Happy Hump Day Lovies. I have a confession. I’m scared, terrified, overwhelmed, frozen in fear and having difficulty embracing it. Last week I parted ways with my job and after 13+ years I am free of an employer. I feel like my career had a mid life fling or a rebound job that was supposed to go up in flames and leave me all ready Phoenix like to rise to the next thing. But just what should/could/would that be exactly? I. Have. No. Idea…
Well actually that isn’t entirely true I have a gazillion ideas, of which I’m an expert in roughly 1% of them and have the slightest idea how to execute roughly 10% of them.
I feel lonely, tired, and often pointless in this Mom, wife, career, friend, insert adjective here life I’m trying to create. I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way yet we seem to mired in this culture where sharing of struggles, fear, failure, disaster is not “ok” to experience, or share. I want to know why not?
So my best guess is maybe you’re afraid too, maybe you’d like to see a little more, oh thank GOD I’m not alone, in your life.
I’m going first to stand up and say , I’m trying to be as awesome as I can but dang it life is hard and wouldn’t it be great if we could all be fearless together?
That’s my wish, let’s open up to each other, give ourselves a pat on the back, apply the BGP principles with a spirit of adventure, love and honesty.
Figure out together how to let go of the fear holding us back from being whatever we want to be when we grow up, or whatever we want to be in the next hour for that matter.
I cannot promise how good I will be at this. I am not an eloquent writer, I don’t know squat about properly using hashtags, or twitter, and I am always a little terrified at self promotion for fear of I’m not even sure what, I just am.
But here is what I do know. No one knows what they are doing in everything all the time, and every one of us has something beautiful and amazing to give. I think my thing to give might be helping others see how strong, beautiful and amazing they are, to help them let go of fear and embrace all the disasters and adventures life brings. To recognize what loving yourself looks like so we can all do it more often.
I’ve been referring my “unemployment” as sabbatical, maternity leave and retirement….see…. totally struggling to figure this out 🙂
What are you struggling to figure out? Where does the fear live in in your life?
You are amazing and wonderful.
It’s Fearless February here at Closer to Lola and I’m woefully behind on my mission to inspire you to seek to understand, accept, love and bravely be your true self.
In honor of that, I have a guest post from Righteous Momma, I’ve written about her HERE, she’s the original BGP guru and has taught me much during the length of our friendship.
If you’d like to share your thoughts, inspiration or personal fearlessly be yourself perspective let me know, I could use the help this month as I sort through struggles of my own.
It can as long or short and simple as you like, just as long as it’s YOU!
Thanks to Righteous Momma for bravely sharing
Side Effects when I stopped fearlessly being myself
Guest Post by Righteous Momma
1. Feeling smothered by life – especially by motherly & wifely duties (despite perpetual effort to feel the opposite).
2. Feeling 2 steps behind the exploding chaos (and being at the center of blame regardless of my participation – or so I believed).
3. Whittling my life down to the bare necessities (so there was less to fail – doesn’t work by the way – amplifies failures when trying to live by what you believe is expected).
4. Feeling like I was a victim of my life & circumstances – thus helpless & stuck.
5. Allowing the crap & chaos created by others misdeeds and selfish choices DEFEAT me & convince me this was my lot in life.
6. Feeling resentful and full of “if only” statements that had to do with OTHERS’ actions & choices instead of my own.
7. Struggling to remember who I am and who the hell I used to be.
8. Feeling completely incapable of succeeding in my life – despite my best efforts.
9. Lack of faith in anything, mostly myself, which makes it difficult to trust and easy to hide in the cave.
10. Feeling like my successes were either a fluke or accident.
Why was I feeling this way? How did it happen? I was never good at doing what someone said to do, I embraced that more times than I can count. How did I suddenly blink & discover I was living by what I thought I “should” be, what “everyone else” was doing, and what I thought I was “supposed” to be doing? Like most things, it was one drop in the bucket over time, and let me tell you, it sucked the life right out of me.
