Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I believe....in crying a lot

Life lately has been a big bashibbaba storm, to say the least. I've been confused about lots of things, and it just got to the point where thoughts were so muddled in my mind about what I even believed anymore that I had to get it on paper. I started writing, then crying, and suddenly
four pages later, Chris got home, and the floodgates opened. I tried to make it uniform and pretty, starting almost every line with, "I believe..." but a lot of it ended kinda ugly. I was writing my belief statements on everything - food, religion, music, relationships, God, you name it. It was liberating and frightening, to say the least. I live in an area where it's super easy to get caught up in what everybody else thinks, and easy to forget what you, as an individual, think. I tried to condense things, so instead of saying something too specific, like, "Adam Levine is one of the sexiest musicians of our time and can make anything feel better" (don't even try to deny it), I wrote, "I believe music can cure almost anything, and being that way, it should be open to all who wish to try."

That was one of the tame ones. Most of them were controversial and on some sliding scale of heresy. I wrote these out, knowing that I'd have to share it as a form of therapy, and knowing it would probably be with Chris. I only edited one of them, and it wasn't even the worst one. I knew some of them, he wasn't going to like. I knew most of them, God wasn't going to like, but I figured he already knew anyway, so what's the point in pretending to hide it?

I'm tired of feeling like everyone should be put in a box and expected to stay there all the bloody time. I'm tired of going to church and being asked the same questions over and over, with the same answers and no one being honest about how they feel. Maybe one day I should just get up and say, "I believe God is only merciful when it suits him," and see what people do.

Life is about trying to live and grow, not to fit into some kind of mold that you or others think you should move around. I hate that I feel that way. Maybe others don't and I'm the crazy one. But I don't think it's right that everyone is expected to put on a face all the time, to answer the, "How are you?" question with the too-common, "Fine, you?" You're more than likely not simply "fine."

So I ask this completely seriously, because I don't know. Please, anyone who reads this (I'm talking to you, my lone reader in Qatar. You too, Malta.), answer if
you have a minute. What is wrong with us sharing our feelings, our real thoughts, with those around us? Friends, lovers, co-workers, family, whoever. Someone who isn't necessarily your BFFFFFFFEE + 1. Why is there a stigma with opening up, or with being honest? I'm thinking maybe it's because we're scared of being rejected? Lots of actions tend to boil down to that. But I'm honestly interested. And a little scared to post this because...I'm afraid of a bad reaction. Of negativity, or changed perceptions of who I am. Ah, well. Guess that'd come eventually anyway, if I continue trying to be honest. So, am I sharing too much of my life online because I'm starved for attention, or because I want to stir the pot, or because I really want to express my opinions in an open way? Probably all three. But why do we hold back our true thoughts and feelings, in any given situation? And where do you draw the line? And am I the only person who feels this way? Feel free to answer anonymously, angrily, excitedly, passionately...but above all, be honest. Thanks!

PS It should go without saying - but just in case - that exceptions to this are when you'll unnecessarily hurt someone else.

11 comments:

  1. I'm totally with you. I think everyone should be as honest as possible. In fact, when someone (especially at church) asks me how I'm doing, I always answer honestly. "ok" "I'm tired, how are you?" "really busy lately, what's up with you?" things like that. Also, there are a lot of times I don't agree with what is said at church because it sounds too pretty, too superficial and too contrived. Sometimes I respond and sometimes I don't. I think those things are healthy. And you're right, we don't share these things because we're afraid of being rejected.

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  2. I think the only person who puts a stigma on being forthright and honest about how we're really feeling is ourselves. The only person keeping you inside a "box" is yourself. It is absolutely a fear of rejection. And you're not alone--we're all starved for affection, attention, and validation. But in not editing ourselves, in being honest (without being hurtful or tactless) is how we really get to know each other. I bet as soon as you're willing to share with people, tell them you're NOT fine, you'll find most of them are receptive and caring and want to share with you too. Just remember that it goes both ways--in being honest with them, you have to be open to receiving honest opinions and advice from them in return--and you may not always like what you hear.

