A textbook case

We all have our recurrent stress dreams. Mine (embarrassingly) typically involves me realizing I’m stuck in a conspicuous location not wearing some crucial article of clothing. The really weird thing is I’m always holding said article, but just not willing to put it on until no one can see me. I once mentioned this to a friend who’s getting a higher degree in psychology and asked her what it meant about my subconscious state.

“Fear of vulnerability,” she replied, without missing a beat. Apparently mine is a textbook case.

It’s been a raw few months for me, facing insecurity in my work and feeling, many days, like I’m taking on the whole world by myself. I stumble home at the end of a long workday deflated and irritable, and I know I take it out on the people around me. There’s nothing like being brought low in life to make you feel known–and not in a good way. We all want to be known and loved; but there’s nothing scarier than having other people know some of those parts of you that just aren’t loveable. I catch myself holding my breath, waiting for the moment when they all finally throw up their hands and say, “Ok, babe, we gave it a good run, but we can’t take it anymore.”

Who could blame them?

So I’m tempted to tuck it all in and creep to my room and just hide until I can be pleasant and fun again. But really, who am I fooling? Just like in that ridiculous dream, I’m already exposed, and my quest to “find a private place” where no one will see me in my weakness is the proverbial exercise in futility.

I am not perfect. What’s more, people know it. As my sisters would say, “It’s all good.”

Somehow friends and family manage to forgive and love me anyway, in spite of my moping, snapping, sarcasm, bitter and self-deprecating remarks, and whatever other ugly things come bubbling to the surface day after day. Somehow I’m that blessed. I don’t get it, and there are moments when I hate it, but the simple fact is I am (we are all) vulnerable. So there’s no point in being afraid of it.

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4 thoughts on “A textbook case

  1. Once again, great post, and totally hit home for me. I too have been grappling with coming to terms with I’m not perfect and being humbled that despite not being perfect, my husband still loves me. Prior to being married and living with him, I could somewhat hide my neurotic perfectionism tendencies. But now, not only am I increasingly aware that I’m not perfect, but my husband sees it too! (Not that he didn’t before, I am under NO illusions that he thought I was perfect, we were together six years before we got married.) But marriage just has that way of holding up a mirror. As does a new job. And God bless both my husband and employer, they’re still giving me another shot each minute, each hour, each day. Because apparently they’ve learned and accepted what I continually grapple with: I’m not perfect. No matter how much I try. Doesn’t seem to keep me from trying though.

  2. Pingback: Breaking the spell | Life in the Gap

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