I spent a good amount of time telling myself it was only in certain circumstances I checked out of living “fearlessly myself” and 1001 excuses for why I couldn’t do this, thus I believed I was being selfless and noble. And yes, I was, but at a total martyr level – not cute at all. These are the recent truths I have processed since I have attempted to write this for our beloved Lola…
When Lola requested a guest blog on “fearlessly being yourself”, still in a moderate amount of denial (because I had begun to regain myself) -I thought I could knock it out of the park. I have given so many friends the pep talk, yet got really crappy at taking my own advice. Yeah, I know – sucks to realize your being somewhat of a fraud (regardless of a pure heart of good intentions).
Thing is, I know exactly how I managed “fearlessly being myself” the times before, it was a choice based on “hell with this, I’m going to make this crap FUN!”. The first time I was knocked down, and the times after that, I knocked stuff down (in a good “I am woman hear me roar, or kiss my ass” way). But the more I wrote said “pep talk”, reality set in, and I had to choke down a big girl pill of truth that I was still struggling to relearn “fearlessly being myself” again.
Fearlessly being yourself is a choice. From my experiences, a choice best made when you choose to embrace it, as opposed to it being all there is left to do because you are grabbing onto rock bottom for dear life. Choosing on your terms makes it slightly easier – you have your power & are matching in courage that reinforces your self-esteem. Rock bottom means you have to dust off, suck it up and force yourself out of your comfort zone – ironic considering that comfort zone helped you straight down to rock bottom.
Initially, I embraced fearless living because I embraced I wasn’t a conventional kind of gal – bygones – happy for those who were – I applauded them – because it seemed so damn hard to be that way. Therefore, “like everyone else” wasn’t me, wasn’t sweating it – my own drummer rocked an awesome beat. If someone had a problem with it, I either laid it out for them (kindly or not – depended), or let them go on their way. Why try to keep people in my life who I have to work to NOT offend. I already have a family, enough effort made towards that. As long as how I was living wasn’t hurting others or putting needless bad shit in the world, it was all good. Therefore, I sort of took it up with my higher power & figured a lightening bolt or something would notify me when I was being a real ass. After all, I TRIED to be like everyone else & failed. I was simply done apologizing for who I was. I realized I had NOTHING to apologize for in the 1st place – I was made how I am made, didn’t choose it, best accept and like it.
But then came marriage & motherhood – and a shit storm of life’s sick sense of humor. I was under the false assumption that some gene would kick in and I could just navigate this like I thought my other friends were navigating it – even though many didn’t seem to have the random challenges (completely unavoidable like tropical storms and congenital birth defects). I have ADHD and lack a housekeeping gene, along with contorted organization and schedule genes.
Being an accidental stay at home mom came with a set of challenges, and the support and help I needed to navigate mostly came in the form of telling me what I should have done, why I everyone else did it, so I should suck it up and do it that way too. My saving grace has been the friends I am blessed with, who often yelled louder over those voices “That’s BS, we love you as is!”
After a couple years of kicking and screaming, refusing to go down without a fight, resisting assimilation, I got worn down & CHOSE to try to be NOT me, with a cocky notion that if I could manage to change myself for the better before, well then, damn it, I could just change into “nearly normal”. What my over confidence failed to anticipate was how I gave away my power little by little until all I could do was resent the people and things I gave it to on a silver platter. Solitude and lack of any social outlet seemed to fast track that – and my circumstances sort of dictated that I put me on the back burner….But I also CHOSE to give away my power and listen to the negative voices until they became my own.
After realizing this, I tried to take it back & attempted to keep the others out of harm’s way and preached the virtues of moms groups, date night and girls night out -I am well versed in “if you can’t be a good example, they you’ll serve as a horrible warning”. Yet, I kept trying and failing so long, believing the next thing I tried would force me to be like most moms… I racked up the list of side effects mentioned above, but luckily, I still had glimmer of me in there. Which meant certain times and certain circumstances I came out of the “should be, supposed to be” trance & was fearlessly myself. Certain people bring that out in me, our friend Lola happens to be one of them – just by being full frontal her – so if you know her – appreciate her. She’s the goods.