    As for church, I don't mean to sound preachy, but every member of the church (whether they seem like it or not) has their own complicated, painful situations and the whole point of the gospel and meeting in church, visiting teaching, etc, is to help us all get through that--not to make us into mindless drones, but to allow us a forum to express (tactfully) and learn from each other, and to realize that maybe the people with all the Sunday school answers ARE being honest and really have learned something valuable that they can share with us. And I guarantee someone else in that classroom is dying to say the exact same things as you. And I also guarantee that someone else has something to say about it that can help you if you are receptive.

    Superficiality in any relationship, including with God, will only stunt its growth. You can't fix problems you don't acknowledge. So by all means, I say, be honest.

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  3. I think mostly people don't want to bother people. I know when someone asks me how I'm doing and I'm actually doing real terrible, I usually focus on something else just because I don't want to burden them. Sometimes there's a time to be polite, and sometimes there's a time to talk for ten more minutes. I love it when someone won't let me leave until I actually tell them that I'm stressed to the maximum. I love those people. They just know when something's wrong.

    I need to practice being like that.

    I love you by the way. You and all your questions and belief statements.

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  4. Rosie, my beloved little sister, I totally feel where you're coming from. I don't believe you're starved for attention either. I think you want an honest connection with the people around you. You've hit on something that I've been struggling with for years. Our world is filled with hypocrisy and we are oppressed by both falsehood and the need to put on a "good face" for the rest of the world. This is especially true for those who are struggling with health issues. You have to keep a "positive outlook" and all that crap. It really pisses me off, mostly because struggling with constant the pain and fatigue of Fibromyalgia sucks and is downright depressing. There are days that I don't care to be nice, and I sure as heck don't want to put on a happy face for the greater good.

    When people ask me how I'm feeling, or how I'm doing, I feel like pulling a Jack Nicholson. "You want the Truth? You can't handle the Truth!" Those two questions are my biggest pet peeves. I loathe them. No, loathe is too tame...I don't think there is a word that truly expresses how much I hate those questions. What the hell do people expect me to say? They really don't care how I'm feeling. In all honesty, they're only asking to make themselves feel better. I lovingly exclude my beloved wife and maybe two others from the nebulous "they" - because their interest in me is genuine. But the rest couldn't care less about me personally.

    It's a pessimistic view, but its the truth as I've experienced it. Not so long ago, I took to being terribly blunt with people.

    "How am I doing? I feel like the floorboard of a New York subway car, how's life treating you?"

    "How am I doing today? My joints feel like someone is driving a railroad spike through them with a rubber mallet. How are you?"

    For some people, its shocking - they don't have a response beyond being visibly discomforted. For others, they empathize, but then we get into a competition to see who is feeling worse. In a way its pathetic, but shared pain and suffering does help - kind of, in a round about way.

    The thing about being brutally honest is that its just that - brutal. But that's life right? It sucks. It beats the crap out of you and leaves you for dead on the side of the road. It leaves you wallowing in a cesspool of "Truth" which is more often than not very depressing.

    I've been in that dark place where death and oblivion become attractive and even preferable. I've been to that place where all of my beliefs seem hollow and empty. In fact I visit them probably once or twice a month as a matter of course.

    Truth, when we really sit back and examine it, tends to be influenced by perspective. Your perspective of the truth isn't necessarily mine. Likewise, we tend to try an interpret the truth through whatever glasses we're wearing at the time. When we are happy, God seems really close. It's easy to accept the truth that God loves us. When we're in the midst of suffering, Heaven seems to have closed up shop and moved on to other "more deserving" people. There are days (a lot of them) when Heaven seems closed and God's attention feels like its centered on everyone but me.

    Sometimes, the only way to escape these hopeless moments is to embrace what you want to believe, and what you want to be true. It's hard work, and I'm the first to say that I get tired of struggling for the scraps that I seem to get.

    I don't know what the real solution is. There are a number of boxes that the world offers us, and we tend to place ourselves in the one that "fits" us best; not necessarily the one that brings us the most happiness.

    Regardless of all my blather, I hope you know and accept one truth - I love you baby sister.

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  5. Rosanne you are the bomb dot com. I hate the question "how are you?" because 99.9% of the time the person asking doesn't really want to hear how you are REALLY doing. I think that's why we automatically answer "fine". I think we should be able to really express how we are feeling but I think there is a time and a place for it. I love you girl and I hope things start getting better for you because you deserve the best. Keep being honest because it's who you are and it makes me laugh. :)

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  6. Firstly, Adam Levine = YUM. Totally agree with you on that one.

