My shame below the surface

I am an emotional person. I will pause for everyone to regroup after that startling revelation. I am either so full of energy and happiness that I literally cannot stop my body from moving or so distraught you can tell from my face when I have a moment to think that all is not well. I wear my heart and everything else on my sleeve because I am incapable of keeping any feeling inside. I don’t understand what a poker face is or how to achieve it. If a thought crosses my mind, it crosses my face.

I have no in-between.

Usually, this is a blessing because I’m so overjoyed at every aspect of life. I love how strongly I feel every moment of happiness and see every new day as miracle. I face each day with an unfailing optimism that today is the best day of my life and tomorrow will be better. I enjoy the quiet moments when the light comes into my room in the morning and nights just staring up at the moon, when I can think about how everyone else seeing it too.

Unfortunately, these emotional highs don’t keep my soul from feeling downcast

This is the part where I wish I could only show you the best parts of me, but that’s not who I am. I am an incredibly broken human who lets her circumstances control her emotions. All it takes is one text/action/behavior/glance/etc. and my mood instantly spirals.

I no longer want to be around anyone. I want to go home and listen to sad music in bed and share song lyrics on social media as a cry for help or maybe so a person sees and understands how I feel. As a teenager, I did this which is super embarrassing, but I have a little more self control now. I’m an expressive person and it’s easy to share my feelings of elation, but it’s harder to show the other side.

This is partially because 95 percent of the time I tell myself I’m being ridiculous. The things that set me off aren’t life-altering or traumatic; they’re just hard for me. They’re the little things that play off the insecurities I can’t quite shake.  The same things that have plagued me forever, causing me to question everything. The insecurities that make you feel crazy.

For example, learning a small detail about a situation that changes everything; seeing two people have a conversation; not receiving the text I want; when I don’t get the greeting I want; when I’m blatantly ignored; when I feel like I’m talking too much; etc.

(P.S. yes these are vague but I have to keep a slight air of mystery)

You don’t develop insecurities overnight; they are learned through experience. Most of what upsets me relates to relationships. Because I’ve never felt confident of someone else’s feelings for me and always allowed them to keep me as a secret part of their lives, my mind automatically believes the worst and mistrusts every situation.

When my emotions are triggered, there are two separate thought processes that make me want to shut down and listen to Death Cab for Cutie. 1) The actual pain of the insecurity wound being pressed and pinched before it is healed. 2) The shame I feel for being so emotional about feelings I know I “shouldn’t” have.

I didn’t realize until recently how often I called myself stupid for feeling a certain way. When I’m discussing how I feel with someone else, I minimize the pain and assure them I know I sound silly and I’m trying to get better. I don’t fully process the actual emotion because I’m too busy beating myself up for being this way again.

When I face rejection, especially romantically, I blame myself. Logically I tell myself it’s not true, that it wasn’t right, but the shame remains. I feel like an idiot for feeling the way I did and believing it would work out. I regret all the conversations I had with friends trying to figure out what was happening and think they probably view me as a fool as well. I’m just a broken record, after all.

Then the shame makes me feel crazy because I know better but here I am, losing my mind over someone else. I tell myself it could never work out now because I’ve done too much damage by talking about it and trying to make it a real thing. I’m an idiot with a big mouth.

These are the thoughts that consume me when an insecurity is triggered. I never thought I lived with shame until I caught myself telling everyone how stupid I was as I tried to process my emotions. It took my best friend reminding me it’s not stupid to really see the damage I was doing to myself. Instead of crying out to God, I belittle myself into trying to feel better when I should let go.

I tell myself I’m being logical by calling myself stupid, almost as if I’m beating others to the conclusion.

Instead of trying to process the insecurities and turning to God, I turn inward and believe the lies my shame tells me and I let it try and break me time and time again. It’s not the circumstance I need to be wary of, but myself.

I try to keep myself contained, where I’m safe and where I can’t be hurt. This directly conflicts with my ‘everything on the table personality’ and I fail and give too much too soon. When I feel it happening and know I’ve done it again, I pull back and punish my heart for misbehaving once more.

No boy has broken me; I just keep cracking under the weight of my own self-inflicted wounds.

My shame convinces me things won’t work, because they never do for me. It reminds me of all the times guys kept me in the dark, and tells me it’s how they all are. It fuels my insecurities by saying everything’s your fault for not being enough. The narrative is a simple ‘it’s all because of who you are’ and I believe it every single time.

It’s hard to think that place exists within me. If I was a color, I believe I’d be a vibrant pink. My goal in life is to help others and always make sure they feel good and valued and loved. I believe in being kind and courageous always (although I do fail). I want to be remembered as being a light in the darkness.

But I know the place exists. I know my shame is a part of me, dwelling beneath the surface and wrecking me with every insecurity. I am a fool to think anyone would really want me. Look at the way I behave. Look at the things I say. Look at how cool other people are compared to me. I will never be right. I will always feel wrong. I will always overstay my welcome. I will never take the hint. I will always be wrong wrong wrong.

It’s not that I don’t love myself, I do. Sometimes I do something weird and chuckle at myself because it makes me who I am. I’ve stopped looking in the mirror and noticing every problem area. I’m more confident in the person God created me to be and how I’m finding more of her every day.

Past relationships and rejections have led to feelings of inadequacy and the shame still possesses me today. I can love me, but no one outside of God will. I know that’s twisted and I’m surrounded by so many people who remind me daily I am loved and I’m trying to hold onto to the ones who make me feel right and let go of the one who make me feel wrong.

I don’t write this from a place where I identified my problem and worked to get better. I remain a little broken and shame still tells me it’s my fault my fault my fault. The difference is now I know what I’m doing to myself, and what I let happen.

I wish I could end this with something inspirational or a Bible verse, but it wouldn’t be authentic. I would be putting on a smile over my pain to make it seem like all is well. That I’m fine, don’t worry about me.

Yes, all of that is true and I know God is here in this and I will desperately try to hold onto Him with everything I have. But right now, this is hard and I struggle. Minimizing my emotions and the pain I feel to end this post bright and bubbly isn’t the story I want to tell.

Instead I will promise you I’m trying. And I don’t know what your darkness is, but light and love can always reach you, so never give up hope.

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