Thursday, August 20, 2009

True Day: A Scathingly Brilliant Idea...

A few days ago, Olivia posted this. It's a very brave post, addressing the fact that we all have things we wish for that we don't want to admit to others. Within the post, she suggests that we all need a "true day", times when we are free to admit the things we really think, really want, really fantasize about, without fear of how others will receive it.

We began talking about this off-line, about the possibility of creating a space where all of us would feel free to express our inner selves, including these things we typically hide from others. Most of the time, we only believe we're hiding them since others do see it, but there's something freeing about writing it or saying it. It's almost like a confession without the penance. In these spaces, we don't want to see any penance dished out, just acceptance and sharing.

I'm willing to start.

I am ashamed of how small my world is and do a lot to hide it. Over the past year or so, I have used many of the lessons from my mother, things I scoffed at in the past, to create an image that isn't entirely true. In other words, I've allowed myself to become a social climber. I want to be perceived as "A List" material and have compromised my own values at time to accomplish that. I've given the impression that my life is much fuller than it is because it's easier than dealing with the shame and embarrassment.

I haven't lied exactly. Maybe a little. I've just left a lot out. My life embarrasses me. It should be fuller than it is, yet I deal with a touch of the isolationist. I love my alone time, yet recognize that I am not serving myself or anyone else by giving into it to the degree I do. Even knowing it is unhealthy doesn't necessarily push me out of the pattern. I fake it around others. I've allowed numbers and a calendar to control my perceptions of myself.

This began because there are times when I can be a petty and competitive person. I had a minor conflict with someone on my recovery list. She said "most people have lives, Chani" and my immediate reaction was to think "I'll show you, you *****!" and go into full-tilt competition, to prove to her that she was wrong. I not only "have a life" but one that is rich and full... the extension of that being "richer and fuller than yours". Because sometimes I can be that way.

It's stupid and faulty reasoning, of course.. but one I nurture anyway. I want to prove something - by any means necessary. My life hasn't changed all that substantially since that conflict occurred but I've learned how to present myself in such a way that no one will ever be able to say something like that to me again. It was humiliating, hurtful and intended to wound. Mission accomplished.

(For the record, I detest that expression "get a life". It's only purpose is to embarrass or humiliate another person. From now on, I will challenge anyone who says it.)

So I've admitted it here. Sometimes I can be petty and competitive. And sometimes I'm a phony.

I don't like that about me but I believe the quote in the graphic on this post. Each time we bring something like this into the light, we have an opportunity to heal it. If we don't admit it, it festers and spiders in several directions, making it possible to become an unhealthy pattern.

So I'm putting this on the table, admitting it because I intend to heal it. The other possible outcome is that I will accept it as part of my character and determine to not use it in a hurtful way - to myself or anyone else.

This is the purpose of "true day". If you would like to participate, put "true day" in the subject line of your post so we can find it with a search.



S said...

This post is brave, too. It takes courage to share your weaknesses.

The pettiness and competitiveness I'll allow as weaknesses.

But being solitary?

Only if it bothers YOU is that a weakness, IMO.

My weakness is probably not so different from your own. I'd call mine envy/insecurity, but maybe it boils down to the same thing as yours.

Erin (Woman in a Window) has done a similar truth-sharing post on one of her blogs.

I'm all for it!

Olivia said...

I am glad you initiated this idea, Chani! I vigorously support it, and will post "True Days" on my blog with the start "True Day:" like Wellness Wednesdays and Sacred Sundays.

Kudos to you for heading things off with such a brave post. And I so agree with you about bringing things into the light.

A third option (in addition to healing and acceptance) could be expanding your life in healthy ways, ways that DO resonate with who you are.

I look forward to hearing more about your healing journey!

thank you my good friend,


painted maypole said...

brave indeed. i feel you have many "true days" on this blog. i love the end of this... the thinking about what to now DO with this truth. Not penance, but not excusing. Moving forward.

Anvilcloud said...

You are very human. I am too.

MARY G said...

Yes. I try to do this; sometimes I come close, but there are always things I hold back and feel sad that I have. Or felt I have to. You are an inspiration for me to try harder to be real and your friend is an inspiration to really look at myself and try to find the real things.
Chani, I think if we would admit it, there is not a single one of us who would not love to be an 'A' list type blogger.
And what Slouchy said about solitude is very well put.
My kids used to use 'get a life' as a joke when it first became an 'in' saying - one of them would look at her pile of math homework sadly and say 'I have to get a *life*'. I agree it has mutated into a putdown. Sad, because it was funny then.

MARY G said...

Just a thought. I used a Thackeray sketch for a while as an avatar - a sad little critter who had just lowered his mask. I don't use it anymore - would it make a good header for a 'Truth Day' post? I'll pop it up on my blog; it's not copyright, I believe.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

The only issue I have with "True Day" is that by implication, does that mean all the other days are UNtrue?

My life has grown very small, too, and sometimes I try to convince myself that it's entirely because of my husband's Alzheimer's, but when I am perfectly honest I have to admit that we simply don't have much of a social life. We are both solitary types by nature, artists and what I call sociable loners, and we have never had a lot of friends as a couple. Now that he has this dreadful disease, most of them have drifted away.

Unlike you, I can't heal this problem. All I can hope to do is make peace with it, and I'm working on that.

secret agent woman said...

Ooh, I hate "get a life," too. So condescending.
I try to be truthful on my blog always, but I also want to retain the right to say only what want to say. I frequently post things that ar more upbeat than I am feeling in the hope that the very posting of it will pull me up. I don't want to spend much time wallowing. For me,it's sort of a Buddhist watering the good seeds, uprooting the bas seeds thing. But all that said, it sounds like you will find the change helpful and that can only be to the good, so I fully support the idea.

Emily said...

Truth. What a powerful concept in its simplicity. I find that I have the hardest time looking the truth in the eye when it comes to my own thoughts, my own body, my own decisions. I think taking ownership in our own lives could, quite possibly change the entire world. At least one's own little corner of it.

dmmgmfm said...

Very brave post, Chani. I doubt I am that brave.

meno said...

I have a small life too. Sometimes i wish it were bigger, but when i'm honest, i realize that my life is small because i have designed it to be that way.

I am not willing to do the impression of a more normal person that would be required to have a bigger life. A weakness? Sometimes.

Anonymous said...

(Hope this is not a duplicate... was having trouble posting it via Blogger last night).

Hi Chani

Enjoyed your post. Telling these kinds of truths is a hard thing to do, especially when you worry people will look at you a different way.

I hate 'get a life' too... have hated it for years.

On my blog I say a lot that's true already... mostly only have the courage to do that because I suspect others are no different, or would be no different in similar circumstances. ;-)

Leann said...

I will join in the fun on my days off when my brain is not so sleep deprived.

Anonymous said...

True Day. What a fine idea. I like it very much. And thank you, Chani, for the candor and honesty in your posting. But, I would expect no less from you.

Gadfly said...

Who says there's something "wrong" with being a loner?

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Thank you for your honesty.

I've been mulling over this idea of a True Day. I may participate in a few days.

Angela said...

Oh this is scathingly brilliant.