    Secondly, I love you and your honesty. So wonderful. I think for me I don't share my full feelings with everyone as a way of protecting myself. I definitely share things with those close to me because I value their opinions and viewpoints. I don't share to a wider audience because
    1. I don't value their opinions as much and
    2. I sometimes don't think they'd fully understand me or where I'm coming from.

    I guess you could say I'm scared of the rejection/judgment, but that fact doesn't really bother me. Because yes, the truth is painful sometimes! Bottom line is, 99% of the time I have no clue what I'm talking about, (including now) haha. We're all just trying to figure out this crazy life, right? However, I think people who honestly share and say bold things help everyone else figure out where they really stand, whether they agree or disagree, so keep on sharing girl!

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  7. I totally agree with Annie and I disagree with your brother. Perhaps for Jeffrey, God feels furthest away when he is miserable, but for me I never feel closer to my Father than when I need Him most. Not even making that up.

    Remember when I told you I prayed for death three summers ago? That was the turning point for me. I had become afraid to pray to God because I didn't want Him to put me through anymore hard stuff. My stake president laughed at me when I told him I had stopped praying. He laughed! Who does that to a sobbing young woman who just had her heart ripped out!

    I started being reeeeeeeeeal honest with God, and when I did not feel a spiritual rejection, I knew that He had not forgotten about me and that He would see me through to the end. That being said, I never want to go through that again.

    The reason that we are not always honest with each other is because there are natural intimacy boundaries. Some people don't know you well enough to understand where you're coming from, so sharing your intimate thoughts with them would be stupid and counterproductive. Other than that, Annie is totally right, the only person keeping you in a box is you. I don't know how many times I've asked you how you're feeling/doing and this is the first I am finding out you've been nauseous!

    Anyway, you asked me to read and I did. Ta-da!

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  8. Liz, that's exactly what I was looking for. I just wanted a definition, something more concrete. You hit the nail on the head. (and therefore, Annie) You're so good at putting it into words.

    I like everyone's insight too, it's really interesting to see the way each of us views things. We all have a portion of right in our answers

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  9. Hey Roz babe,
    Took me a while, because I read this and wanted to answer, but didn't have the time to do it justice.
    The intimacy barriers Liz mentioned is huge for me. I believe in being honest. And I've been working really hard on it lately. BUT. Honestly, my view is, if you aren't one of my intimate friends, I don't want to share my intimate life with you. And I don't see anything wrong with saying "OK" when someone asks how are you. It isn't like I am hiding, I just - why should I have to open my soul to everyone who decides to talk to me? It's easier on me. That being said, I do think it is very important, when I instigate the conversations, to be honest. With myself, God, and the people who I befriend.

    When I miscarried, it was easy to talk to certain people, they cared, but didn't dwell. I was still a person, not just a tragedy - They could talk about my current emotions at the same time as asking about where I got a new dress. It was terrific. Other people not so much. And so I wasn't as honest with them. It wasn't necessarily to protect myself from rejection - more that I didn't feel like dealing with them too, on top of everything else.

    I guess what I really am saying is, yes absolutely be honest, don't be ashamed to share your life experience, don't hush it up just so other people feel comfortable,don't ever pretend life is perfect, but I also don't see anything wrong with letting the raw emotions and facts slide for a while. Putting on a face isn't all bad. Sometimes it is just like taking a nap. You can't be on all day long; those emotions are tiring. It is nice to forget (or pretend to forget) every now and then, and just coast. Does that make sense?

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  10. I think I love you just a little bit. I've just started reading your blog (I skipped over from mommyland) and you've got me hooked. This post in particular! It's true, I find that I try to be an individual, but only to the point where my thoughts, feelings and beliefs are still acceptable to those around me. Stupid little box.

    I definitely forget to ask myself what I truly believe about stuff, and I put "self" behind "self friends want me to be" all the time.

    I hope you're doing as well as can be expected right now. I've never personally fought cancer, or anything relatively cancer-like, so I can't even pretend to know how you feel. Thinking of you.

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  11. Thanks Tiffany - and everyone, again.

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