A Little Honesty and A Moment Of Vulnerability

Photo by Bianca Salgado from Pexels

I currently have three documents open on my computer. Each one has a half-written post that I can’t finish. Every time I try to write, I get this sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s a tight, clenching panic that screams no, don’t do it! Do what exactly? Write, think, or ask another question? Perhaps, it’s just the writers life.

Honestly, I have no idea.

I’m trying to push through the wall, but I’m met with fierce resistance. It’s incredibly frustrating and panic-inducing. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? I’m trying. I’m giving it all I’ve got, but nothing’s working. I just can’t do this. What if I’m never able to do this again?

Oh, dear God, that sounds like a nightmare, and I really want to wake up.

Clearly, I have plenty of thoughts floating around in my head, but I just can’t access them. Floating is a perfect description. It feels like my thoughts are trapped in thick viscous goo. I reach in, try to grab hold of one, but it slips out of my grasp. It’s like a carnival game that looks easy to beat, but it’s rigged. No matter how hard I try, I’m going to lose another round.

Despite my fear, I’m not entirely dried up. If I was, I wouldn’t have so many windows open. If I couldn’t write at all, then these words wouldn’t be falling onto this page. But there’s still something holding me back. I can feel its tight grip. Something’s keeping me from getting the job done, and I don’t know what it is.

A part of me wants to say fuck it and give up. What would it matter if I didn’t put something up? But that feels like a copout; like I’m giving in to my base instinct to seek the easiest path and avoid anything too hard. It’s giving up and giving in to whatever’s holding me back. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to take the easy out. I have so much I want to say!

But I can’t finish a thought or grab hold of an idea. Every word I type feels hallow and gutless. There’s no substance, only vague ideas and forced conclusions. Where’s the heart? Where’s the soul? Passion, honestly, and a genuine desire to say something that will connect. Where are those things? They should be expressed in every word, but they aren’t.

That’s why I’m feeling the gut-wrenching urge to run away screaming. Are those tears in my eyes or just allergies? I’m clenching my teeth so hard my jaw hurts. I have to remind myself to give it a little slack before I crack another tooth. It’s frustrating and kind of terrifying. 

Losing the ability to compose and misplacing the desire to try is, as a writer, the worst thing that can happen. But I haven’t lost the desire, not really. Obviously, I’m here, and I’m typing this… Whatever this is. Still, I can’t find the right words or, perhaps, it’s the right passion for the words on those pages. The need to write, however, is riding high.

What do you do when your heart and your head disconnect? The lines have been cut, and communication has been severed. That fire in my chest, that fuels on my head, has dimmed. There’s nothing but static and the occasional tap, tap, tap of a long-forgotten morse code. Even if my heart wanted to decipher it, I don’t know if it could. 

I’ve become a ghost town in the middle of nowhere. At one point, it was a thriving hub of activity. A trading post that made sure everything got to where it needs to go. There used to be this hum of activity that produced a unique burst of energy. It had its own signature, its own vibe, but now? A tumbleweed just rolled down the empty railway tracks, and the sound of a whistling cowboy is fading into the distance.

It’s happening a lot lately, and I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know why it’s happening. I thought it was burnout so, I took some time off. And, yes, that was a part of it. I’m glad I took a break, but I’m having a devil of a time getting back into the saddle.

Looks like I’m keeping with the cowboy theme, eh? The last Western I watched was an episode of Doctor Who. That was a while ago. Who knows where this motif is coming from, and maybe it’s time to mosey on without it.

When I started posting my thoughts on this space, I never thought anyone would read it. Other than my family and maybe one or two others. These people have always been supportive of my wacky ideas and strange pursuits. I love them so much for that. But people outside of my circle showing up, reading these words, and showing support? Never, in a million years, did I think that would happen.

I’m gobsmacked! I just love that word. It’s so expressive, and it accurately captures my reaction when I get a new follower or glance at the analytics. You came here to read my words? Seriously? I don’t know what to say. 

Maybe that’s what I’m dealing with right now?

A little sticker shock that’s fuelling my insecurities, doubts, and it’s a bit overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong! I’m so fortunate to have so many of you here, and I don’t want to let you down. There’s been a burst of growth, and a bunch of new followers have gifted me with their time. Thank you so much! Wow, I never imagined anyone would give a damn about anything I had to say. You’re doing a wonderful job proving me wrong.

What a perfect time for my brain to go blank and my heart to fall silent! This is such a classic move for me. Something good starts to happen, and I run away. I just can’t let myself be happy, and I’ll always, it seems, find a way to sabotage any forward momentum.

Other people have an arch-nemesis that stirs up the drama. Not me, I take care of that myself. I’ve always been my own worst enemy. There’s nothing you can say that I haven’t told myself a million times. Please, don’t take that as a challenge. I don’t want to test that theory. I’m a bit too sensitive for my own good.

