When I was younger I was too honest. I would like to say that I learned gradually the social ways of the world and when things were appropriate to say and when they weren’t. That is not what happened. Instead years of emotional abuse and trauma created someone unable to say anything at all. Instead of learning social skills and becoming more developed as a human being; I stopped talking, I stopped sharing. I became chronically paranoid that people would act terribly if I said or did something "wrong". At times I became convinced I was "bad".
My inability to be myself has become paralyzing. Countless actions are avoided, endless opportunities are never pursued, friendships are never made, projects are ruined because of communication problems, side-projects never launched because of fear.
I’m tired of being this way. I want to be a person that feels comfortable with who they are. I want to be comfortable with me. I want to send emails to people without terror. I want to communicate when projects are going wrong and not wait too long. I want to pursue friendships and opportunities without being paralyzed by a fear of rejection. I want to stop feeling shame over my mental illness. I want to stop feeling anxiety over my autistic traits. I want to be a person that acts like me and not someone else. I want to be authentic.
I have learned from dealing with my other anxieties that exposure is the only cure. You have to train your brain that things will be okay. Then when things don’t go terribly wrong your brain is like "oh, I was so silly". Gradually, you become accustomed to the behaviors, to the environments, and you are no longer made anxious by those things.
I’m going to start blogging daily about what I’m up to. There will be two posts; one in the morning summarizing what I plan to do and one at the end of the day talking about what I did. Sometimes they will be simple task lists, sometimes deeply personal, usually somewhere in between. Some of them will be poorly written, some will be epic high quality posts that take me hours. At first most will be rushed to meet the goal of posting twice daily, but eventually I hope to get the hang of it.
Why not just keep a journal? I have and while it is great for self-accountability and reflection it does nothing to eliminate anxieties. I have deep deep anxieties about many many things. I have found the best cure is to give them a voice, to talk about them. When I talk about them they lose their power, they become silly and ridiculous and I can let go of them.
When I wrote FightTheUrgeToFade half my brain expected terrible things to happen. I had so much shame over who I was. All my fear and anxieties made me think that certainly bad things would happen. Nothing bad happened. When nothing bad happened, my brain stopped fearing talking about the stuff, all the anxieties I had ended up feeling silly. I stopped feeling shame over my mental illness and became able to talk about the stuff, and the anxieties went away.
I’m going to try to be a little more authentic every day and if I’m lucky it will make all my anxieties and fears start to seem silly. It wont be others it will be for me. I will grow by sharing, even if I’m sharing with a void. Authenticity is as much about getting to know yourself as it is letting others get to know you.