The Illusion of Open Books

My brain is always filled with too many thoughts, or ideas, or memories I want to preserve, or information I want to share…and so I update all of my corners of the internet several times a day with links and photos and anecdotes and even I sometimes think: All of my life is online.

But it’s not. Often I dump so much stuff out to make room in my head for the stuff that has to stay locked up with no place to vent or breathe.

I had an old friend who I haven’t seen or talked to in decades, reach out recently and try to “help” me based on what they saw on my social media. They had made all sort of wrong conclusions about my life and therefore what they thought I needed – in terms of advice – and it just was such a very stark reminder of how different I may be from the person I’ve presented online. And honestly? It made me a bit sad. Like, Hmmm….I thought I was a lot more of an open book than I guess I really am.

But we all contain multitudes, right? Even contrasting multitudes.

Sometimes my kid will ask me, “Are you okay?” if I seem more quiet than usual, or less silly, or zoned out. And I feel like it’s such a complicated question to answer because a lot of times I’m feeling Okay and Not Okay at the very same time. Sometimes I’m laughing so hard I’m trying not to wet my pants (and sometimes failing, I am 45 you know) – while simultaneously overwhelmed by existential dread. Other times I’m staring out in the distance contemplating a savage loneliness but also feeling like my heart is so full of love and joy and gratitude that it might explode.

And then sometimes there’s annoying shit going on in my head I don’t share because it’s annoying and I’m embarrassed I can’t GET MY BRAIN TO STOP OBSESSING OVER IT.

I’m a very introspective person (“WHAT?” the crowd says in unison, “THIS IS ALL NEW INFORMATION!”) and often it can be a bad thing. I get stuck in these loops analyzing one specific relationship (Like, let’s just say, after angry exchanges that can occur when votes are being counted during a contentious election) that I start to neglect other things in my life. Part of this is definitely a trait of Rejection Sensitivity Disorder, but some of it also lines up with my compulsive tendencies to want to understand people and my compulsive tendencies to want to be liked at all cost. So there will be drama and my brain just can’t stop obsessing over it and I just get so mad at myself for letting this one thing take up so much space in my brain.

And I can’t vent it out in words on my blog or on Facebook or on Twitter and so it just keeps burning in my head, literally keeping me up at night.

There’s also stuff I don’t talk about because I still struggle a lot with shame. And then there’s stuff I don’t talk about for all combinations of privacy issues – both mine and other people’s. Then there’s stuff I don’t talk about because it’s just bouncing around in my brain with no form yet.

And since I can’t talk about all of those things, I just dump out everything else all over the internet, giving the illusion that my life is an open book. And the illusion is even given TO ME. Like, I feel like I do a pretty good job of presenting myself and then someone who thinks they know me suggests that maybe I’ve put on so much weight because I have a eating disorder relating to my anxiety and I’m blown away because it is just the opposite. I HAVE PUT ON SO MUCH WEIGHT BECAUSE I AM GETTING OVER AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD AND FITNESS AND BODY DYSMORPHIA RELATING TO MY ANXIETY.

My point of all of this was just to say, I am fine. I feel a lot of rich joy and happiness a lot of times in my life. Especially with my kids who are all hilarious and crack me up daily. As a matter of fact, often times I feel really great. Last night my we were doing a watch party with my nephew in Colorado – watching the 2nd Harry Potter movie together – and Nikki was cracking up over how dorky excited I was. Some people fake enthusiasm to make kids feel excited, but it’s real for you. You are honestly excited about watching this movie with them! And I was like, “OF COURSE I AM! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!”

But I’m also not fine. You know? And I’m not fine for a lot of reasons I don’t ever talk about. Sometimes because it’s just boring. I have an Anxiety Disorder which often results in depressive episodes. If I can’t find a way to talk about that in an interesting way, I often just leave it in my head.

Luckily I have a good care team that helps me and I have great tools in my shed to use when I’m not feeling great, but I just feel like I need to make sure there is documentation on the internet that says: No matter how many words and pictures I paste across all of my platforms, there’s still a lot I can’t talk about and so please maybe refrain from acting as though you’ve got me all figure out.

Thanks.

One thought on “The Illusion of Open Books”

  1. That’s nervy of someone to assume they knew all about you. I try not to make assumptions about people, though it’s hard sometimes. It’s just that it’s hard enough to know what’s going on in your own head without trying to assess other people (through your filter). ❤ to you.

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