That sensitivity manifests itself in many different ways. Right now, I’m beating myself senseless because things are going well, and it’s scaring the crap out of me. I’m looking at all those open windows on my computer, with their half-finished words of…blah, blah, blah. I can’t even finish the thought without a wave of self-recrimination. I’m turning myself inside out over something that’s not, in the grand scheme, the end of my world.

But I flinch when I see my own reflection. I walk past a mirror and instinctively say, “Don’t start with me.” How many times have I told myself to shut up in the last 24 hours? I don’t think I can count that high. Not with my attention span. One hundred and ninety. Oh shiny! Haha, stupid, you can’t even count to two hundred.

See, I’m right there with a jab which means I have to tell myself to SHUT UP.

I’ve got the whole arch-nemesis thing covered, and she’s looking back at me in that mirror. It’s tripping me up, and she can’t wait for something really cool to happen so she can slap it down. Like now, I hit a small milestone on this blog, and it’s really amazing. I want to celebrate and be proud of myself because I’ve come farther than I ever imagined. Instead, I’m staring at three half-assed documents through throbbing eyes.

No, you know what? I’m not going to give my saboteur the pleasure, so let’s fight back. I’m going to take this moment to give myself a pat on the back. Yeah, that’ll really drive her mad.

Putting myself out there isn’t something that comes easily for me. Just the opposite! I hide away inside my hardshell because of the whole sensitive thing. I’ve been hurt so often, fallen too hard, and I’m still nursing the bruises. The thought of taking one more hit is just too much. 

So, why the hell did I put my personal, sometimes painful, thoughts on the internet? It’s not like it’s full of trolls. No, everyone is always so kind, compassionate, and no one would ever try to deliberately try to hurt a stranger.

Oh, wait, damn.

Given my natural propensity to go all turtle when it comes to vulnerability, this should be the last thing I ever do. I mean, exposing my innermost thoughts to the scrutiny of others is counterintuitive. I should be polishing my shell and getting cozy, but I didn’t do that. I put myself out into the electronic world, and you welcomed me with warmth and encouragement.

Forgive me, but I need to say it one more time: I am gobsmacked.

Do you know how incredible you are? I’m sure you think that you just clicked a button because you’ve got some time to kill. Don’t worry, I do it too. When I subscribe to someone’s content, I don’t think about what that means to the creator. I’m looking for more things to watch or read. I’m trying to fill the silence with something fun or thought-provoking. So, yeah, I hit a button. I’m just one person. What does it matter?

Now that I am one of those creators? It means the world, and I can’t express how amazing it is to see your names pop up in my notifications. I don’t know you personally, obviously, but you are a precious gift that makes the outside world feel more friendly. I was vulnerable, and you welcomed me with open arms. You saw me, heard me, and you stayed.

The rarity of that gift can never be overstated, and neither can my gratitude. You make me want to get out of my shell and explore life beyond what I have previously imagined. If you exist out there? Well, the world can’t be that scary. 

That thought fills me with so much hope, but it also triggers my internal saboteur. That voice needles me and tells me that it’s too good to be true. It says, this can’t last. They’ll see you for what you are at some point. You’re going to fail, you know that, right? Have you read what other people are creating? And you think you can compete with that? Bitch, no.

Yeah, the mental game is strong, but just you wait. There’s more!

These doubts, and that grating voice? That’s how it starts. The stumbling blocks come next, and they’re harder to ignore. I can’t tell them to shut up or go away. They feel too real, and they’re a genuine obstacle that’s harder to overcome. They are physical even though they stem from the mental health side of life.

I get unexplainably tired, and then this headache creeps in just above my eyes. My brain feels thick, and thoughts come slow. I sit in front of my computer with three documents open, but the fog has rolled in. I struggle to find the motivation to push through because of the fear, doubt, and that critical voice is screaming so loudly.

That voice is responsible for the severed line between my head and my heart. That tap, tap, tap of morse code? That’s the saboteur, my arch-nemesis, doing its level best to keep me from making repairs. I’m focusing on the noise and not paying attention to what’s really important.

The things I value the most in my life are simply: honesty, connection, compassion, and a genuine love for people. This time with you is something I treasure, it’s something I need, but I’m getting caught up in the noise. 

Fear, insecurities, and a lifetime of falling. My mistrust of success and my comfort in failure. The idea that I could let someone down. These are some of the noises in my head right now, and they’re creating a moment of panic. They’re stopping my head and heart from communicating.

Or, so I thought, but we’ve come so far. It’s amazing what a little honesty and a moment of vulnerability can do. It can reestablish communication between the heart and the head. It can overcome a mental barrier. It can silence that internal critique and stop my saboteur this one time.


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