Until my life came crashing down around me a couple years ago, I couldn’t grasp how much I was faking the “fearlessly be yourself” bit. Hell, I even convinced myself. The hardest part of jumping back in there and choosing to fearlessly be myself wasn’t letting myself off the hook for being a big fat sell out – that seems to be a biggie for the others I have assisted back into fearless. It was being forced to take responsibility for my choices and being forced to be honest with myself. What can I say? My road to hell was paved with good intentions – which can made it even harder to my truth. Did I cause or create the bad trauma that imploded my world? Nope, I fought against it to the death. Therefore THAT was the nugget I needed to grasp in order to stop wallowing in victim mode.
So, as I initially began to write this, well over a month ago, cleverly discussing how trying to squeeze in anyone else’s mold always gave me muffin top – I started eating my words. I was still letting what others may think (or have out right opinionated) about me dictate my decisions. I still got all hung up on those and my desire to make anyone but me happy, or at least appeased. I simply couldn’t just keep writing a pep talk that I wasn’t willing to take myself. That’s when I found my big girl panties & started taking the leap to stand my ground again, and I couldn’t do it all on my own this time either. I had already been participating in a Christian based 12 step group “Celebrate Recovery”. For me, connecting to my spiritual side was exactly what I needed. And I have never regretted doing this one single moment. Know why?
People aren’t going to applaud you for taking back your power & standing your ground – well, those you stand up to aren’t likely to whip out the balloons and confetti. What I am now doing different is taking a lot of this up with God. I am not suggesting anyone go all religious if that’s not your thing, but finding my higher power and putting my faith where it belongs seems to be going a long way to strengthening me. After all, God made me the way I am, why not ask directions from the manufacturer? Truth be told, that is how I did it years ago. “Hmm, is God OK with me being me? Yes? The hell with their opinions”. My fatal flaw was thinking the bad crap happening in my life had anything to do with God’s disapproval. Please. I am still scratching my head as to how I convinced myself it ever was. Putting faith back into my life has been the driving force to why I am able to say every day, I am fearlessly more myself. It took me a good long time of feeling sorry for myself, being stuck in bitter not better to get that through my stubborn head. It is hard to jump back into life, which is why baby steps in this instance are fortifying my ability to REMAIN fearless.
I fell in love with one of you once. Before I knew what a “Catfish” was, I just thought he could be a sociopath or I maybe I was delusional and imagining the whole thing. Please let me explain before you stop reading. My intent is not to make you feel badly. I understand the last thing you need is more self loathing. I’m just trying to establish my level of expertise on this subject before I start providing you with information to consider. My shit was so not together at the time and I was a very willing participant in the addicting roller coaster ride and resulting glorious train wreck. The fake relationship lasted for 22 weeks of cams, email, chatting, lust, declarations of feelings, fake plans for the future and fights about why I couldn’t meet him. Turns out he was faking his entire identity and when I found out he vanished into thin air without apology or explanation, resurfaced 3 months or so later, continued the silence and finally went away for good. My heart imploded and almost took my soul with it. The battle back was way too lengthy, though transforming in an equally glorious way. It was still a battle and I’d like to make it easier for you. I’m usually a loquacious girl, but you should take this seriously, so I’m going to give you the TL:DR as a courtesy.
1. Lying about who you are is not going to ever get you what you need.
2. You are mind fucking the people you interact with.
I’m going on now.
