I’m not like you.
I don’t think the way you do or act the way you do or live my life the way you do.
I’m not like you because I’m me – I have a different set of experiences, a different set of circumstances, and a different history of ups and downs that have gotten me to where I am today.
I wrote once that some people control their surroundings by being private, that others exert control by being open…. and that clearly, I’m an “other”.
I am transparent.
It wasn’t always like this, though. I used to thrive on being secretive and withheld. It wasn’t until I began shedding my “perfectly perfect” skin (all the “Cupcakes and Sprinkles”) somewhere around 2008 that I began to dabble in the idea of letting people see how things really were rather than how I wished them to be.
Then I went to Europe. And when I went to Europe, I began writing a blog. And one night when I was sick and miserable and tired and lonely and particularly unhappy in Amsterdam, The Pilot suggested I write about it. He even added that I didn’t have to post it… but that I should write about all the less-than-great stuff. So write I did. I ended up publishing it – in all its Un-Cupcakes glory. And just when I thought that people wouldn’t really have much positive to say about my particularly negative post, this really awesome thing happened – people had even MORE good stuff to say about it. They seemed to appreciate that I was real – that I told it like it was. Weird.
Depending on how far back you’ve read these blogs, you’ll understand that I also spent the majority of my younger years being incredibly secretive and withheld. I went through a lot of stuff that people don’t talk about. But then, one day, somewhere in the middle of Poland, I decided to write a blog post about that too. Imagine the shock when people read a post where I admitted to having been sexually abused for most of my childhood and adolescent years. I actually think it made others more uncomfortable than it made me (and, in the moment, it made me pretty damn uncomfortable).
…. And just when I thought that people wouldn’t really have much positive to say about my particularly negative experience (and particularly candid post), another really awesome thing happened – people had all kinds of stuff to say about it! Not only did I get an outpouring of supportive responses from random folk, suddenly people who had been through the same (or similar) things got inspired. They got inspired to contact me and share their story. They got inspired to write their own stories and share them with other people. All of a sudden, through one random act of my own bravery, I set off a chain of reactions that led to a whole lot more positive stuff swirling about.
Back to what I was saying.
I’m not like you. I don’t think the way you do or act the way you do or live my life the way you do. But just because I think / act / live differently doesn’t make me right and you wrong or you right and me wrong or any variation of rightness or wrongness applicable. It’s just different.
I am transparent.
…. and I like being that way.
I like talking about things the way they are. I like writing about how things go down – the good, the bad, the ugly. I like to be expressive and open and honest. I like not having to hide behind masks. I like to share my life because I like how it dispels my demons and gives me confidence. I like that what I write inspires text messages like, “Your blog post just made me look at my life in a completely different light”, or “You inspire me to be strong. Please don’t stop writing”.
Some people think I’m bragging.
I’ve been told my blog is attention-seeking.
There are a lot of vindictive, unhealthily-attached people who peruse these virtual pages looking for ammunition. After all, knowledge is power, right?
But there’s very little power to leverage from being completely unafraid of the truth. I am transparent because I’m not afraid to be real anymore.
Real means that sometimes things are over-the-moon amazing…. like, ridiculously, over-the-top, stupidly, insanely, madly, devastatingly amazing.
Real also means that sometimes things are horrible…. like, ridiculously, over-the-top, stupidly, insanely, madly, devastatingly horrible.
And real means that sometimes, I make things out to be something they’re not, think I know something about something that I don’t, or know that I know nothing at all about anything.
I’m okay with that.
For the first time in my life (and I mean ever in my existence), I’m okay with just how things are. I’m okay with the good stuff. I’m okay with the bad stuff. I’m okay with the ugly stuff (so long as it’s not orange. I really hate orange).
For the first time in my life I’ve found a groove that works for me – and the reason I know that? Because regardless of whether someone else likes it or doesn’t, I’m not changing for them.
Sure, I’ll get annoyed. Yeah, I’ll get irritated. And I’ll probably try to convince them that I’m actually right and they’re actually wrong — but sometimes I argue with people just to amuse myself (and to see if they’ll stand up to me). I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m having a ridiculously altering (altar-ing?) experience in trying to. I choose to be transparent because maybe, somehow, somewhere, someone along the way will be inspired by it.
People don’t benefit others by being secretive and withheld and reserved. People benefit others by sharing stuff, telling stuff, and making people think stuff that they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
No one tells the author of a bestseller that they were too open – because, for whatever reason, they bought in to the transparency – they saw it as an opportunity to grow/learn/change.
My transparency may not be a bestseller….. or maybe one day it will….. but, for whatever reason, some people buy in to it – and see it as an opportunity to grow/learn/change by proxy.
I once found this really great quote:
I’m not the majority. I’m just me. I’m judgmental, ambitious, stubborn, and a touch cynical. I usually jump too fast, love too much, and wish too big. I laugh at things that happened a month ago and take photos of everything in existence. I’m not a great forgiver but I desperately want to learn to be. I make mistakes and learn a lot of lessons. I’ve been through things that have recreated, redefined, and redesigned who I am. People think I have it all together – when in actuality, I wake up every day excited to figure out what new thing I’ll learn about life, love, or myself. I’ve been on a pretty awesome path – this year, with this career, with people I’ve loved, lost, and loved again. I choose to make my path public because it just works for me.
Other people who choose to make their things public are how we learn to do things we know nothing about…. like cooking a turkey, or ripping tiles off bathroom walls, or calculating distances between places. Other people who choose to share what they know is how we collectively know more. I am not particularly good at turkeys or tiles or calculations…. but I learn lessons all the time… and maybe somehow those can teach someone else? I dunno.
Some people exert control over their lives by being private. I exert control over my life by being transparent. And if you’re “some people”, then we probably won’t get along very well. But that’s okay…. I’ll likely just pause, reflect, write a blog post about it….and move on.