This blog post is one that is SUPER different to all the other ones I have ever posted, but something that, for some unknown reason, I feel compelled to write. So here it is, a post inspired by the above photo, recent developments I’ve made in my life, conversations with friends, and books that I have read.
I’m being real, I have attached an unedited photo of what my life looks like right now, 9.45pm Tuesday 30th May 2017, a moment that I will never revisit regardless of what happens. I lie here with my clean loads of laundry awaiting to be sorted and folded. The calendar on my wall hasn’t really been attended to in 3 days. I still need to wash my bed sheets & make my bed. I have shoes strewn all on floor in random places. My rubbish bin is overflowing but funnily enough I haven’t even taken the last bag out to the rubbish. Don’t even get me started on the state of my under the bed ‘storage’. I could actually pick out so many things in this present moment that shows how untogether my life is.
But what strikes me is the way people see me. I haven’t conducted a survey or directly asked everyone, but I am going to guess that people see me as an accomplished, organised, and other positive ‘-ed’ adjectives. I have two degrees under my belt and am studying another degree. I spend most of my time out in different places, with my friends whom I adore, or devouring more books. Most people see me as the put together picture that I have painted the world through my numerous social media accounts or even my blog posts.
For the most of my life I would have loved to be seen in this light. Don’t get me wrong, I do strive to be that type of person because it makes me who I am. However, I am much much much much more! I am made up of moments of tears, laughter, frustration, pity, pain, fear, joy, confusion, contentment, and drive. I get worked up over assessment due dates or regrettable comments I have made. There are moments where I need to escape back into my room and just wallow in my inability to be the person who I want to be. When I hide those parts I don’t want to show, I feel as though it actually does more harm for you, as this world has become entrapped into the vicious comparison cycle.
Tonight I woke up from a nap at 8pm, recharged my dead phone, and then the world restarted up for me. Every time that my phone buzzed, I could actually feel the anxiety rise a notch. ‘9 unread Facebook messages’, ‘4 people liked your recent Instagram photo’, ‘2 unread emails’, ‘7 Facebook notifications’, ‘6 unplayed Snapchats’, ‘1 missed call’. Why! Stop! I only napped for three hours!!! Then I checked in with my emotions and body. I was wanting to cry and scream at every person who contacted me (myself included). I was going to have to spend ALL of my time responding to everyone, and it added to the guilt that I really should have been studying instead of napping. Then I named this story. I was feeling totally and utterly inadequate. I wasn’t able to keep responding to everyone, study for my exam, and fight this sickness by napping…
That is the part of my life you don’t see. In a strange way, that is a part of my life I wish you did see. The strange thing is, we all have narratives like this. The most disheartening thing is, we keep it to ourselves and think that others don’t experience it either. I read books of authors who have made a career out of the realisation that we hide our painful stories and the damaging effects it has on us as humans. I speak with my friends in whom I am trusting more to experiment with being more transparent, and I am not alone in my fears and failures.
I am flawed. I have positive qualities that I am growing to love, cherish, and nurture. Sometimes I eat too much chocolate or choose to not exercise one too many times. I have parts of me that I don’t particularly like, but I adore things like my big cheeky grin. There are days that I jump out of bed and enjoy every moment, and there are days where I sit in bed all day and just sleep away. I even write blog posts like this that I feel silly in writing, but I do it anyway. I do this because I am in the process of allowing myself to be seen for who I am, and for who I really am. I am Kathleen.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Brené Brown