Lying about who you are is not going to ever get you what you need
The first basic rule of humankind. #1. We are ALL EQUALLY FUCKED UP IN DIFFERENT WAYS. I totally get why you might feel you need to do what you are doing. I understand you are checking out of components of life. Maybe you are sad, angry, grieving, in despair, overwhelmed, neglected, unloved, stressed, and/or unsatisfied. Maybe you are lonely. I’m so sorry you are going through these things. I wish you could understand how beautifully flawed and normal this is. Even if you have an added layer of mental illness or addiction. You are still normal, still beautifully flawed and still worth more. You have needs that are no different or less worthy than anyone else. It’s making you feel better or you wouldn’t keep doing it, but you’re cheating yourself. Lying is only a temporary and insidious fix for the problem, like drinking salt water when you’re desperately thirsty. You are accelerating your unhappiness, not alleviating it.
You’re spending time, brain space, and heart space creating a place that you think feels amazing and makes you “happy”, but what will it feel like when you get caught or have to run so you don’t get caught? What will happen when you can’t stay away, because you’re still not happy, so you start lying some more? Lying has a toll. It makes you feel empty, anxious, less than. Do you not recognize this as less than, not more than, what you are escaping from now? You are never going to get what you truly need in a situation where you decline to present your true self.
Which brings me to my next point…
You are mind fucking the people you interact with.
I know you’re probably not a clinical sociopath, you didn’t start lying to fuck with someone for fun or revenge. Like all train wrecks it will occur gradually in baby steps, and then suddenly, you realize you are fucked. You didn’t intend for someone to actually like you, you barely like yourself. Emotions don’t work the same on-line, they rise to white-hot quickly because of the controlled environment. You don’t know who you are going to meet or who will move you or where your heart will take you. The giddy rush you create for us with your words becomes a drug we want more and more of. We want how you make us feel, what kind of person we think you are, we want what we think is the real YOU.
Sure I liked that he was young, an artist, a college grad, a Midwest boy, had a job, whatever other things about his life he shared. He presented a humanly flawed persona and pretended to understand and appreciate me for who I was. I had the benefit of frequent visual and voice interaction via cam, so I knew I liked his appearance. I did not however, fall in love with any of those things. I fell head over heels, think about him constantly, instant physical and emotional reaction upon thought, even stronger upon sight, love with how he made me feel, the kind of man I thought he was. Feelings gained from 100’s of hours of conversation. Feelings derived from little things like declaring his heart belonged to me in a chat room , or taking a bus home hoping he’d get to talk to me on cam for a full 20 minutes so he wouldn’t have to till the next day to see me. I should have known when he avoided hooking up by claiming to move, then a few weeks later declined the offer of regular phone communication, then later claimed to throw away said phone. I should have known when little things kept not adding up, but it was too late. When it became apparent the drug I was taking was likely false and purposely manufactured, it was too fucking late. The lies you are telling might be working, for you. For us, finding out you lied reveals the drug isn’t real, cannot be recreated, and we’ve just had our last hit. It’s gone and there is no way to get any more. Detox is a bitch. Never mind the layers of confusion and betrayal the grief is delivered in. It is absolutely grief. Truth renders the experience over, the fantasy dead, casts doubt on the emotions shared, the intent of the actions and calls into question every single thing you said that made us FEEL for you. No matter how gracious we are when confronted with the truth, you are emotionally raping us. That is quite simply Bad Karmic JuJu. I understand your deep driving need for love, acceptance, understanding, and pleasure. You absolutely are worth all of those things and more. But please don’t try to get them this way. For us its wreckage when the lies evaporate and we realize we have been intentionally mind fucked. The thoughts, opinions and memories we formed of you are not based in reality and now we don’t know what is lies. We are forced to toss everything in the bonfire, set it aflame and move the fuck on as best we can. Even the lines delivered late in the game of “I’ll carry you with me for a long ass time” or “No matter what I will always adore you.” Doesn’t matter, bullshit poisons truth and poison eventually kills everything in its path. The longer the silence, the stronger the death, the less we believe in anything your eyes ever told us, the more we feel as if you plotted to destroy us on purpose and the more we wonder what the fuck we ever did do you to deserve such heinous disrespect and betrayal. First we miss you, then we hate you, then we feel sorry for you. Eventually we forgive you for ourselves and go on about our lives with a piece of our heart tied to some stranger we will never lay eyes on or hear whisper our name again. Your ghost lives with the other exes in whatever manner we keep them.
