Hump Day Headspace: stop apologizing and stop the bleeding
September 20, 2017
Content Warning: Eating Disorder
You're hanging out with friends, like a normal person. You're making small talk. Life seems good. Life is good.
And then it happens.
Someone teases you. Someone you like - no - someone you love.
It's a lighthearted tease, the kind that comes from a place of love. The room laughs, everyone laughs. Everyone seems to enjoys this. Everyone knows this is normal. Everyone else can handle this. Everyone but you.
You're standing in the kitchen as the black hole opens and the gravity of insecurity begins to suck you in.
What is wrong with me? This is probably what they think of me, what everyone thinks of me, all of the time.
Why am I like this?
Why am I so loud? so talkative?
Why am I so quiet? so shy?
Why do I dress like this?
Why am I so tall? so short? so thin? so fat? so curly-haired? so strong? so weak? so tan? so pale?
Why am I so me?
I knew this was too good to be true. They don't like me. Why would they? After all...
The moment is quick but seems to last an eternity in your mind. The thing they tease you for (the character flaw that actually makes you more real and lovable) feels as if it's protruding out of you like an ugly sore. It's like it's pierced your flesh like a jagged piece of broken bone and is bleeding on the freshly cleaned carpet as the party gawks at your inability to stop the bleeding.
This is how it feels but this is not real. In reality, you have laughed along. You've sat back down and you've joined back in on the small talk, trying as hard as you can to make eye contact and feign interest in recounts of yesterday's sports match as inner-you screams in panic, falling uncontrollably into a black hole of insecurity and bleeding all over the carpet.
This is a moment I've lived time and time again. This is a moment that, in the past, would have sent me home to a rekindling of self-destructive habits. This would be the reawakening of my eating disorder. This would be when I start to unbecome myself... to shrink, to plan, to count, to break, to tear, to run, to scratch away at all the parts of me that just never seemed like they fit in at the party... until there is nothing left. Eventually I wouldn't have to feel like I don't fit in at the party because there wouldn't be anything left of me to attend.
This is a moment that I'd like to say I'm beyond feeling. I'd like to tell you this moment never happens anymore but that would be dishonest. These moments, the beginnings of them at least, still happen but they do not end in the same destruction. There will be no reawakening and there will be no unbecoming. Now when the black hole of insecurity opens, I grab hold of my tether and I pull myself back out.
I've learned to spend my time in space, that peaceful time when the black hole lies dormant, weaving and working threads together to form a sort of grounding line. What are the threads made of? It's this.
It's "being exuberant and fierce in the pursuit of the things that I love and the things that I am."
Being Tallulahish, which is to say being myself, is the very thing that keeps me from drifting too close to the black hole. It keeps my bones safely tucked inside my skin and from bleeding on the fancy carpet. I do that... for myself... by being me.
And that's exactly who is going to do it for you: you.
Next time you find yourself sinking into a moment of self-doubt, look around you. Look at the people in your life (the good ones)... they wouldn't be there if they didn't love you. Stop apologizing for who you are. That's step one. The rest will come in time. Tethers, like the one I am weaving, take time to string together. The more time you give yourself, the more threads you'll weave in and the stronger it will become, and more distance you'll put between you and that black hole, and the safer you'll be.
Start with the stop: Stop apologizing for yourself. Stop your insecurities from phantom bleeding all over the carpet because owning yourself, flaws and teasable moments included, is part of being unapologetic. And that is step one, after all.