones that talk the loudest usually have the most to hide. It is a way to distract themselves and others in the effort to hide their own misery and demons." And GOD FORBID someone does it to them. They will be the first to throw themselves up on the cross and play victim and of course and most importantly…POST IT ON FACEBOOK! And then they will be mad that people are meddling in their lives. “Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?”_ Alanis Morissette
All this to say, that as personal as this blog is going to be, there are a lot of people that have been on the giving and receiving end of this topic much like myself. The only difference is they just don't know it yet.
This whole thing got started because it was another wild and crazy Thursday night for me. I climbed into bed around 7:00 pm to get on Facebook and read some articles. In my usual form, I turned my tv on with the goal of finding some background noise to read to. If my articles are good enough, I won't hear a word that comes out of my TV. What happens 9 times out of 10 is that I never actually make it to my Netflix queue because I immediately get engulfed in some random article that pops up in my feed. On this day I saw “20 of the most popular TED Talks of All Time” and I was like “SOLD!” I'm a HUGE fan of TED Talks. The subjects are extremely diverse and cover every topic you can imagine. The ones that usually get to me are the topics that I have never once thought about, but I’m glad somebody else did. So I clicked on the first talk and went about my business....
Shifting gears…. so I just went to cycle. It was the easiest fastest class I have ever taken. Not because it was easy, but because I was so engrossed in thought that I felt no pain. Something I need to remember the next time I am in that predicament. It is quite possibly the BEST time to exercise. The only other times that have even gotten even close to it was when I'm angry or the time I was on Percocet for about 2 weeks because I had some dental issues. I could workout forever because in those moments, I feel no pain. I have finally found something that trumps both eating and exercise. Eating fuels my exercise obsession and exercise fuels my eating obsession. Those two things are infinitely intertwined. Writing stands alone in its dominance. So I put my head down and pedaled away and outlined this blog... 5-6 times thinking I really need to get these thoughts into my phone before I get side tracked and forget. Would the instructor, who is also one of my best friend’s be offended if I whipped it out and took notes. If she knew what I was doing, she wouldn't, but I had not warned her. And it would be rude as hell to her and the people in class. People have done that to me and it pissed me off, so I refrained.
So anyways the first 3 talks did not grab my attention. I don’t have a clue what they were about. Whatever I was reading did. And by the way, if you are my friend on Facebook, the chances of me ever seeing your page are slim to none. I'm not on Facebook to snoop into your personal life. I am there to learn, teach, or be entertained. If you are my close friend, I already know what is going on in your life and you know mine. If you are not a person that is close to me, then I leave your personal life to you and the people you are close to. Frankly, it's none of my business. Now if you post an article or a picture or my favorite thing ever... A CAT video, I will totally click on on that shit and make some smart ass comment. If it doesn't show up in my feed, chances are, I will never see it. Damn it... Keep getting sidetracked...soooooooo.....
So yes, the beginning talks didn't register. But then, I heard a woman's voice. Her name was Brene Brown and it was clear to me out of the gate that this woman was not just presenting a lecture on an assigned topic. She was a story teller. She like me, told stories that were filled with facts hammered home by personal experiences and failures. It just so happened that the topic was “The Power of Vulnerability.” She made herself extremely vulnerable to complete strangers in order to get her point across. Something she would immediately regret and damn near have a break down about. She discusses it in a later talk on called “Listening to Shame.” In a nutshell, she basically tells you to make sure you only share your shame with the people have earned the right to hear your story. Her mistakes, acknowledgement and telling of them is what makes her so inspirational to me. We all have things that we are ashamed of. Some of us admit our mistakes and others choose to attack people they call their "friends" to hide from themselves. In another talk, she discusses friendships and the 6 types you need to stay away from. She confirms the way I have always felt. It's not about the quantity, it's the quality. She says the only friends she needs in her life are "the move the body" type. The "ride or die bitches" I have discussed in prior blogs. The people that will help you dig the hole to hide the body of a person that hurt you and took them out I a fit of rage. The friends you can tell your secrets to that will not only support you, but they will take them to their grave. She says you are incredibly fortunate to find just one friend like this. If you are lucky enough to have 2 or 3 then you have essentially won the lottery. I could not agree more. She can say it better than I can…
“But here's the tricky part about sharing your story: You can't call just anyone. If you share your shame story with the wrong person, he or she can easily become one more piece of flying debris in your already dangerous shame storm. We want solid connection in a situation like this—something akin to a sturdy tree firmly planted in the ground. We definitely want to avoid the following:
1. The friend who hears the story and actually feels shame for you. She gasps and confirms how horrified you should be. Then there is awkward silence. Then you have to make her feel better.
2. The friend who responds with sympathy ("I feel so sorry for you") rather than empathy ("I get it, I feel with you, and I've been there"). If you want to see a shame cyclone turn deadly, throw one of these at it: "Oh, you poor thing." Or, the incredibly passive-aggressive Southern version of sympathy, "Bless your heart."
3. The friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity. She can't help because she's too disappointed in your imperfections. You've let her down.
