I have realized that I start out a lot of my blog posts by admitting that I fear judgement, and that’s why my posts are so few and far between. This will be the last time I do that.
I fear judgement.
I’m afraid to let people know that I am troubled, that I’m emotional, that I am human. That doesn’t mean that I am not all of these things, though. I just prefer to keep it behind closed doors most days.
The thing is, I don’t want people to think that I have suddenly started feeling things, suddenly become this emotional and over-thinking person. Because I always have been. I’ve always been one to write down my feelings, pages and pages of them.
But I never showed anyone. I didn’t want anyone to think that there was anything going on in my head beyond surface-level. I thought that was weird. When I was younger, a couple of my friends found one of my journals and then read my words out loud to me. It was my worst nightmare. I laughed it off at the time, but the next day I ripped up those words and threw them away. I didn’t keep a journal for years after that, afraid that someone might find it and embarrass me. When I did start writing on paper again, I hid it well anytime I knew someone would be coming into my room. I didn’t want to be humiliated and ridiculed for all my stupid thoughts, not if I could help it.
Then I found the internet. I could be anything, say anything, and nobody that knew me in real life would see. I could be my genuine self – a person with a lot of thought cycles and opinions and anxiety and love inside of them. I used to spill my guts on Tumblr with absolutely no fear of judgement, because none of these people could spit my words back at me in a mocking tone. In fact, most of the people I followed were doing the exact same thing as me. Once Tumblr became a little more mainstream and I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t have it, I made a “public” account, for my friends to follow. On this I’d reblog pictures of cats and memes and all the stuff I thought would make me seem normal. I even had a private Twitter account for a while, so that I could speak my mind without all of my high school friends seeing. I was SO AFRAID. I was living this weird double life because I didn’t want my friends to know anything about me, I didn’t trust them. As if that’s not what friendship is supposed to be based on.
It’s taken me a very long time to feel comfortable outwardly expressing emotion. Maybe it’s come with age, maybe it’s because I finally have friends that understand me, maybe it’s because I live in a different time zone than everyone I grew up surrounded by. It’s strange. I spent years shouting into a void instead of talking to the people right beside me. These strangers on the internet knew so many of my secrets, and they didn’t tell anyone. That was so relieving, to have somewhere to put my thoughts. I was ok typing up rants and worries and posting them online for nobody to see.
Nowadays, I find myself being more and more myself when meeting new people. Because they didn’t know me in high school, they didn’t know what kind of person I used to be, they didn’t know that I wasn’t the type to put my heart on my sleeve. It’s so liberating to meet someone that knows nothing about you but what you’ve told them. You can be anyone. You can be YOURSELF. Your true, right here right now, complete self. And they won’t question it! How cool is that? It’s the perfect mixture between internet strangers and real life friends.
Moving and travelling so much in this past year has helped me grow so much as a person and I’m so grateful for that. I’ve sat in coffee shops and written in my journal while sipping on lattes – right there in the open. And I’ve felt comfortable talking about real things with the people closest to me, too. Those are 2 things that 14 year old me didn’t believe were even possibilities.
Of course, I also have this outlet. I usually write because it feels like I won’t be able to focus on anything else until I get the words out of my head. Most times I don’t have anything spectacular to say – and that’s ok. I have to tell myself that I have a voice for a reason. I don’t have to change the world every time I scribble something into a journal, or type up a note on my phone, or post something on this all-too-formal blog that I have. Nobody expects me to. Every human experience is different and everyone has a different way of dealing with it. I have to write. Like I said, I wouldn’t get anything done if I didn’t pour out some of the extra thoughts once in a while. I’d explode.
(And if you happen to follow me on Tumblr and have noticed that I don’t post much on there anymore, it’s because I have people in my life that I can text all of those things to, even if it’s 4am where they are)