Last week was a bit of a rollercoaster. A positive one, for the most of it–Stories Told released its first single on Spotify, which has me incandescently happy on the days I can bear to be incandescently happy (it’s a lot of work, guys)–but a rollercoaster nonetheless. By the time Friday rolled around, I was D-E-A-D. I spent most of the weekend in a coma, and the moments I was awake were spent pondering the significance of my existence.
No, seriously. Last weekend was my quarterly existential crisis, made worse due to my usual PMS deciding to manifest as inexplicable sadness akin to my bout, last year, with something-like-depression-so-maybe-let’s-call-it-that-but-maybe-it’s-not. So, as you can imagine, I was not well rested and ready for the week ahead. But I managed. Sort of. Maybe. You’ll see. For now, it is Friday, and I am C U R R E N T L Y . . .
R E A D I N G The Drowning Tree, another Carol Goodman thriller and one I haven’t actually read before. It’s been sitting on my TBR pile for the longest time, and I only managed to take a crack at it after giving up on The Lake of Dead Languages (probably not the best thing to read when PMSing and questioning the strength of your most valuable relationships, as you do). Not that The Drowning Tree is that much better a choice, mind: dealing with the thin line between artistic genius and madness, it’s maybe a little too self-aware for a girl who generally wobbles her way across that borderland on her best days.
Best read while consuming copious amount of Pik Nik and listening to podcasts.
W R I T I N G …quotes, I guess? Little snippets I hope lead to bigger ideas. I’m in a Thought Catalog kind of mood lately, which may mean I actually submit something to them (probably not) but most likely will result in a blog or a song. Or a letter. I’m still big on letters, to be honest: when I was in sophomore year I kept a notebook of them, all written to boys that I’d “loved” (varying definitions of “love,” from eros to philia). It was sort of a diary, and even now I tend to frame my own inner workings around perceptions of people, in case you haven’t noticed.
I might write about S again. Maybe. Or, well C‘s coming back from his trip to the States and he’s brought me home a TARDIS scarf as pasalubong, so I might just write about him instead and inflate that ego a little. Because TARDIS.
L I S T E N I N G over and over to Say You Love Me by Jessie Ware. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to imagine myself in any sort of relationship, so I’ve been listening to love songs in an attempt to gain back some of the optimism. Unfortunately, it’s been the sad ones that sound the best to my ears, so I’m not sure how my music’s been helping…
W A T C H I N G or rather listening to an old TED Talk that I’ve honestly not paid enough attention to: Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability.”
F E E L I N G irritated that my laptop’s slowing down again. Our company president likes to joke that Macs can smell fear. I’m beginning to think he might be on to something.
S M E L L I N G the scent of my Avon cosmetics.
W E A R I N G my PJs, as you do.
L O V I N G Studio Fix by Alex Carbonell. I don’t give enough love to the amazing people who work with my pin-straight hair and shape it into something that I can be proud to #selfie. Sir Billy and the lovely individuals who work at the Greenbelt 5 branch of the salon are absolutely wonderful, and it boggled my mind when I walked in today and saw a sign on the reception desk asking customers not to yell at, lambast, or publically humiliate the staff.
Why would a person, let alone enough people to justify having a sign, actually do that?! I’m as mean as the next judgmental, insecure, arrogant prat on the street (if not meaner), but even I don’t get how anyone could be on a warpath bad enough to justify not one, but two signs.
W A N T I N G my Mac to stop lagging! It’s making typing up these blogs annoyingly difficult.
W I S H I N G that I had a higher emotional quotient. Not that I won’t eventually get to a normal point, of course–that’s what maturing is about, after all–but it would have helped to start on a more “normal” level. At least I wouldn’t keep inadvertently offending people.
Ah well. You play the cards you’re dealt. If it’ll take me a little extra elbow grease to get the hang of this “growing up” thing, then I’m sure there must be a good enough reason for it.
T H I N K I N G about just how vulnerable I should let myself be.
Up until recently, I’d always seen myself as an open book, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of person. In fact, I’d used to be proud of that fact. But lately I’ve begun to question just how true that image of myself actually is. See, I’ve been getting quite a few comments lately that I’m not quite “real,” not quite “there.” There’s a disconnect, they say, between my declared image and how I actually appear. Some of it I’ve chalked up to the aforementioned emotional ineptitude–I can come off as a prat sometimes because I don’t realize (until too late) the shades of meaning my statements might seem to hold for others–which is something I’m working on, in the same way that Scorpion‘s Walter O’Brien frequently consults Cabe and Paige on how to navigate the “normal” (read: socially acceptable) world.