4. The friend who is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that she scolds you: "How did you let this happen? What were you thinking?" Or she looks for someone to blame: "Who was that guy? We'll kick his ass."
5. The friend who is all about making it better and, out of her own discomfort, refuses to acknowledge that you can actually be crazy and make terrible choices: "You're exaggerating. It wasn't that bad. You rock. You're perfect. Everyone loves you."
6. The friend who confuses connection with the opportunity to one-up you: "That's nothing. Listen to what happened to me one time!"
When I got on the stairs and started to write this blog, I knew exactly what I was going to write about…had a title and everything. As usual, it has morphed into something different. It’s a long curvy road that leads up and back to my original point. As I walked into my cycle class I said to the instructor…who is also one of my “ride or die” friends… “Shew girl…I almost missed your class. I was writing a blog on the stairs and the time just flew by.” She said “What is it about?” I said “Ummmm…I don’t know. I had a plan when I started it but now…it has evolved.” I told her I was going to send it to her to read before I published it. This is something I have never done before. I usually just write them and send it out to the world. I rarely proof read it. All of them are riddled with typos, bad grammar and most of all…run on sentences. I’m sure you have noticed. Mostly because those things don’t mean shit to me. I’m not trying to be the best speller. I’m trying to work through my own shit and tell my story with the hope that it might help somebody else. And once I get my feelings down and hit “publish” I have an instant feeling of relief like somebody has just taken a 100lb weight off my chest. I did not send this to her, because I have not yet told my “shame” story as I had intended….but I will…in part 2.
A few blogs back, I was pissed. I decided I was going to write a book. I talked about the fact that I felt like my side of the story was not out in the world. I’m an introvert and for the most part keep to myself, especially when there is a shit storm swirling around me because of a relationship or friendship gone bad. I do not run around telling anybody who will listen the intimate details of my life. My true friends however know every detail. Unfortunately, there are people that are no longer a part of my life that did that for me. It wasn’t the embarrassing truths that got to me. I am not perfect and I will acknowledge and confirm those mistakes. The thing that really hurt were the lies. Lie’s told by someone who at one time, claimed to love me in an effort to pull people to their side and hide their own sins. And for a long time, I did not respond out of some loyalty I still had for a person I once loved. It got to the point where the gossip and lies were so out of hand that I HAD to start defending myself. I remember telling this person. “If you are going to run around spreading lies about me, then I’m going to start telling the truth about you!” In another instance there was a point where I was so heartbroken and betrayed I said “I’m going to tell anybody who will listen every intimate detail of our relationship and who you are. Your precious image you are trying so hard to protect will be destroyed by the truth and people will see what a horrible soulless person you truly are!” Well those things were said in a fit of rage. I am writing a book, but I’m working hard at telling the truth and not letting my emotions get the best of me. I quickly realized that I was not able to write my story out of anger, malice or an attempt to justify my actions to people. This is something I’m VERY proud of. In those moments all I wanted to do was to make them feel the pain I was feeling. I was so devastated that I had a weak moment and misjudged their character. I made them into the person I wanted them to be in my head and heart and not the person they actually were. I made justifications for their behavior because there is NO WAY I could have possibly been wrong when I let them in. Well I was. They showed me who they were over and over and I just didn't believe them. I do now. I’m no longer mad at these people. I see the whole situation with new eyes. I don't love these people anymore and I refuse to allow them to occupy one more precious moment. I don’t hate them either…but there certainly was a time when I did. I am a very laid back person…down right expressionless most days. The only people that can truly get to me and bring out any sort of rage are the people I have been vulnerable to. The people that blasted through my very high very thick walls and landed deep inside my heart. The people that I revealed my true self to. My exterior is hard to get through, but once you crack that shell, the inside is a very fragile yolk. The old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has never been more true when it comes to me. When somebody I love betrays me, what follows sadness is hate and then indifference. I feel no emotion towards them at all. It is like one day the pain and sadness disappears and a peaceful calm appears. This is the place I want to be when I tell my shame story, not in a place where the mention of their name brings me to tears.
I have posted a bunch of links and videos from Brene Brown on my Facebook page. A couple of people have asked me “What is going on? Did something happen?” and the answer is no…nothing happened…nothing new anyway. I just accidentally came across some TED Talks that pulled me in and all these lights started going off in my head. I thought I had made some great discovery and wanted to share it because it really hit home with me. As I dug deeper, I realized that Brene Brown was no secret; I was just late to the party. She was everywhere and Oprah had done a Life Class with her which meant, I was probably the LAST person to the party.
So I encourage you to Google Brene Brown and listen to her talks on vulnerability and shame. They will change the way you see yourself and others. They were extremely healing and made me realize that I wasn’t alone and just totally crazy. I realized I had some very normal reactions to some crazy situations. Part 2 will be my shame story for better or for worse. This shit is already waaaaaaay too long. If you are still reading this, thanks for sticking with me as I figure out exactly why and how I will tell this story. Maybe that title will make sense after it’s told. Or maybe I will come up with a different one after I tell it. Anything could happen :)Until then….