Epic fuck ups require epic apologies and I am a huge fan of epic apologies, but deaths are usually not curable.You’re never going to get the girl/guy this way. So put on some trainer big girl panties or big boy boxers and try being you. Don’t kill your future relationships before they even start. Out there somewhere is more than one person who can and will love you for all of what is actually you.
This New Year’s resolve to fearlessly be yourself
I’m not the only one who has something to say about this, I wish I could meet Rachel Stein in person and give her the biggest girl hug possible for putting into much more eloquent words that I could previously find EXACTLY what it feels like to the person you are lying to. I could also hug Nev for just being brave enough to put the message out there.
From Television Without Pity Rachel Stein
On the person being lied to..
..but the fact that so many people immediately trust who they meet online is no longer a freakish urban legend that happened to a friend of a cousin, but something that happens all the time to people who are actually smart, decent and even skeptical. It’s happened to me (in a much less significant way than the cases we see on this show) and to people I love and care about. And when it does happen, as Schulman and his co-star/investigator Joseph aren’t usually there with cameras to reveal it all to you… but it’s about as humiliating and schema-shattering as it was for Sunny. It brings into question what it even means to actually know a person and what a relationship even is, and that’s just for the person getting lied to. It’s so strange and overwhelming and unfamiliar that when it did happen to this young lady in the pilot, her first response was literally: “Am I being Punk’d?”
On the Catfish…
In some ways, I wish we got to learn more about these people who make up fake Internet lives, …But how lonely must their lives be? How embarrassed are they by their own appearance, desires and actual realities? …When Schulman does his check-ins a few months down the road, our offender has always made it a point to share that they’ve lost a few pounds, or in this case, found a new way to empower themselves… because after months of using social media to finally start expressing your desires — that is, the perfectly normal craving to have a relationship with another human being — after years of torment, something’s got to change.
Complex: At the end of the movie, you look really depressed. How upset were you by these duplicitous relationships? Yaniv Schulman: I’ve had two moments in my life where I sort of hit rock bottom. That was one of them. I had built up this daily interaction with these people who were distracting me from my life, building me up and really filling me with such excitement and hope, and then, when it was over and I came home, I felt like the last nine months meant nothing. It was really hard to pick myself up off the floor.
Update 08/15/13 The catfish came out of hiding, and made an error while visiting the blog to see how much “dirt” was here. This allowed me to locate him within minutes via Google, some details he provided in his lies were true and it was enough to make it very easy to find him once I had the correct parameters for searching. He stayed for 22 seconds and will likely never return. Since I am I classy girl, I politely emailed a simple hello and informed him blogs have trackers. Passing up once again a chance to mercilessly fuck with him for some fun of my own. His reaction was a terse, cold, email stating he felt he had merely made a mistake by misrepresenting himself and had put it all behind him, was sorry IF ( yes, IF, I had to really let that one go quickly or its poison would of turned me bat shit crazy) he misled me and a lengthy directive to go away and never bother him again. As in, I’m pissed you busted me, I thought I got away with this and I’m not interested in providing you with anything helpful or kind. Perfect example people show who you they are the first time. I will of course honor his dismissive and insulting request. Finally learning his perception of my worth and meaning in his life, along with his full identity, was the perfect closure. Karma will take care of the rest. Peace Out!
- Catfish: The TV Show and My Real Life Catfish Experience (upcloseanduncomfortable.wordpress.com)
- The Story Behind ‘Catfish’ (psychcentral.com)
This is the truth: Fearlessly be yourself. You are just as wonderfully fucked up and beautifully flawed as the rest of us. You deserve the best life possible. You are worth joy, love, empathy, understanding, forgiveness, and self acceptance. The first step is to decide who you are, who you want to be and go be that person. Fearlessly, without arrogance or apology.