(Not that I’m a super-genius like the aforementioned Mr. O’Brien. I do, however, empathize with his interpersonal ineptitude and the scrapes he gets into because of it.)
But even that EQ-deficiency doesn’t explain everything, and so I’ve been forced to take a good long look at myself, as is the overthinker’s custom, and figure out why this divide might exist.
The answer, in the end, was as simple as it was surprising: I am not an open book at all. What I always thought was spontaneous, unfiltered “me” was, in truth and in fact, largely a calculated act that had become so routine as to be subconscious. I’d become so good at “performing” that I’d managed to fool myself…but not so good as to be able to fool everyone else. Examining my own motivations for behaving a certain way, I found a common thread: “They want me to be like this.” “I need to be this way so they can respect/befriend/accept me.”
“I need them to like me.”
So I became my persona: this high-powered, hyperactive, exaggeratedly expressive, indestructible supergirl. I became the drama queen who could also conquer boardrooms, the resilient martyr who saved the day. Reliable Frankie. The Energizer Bunny. The consummate entertainer who could always be called upon to take a fact, blow it out of proportion, and dramatize it for the amusement (or irritation) of others. These multiple layers became my armor, my way of exercising control over others by filtering how they would be able to perceive me.
I suppose (because I no longer remember when I wasn’t carrying on in this way; possibly before kindergarten) this must have started as a way to protect my real self, my softer, more breakable parts with the flaws that I feared would turn people away. But over time, as the layers of artifice accumulated, I began to lose sight of whatever I was protecting. Now, being invulnerable is all I know…and now I’m at a loss as to how to resolve the aching alienation that said invulnerability is beginning to cause.
As an ex-theater kid (who still dreams of going back, truth be told), I’m extremely familiar with the Brene Brown talk on “The Power of Vulenrability.” I know it exists, and I have an idea of what it says. In fact, I actually have watched it a few times. But until I was faced with the consequences of my own “invulnerability,” I never truly understood Brown’s point. Being “vulnerable” isn’t about being an emotional maelstrom or wearing your heart on your sleeve. It isn’t about being expressive, or out there, or overshare-friendly.
It’s about the admission that I have those soft, fragile, breakable parts: flaws I haven’t yet been able to fix, questions I can’t answer, feelings I’m not 100% able to explain. It’s about admitting that I have been hurt, that I will be hurt again…but accepting that fact as a given instead of trying my hardest to hold the world at bay.
I always thought that maturity was about learning how to look like I had it together. That instead of crying or thorwing fits or wallowing, if I could somehow convince everyone that I was fine, then I was doing something right. But while part of maturity does mean that I don’t start crying at random and do exhibit some degree of impulse/emotion control, the realization has hit that I am not fooling anyone with this disguise. The only person I’m deluding, really, is myself. And it hasn’t protected me at all, this armor. If anything else, it’s made the hurt much worse, made me more afraid of the big bad world.
I’m still too gun-shy to subscribe completely to the idea that my weakness should be out there for all there world to see. And, I think, I’m right in that resistance–after all, there is still such a thing as discretion. But while I do still abide by the principle that not everything has to be shared, I’m realizing that I do have to share my life with people in order to live it, and that means occasionally admitting that yes, I’m upset or sad or scared or out of answers. That I’m not okay. That I don’t have it together right now. That admitting I am not okay does not discount the fact that I eventually will be.
Weakness is not a disadvantage. It is a strength. It is was makes me, not an act, but a human. And that, I realize, was Brene Brown’s point. In weakness, there is strength. With the admission that I will get hurt, and that I am not perfect, comes an ability to survive those inevitable moments. Best of all, it gets people to understand. Maybe not enough to prevent some from deciding to hurt me…but enough perhaps to connect with the people who won’t.
It’s a risky world out there. I guess getting hurt is unavoidable. But that tendency to get hurt can be my secret weapon, because it makes me human. Makes me real. And, maybe, will make it easier for me to survive a world full of real humans.
N E E D I N G Coherence. Or, at the very least, a discernable point. But, since I haven’t yet managed to master having a “thesis” to prove in any of these posts, I’m guessing it might be a while until I find one. Until then, this has been the eleventh edition of The Friday, Currently, and I remain, yours ever…
(P.S. The abrupt ending is frankly because I suddenly have to cram recording vocals at home for the Yellow Room Battle of The Bands so…yeah. Will find time to revisit this.)