I Feel Too Scared to Share

I would love to share my feelings and feelings with others, but it is extremely difficult for me to do so. I have lived a life of allowing others to let their hair down with me. Letting other people dig into their feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams, but when I begin to do the same, I clam up. I literally do not know where to begin to even share how I'm really feeling underneath the surface. 

I dread the statements, "tell me about yourself" and "talk to me." It's like, what do you want to know? What will I begin to share with you before you relate my story back to you, and now I'm listening to you? I could say, "Please let me finish," but when I do actually finish, is this just going to be their "in" for telling me the story they've been saving up while I was sharing mine? Were they really listening? Am I wasting my breath? 

When I was in high school, a friend's grandmother passed away. A mutual friend, who was getting the play-by-plays of her grandmother's funeral arrangements, boldly told me, "You have no idea what goes on when someone is planning a funeral." 

If she would have asked me, I would have told her that at age seven, I had my first experience with death – my grandfather's. The only grandfather I knew, as my paternal grandfather passed away way before I was even born. Granddaddy, as we called him, was a schizophrenic and never fully present, but I loved him very much. 

I remember my mother telling me he had died, and my seven-year-old self was wracking my brain with how that could have happened. "I know how Granddaddy died," I told my mom. "He stopped breathing." I laugh now thinking about how I came to that conclusion, but my mom hugged me and told me I was right. 

We didn't have a funeral for him. He was cremated. I learned about cremation at the age of seven.

I went to my first funeral when I was eight. It was for one of my great uncles. By the time I was 16, I had been to eight funerals. The most recent one, at that time, being for my aunt, who passed away at 41 from a massive heart attack. I had been with my mom every step of the way as her sister's funeral was planned. I got to see the ins and outs of the whole ordeal. 

So two years later when my friend told me I had no idea about funeral planning, I could have said, "Stop right there. Yes, I do." But what good would that have done in that moment? Making a moment not about me, about me, just to one-up someone about d e a t h. So I could finally be heard. That would have been fucked up and just unnecessary. I kept everything to myself and listened the same way I always did. 

I'm sure that's a good part to why I write; there's no one standing in between me and the pages but me. No one else's stories to hear after I get comfortable enough to share mine. No helpful, yet unsolicited advice to take in. No one to break down my words into something I didn't want it to be.

I shut down at the thought of sharing complete self with others. And it wasn't even something I was consciously aware of until these past few years. Me not sharing became learned behavior after a while.

If you know IRL, you know I ask a lot of questions. Like, a lot. But I'm just genuinely interested in other people's lives. And maybe that's because, deep down, I want others to be as equally as interested in mine, the way I am with theirs. 

For my 32nd birthday, I spent the day in reflection and filled with inner guidance, because I needed to understand what was really going on with my emotions. I didn't want to see or speak to anyone because I truly wanted the day to be about me, and this was the only way I knew how to get it. I've had many celebrations in my lifetime that were supposed to be about me, for me, but I ended up taking care of someone else or had big blow ups, thus turning attention to another person. 

After my birthday, I felt the need to keep quiet. During that time, I heard so many stories of others – from childhoods, beyond and back, and I began to feel a little uncomfortable after a while (see: everything above). I continued to isolate myself even further, not because I wanted to, but because it's what I know how to do best. 

The next conclusion I came to, after a day of being in my feelings, was that I needed to change how I speak to myself. Be kinder and gentler, because I truly need it. I felt great after sitting with myself and wanting to solve my issue because instead of wallowing as I did in years' past, I decided to really feel my emotions and figure out what the fuck was going on, rather than ignoring them or trying to cover them up and put on a happy face. I just needed (and still need) to get all up in it so I can continue to heal. 

I admire those who are able to share unabashedly. I don't want to feel like this anymore, and admitting it is first step. I guess the next step would be to just express what I need??? I'm shrinking at the thought of it. But I am finally commending myself for finally wanting to.