I have two choices with this blog. I either delete the whole thing, or I push on. I contemplated deleting my whole blog earlier. I honestly did. I have done quite a few times lately actually.
Because blogging is exposing.
I also considered entering this blog for an award, but I just felt too embarrassed to have media peeps judging it, so I haven’t and I won’t.
The thing with a life lived with a mental health condition (or two of them, in my case) is that embarrassment is something that, frustratingly, I often feel. I don’t really like to write about embarrassment as it’s……..well, embarrassing. But I pushed a boundary writing about my loneliness recently, so maybe boundary pushing is what I do best. Maybe the beauty of ‘summer starts to shine’ is that it is an authentic blog containing HUGE levels of embarrassing content?
All blogs are written by an individual person, so I guess you can say all blogs are all deeply personal, however, many blogs are censored, and not the whole picture, and carefully worded and very selective about only recording the good and shiny bits. For many bloggers, social acceptability comes into it very strongly as a ‘thing’ to be noted and abided by. Social acceptability and the fear of negative social evaluation, even in a cyber environment, stops us being authentically ‘us’.
My blogging as MH blogger summerSHINES is about freedom, and I don’t believe in holding anything back pretty much EVER. My husband said earlier, ‘when are you ever going to learn the art of mild restraint?!’ I replied “never”!
Restraint is just not comfortable for me Restraint is restraining, and who wants to feel restrained and pressured like that? I certainly don’t. I know what restraint is, because I felt it, and all the unpleasant aspects of it and how it feels as a child and teenager. I’m an adult now, so surely I can make life choices which mean I tailor a lifestyle and set of values to live by that actually suit me!? Yes? No?
But everything, even if well chosen and decided upon for good reason has a downside, and the downside of a lack of inbuilt restraint, and a lack of motivation or intent to give much of a monkeys about social acceptability on my blog and beyond means I feel embarrassed LOTS. Daily actually. Very much so. Yep.
I feel embarrassed at some point everyday (and usually repeated times throughout each and every day.)
Embarrassment is very much like shame, except shame is something that still can be felt when you’re alone, whereas embarrassment is always felt in relation to the social judgment or the perceived negative/ critical evaluation of another human.
Shame is all about me, but embarrassment is how I feel, purely about how YOU feel about me.
Embarrassment is a social phenomenon. Having your skirt tucked into your knickers is only embarrassing (or a LOT MORE embarrassing) once you clock that someone has already clocked you being ‘knicker tucked into skirt-ed’. If you realise no-one has seen the potential social catastrophe and you’ve got away with it, then usually you’ll just laugh at yourself with relief at your close shave (BAD METAPHOR-ignore that. Experiencing bad image of pubic hair now EEK!!). But if someone else is there, your realisation that you’ve made a social mistake will mean that embarrassment will creep over you like fast-growing ivy growing over the bricks and mortar of your house.
Embarrassment takes over me, so much and so often. My favourite emoji is the blushing face….this one…….
My other favourite is this one……
My mouth gets me into trouble sometimes, if left unchecked.
My emotions get me into trouble sometimes, if left unchecked.
My impulsivity gets me into trouble sometimes, if left unchecked.
So I have to sometimes put behavioural checks in place.
I have to employ some mild restraint sometimes, otherwise my whole life would be chaos and carnage.
In therapy today we talked about my need to keep my personality somewhere in the middle, avoiding the black and white/ all or nothing extremes of thought and feeling.
…..Wait,…… what? is usually my response when she says this repetitive thing that hurts my inflexible brain.
But still my psychologist keeps banging on about it so it MUST be important.
I dunno. I just sat there and sighed.
Do I keep being me? and accept that sometimes I’ll make a total hash of things? Or do I try and live my life with ever greater restraint thereby avoiding mistakes and embarrassment?
My clever psychologist lady who is massively wise says I am definitely capable of being very effective and capable and skilled and wise and level-headed and intelligent and articulate and all that jazz. We also agreed though that I can be totally irrational when I’m blind-sighted by emotion…… I need to somehow nurture the capable part of my identity, which is definitely there, as well as also not giving undue attention to the more traumatised, childlike, and regressive parts of my psyche which are all related to my traumatic upbringing.
In simple words I need to ignore it when I mess up, and celebrate when I do well, and just build on that.
I cannot let the ivy of embarrassment overgrow my whole house.
The house is what I see as my identity as a whole. The ivy is unwanted and spreads fast and wide all over me.
Is there really any need to hold onto embarrassment when you can just get a knife and cut that embarrassment infused ivy away?
I think I hold onto embarrassment for too long over too many things.
Why? I guess I used to subconsciously think embarrassment was educational and keeps me from veering off path, as the emotional cost of making mistakes put me off future fuck ups, but in reality embarrassment just lowers my mood and makes me incapable and certainly not able to perform to my optimum. It is therefore a pants strategy is it not?
So from now on I will tolerate the embarrassing emotional exposure of blogging intimately and publically about my mental health and healing journey and focus on the positive affirmation I do get for keeping it real as I do, warts and all. I will try and cling onto the hope that people reading will react to my blog in the positive way it is intended. I will also continue to share embarrassing content, because believe me, I am embarrassing and there is lots of material! BUT I will accept the downsides of embarassment, knowing that despite the very clear potential for people to form social evaluations about me based on what and how I write, sharing my embarrassment with you is helpful and refreshing as it helps you deal with your difficult private inner stuff. I’m nice that that :) I want to help others.
I hope you can relate to my mistakes. I hope you can relate to my self-doubting and insecure, often paranoid nature. I hope you can understand that sometimes my mental health sitch leads me to write embarrassing things about embarrassing feelings and share embarrassing thoughts about embarrassing situations with people (who are not themselves embarrassing, but I am most definitely embarrassing with them) and know that it is NOT my fault.
I am poorly, but I do my best. I DO have to manage and juggle my mental health conditions daily, as well as the responsibility of caring for my children, often with my husband staying away, and it is
sometimes often always hard.
Perhaps though I will try not to swear on my blog (too much). I will try and tone down my descriptions of things, so they are a bit easier for vulnerable readers to stomach. I will try and be a less embarrassing person generally :P
BUT, I AM EMBARRASSING
AND THAT IS OK :)