Why I Overshare
Why I Overshare
A few days ago I opened up my old laptop I used in college. It had been over a year since I looked at it, and after turning it on my desktop screen saver popped up. On it was a picture of a quote. It read “Don’t be Delicate ~ Be Vast and Brilliant.” I stared at my computer a bit sad I had ever chosen those words as my daily reminder. You ladies know how this works. We go on Pinterest and find some quote the inspires/motivates us, and then we use that as our screensaver to remind us to “Choose Joy” or “Believe we can, so we do” yay yay. I thought about my state of mind from back then and why I had decided to make those words a daily reminder, and I felt sad for the younger me. I also felt grateful for how things have changed since then. So let me break it down, because this is obviously not about my old desktop screensaver.
What “Don't be Delicate ~ Be Vast and Brilliant” meant to me over a year ago
If you want to achieve greatness you must put 100 percent of yourself into your goals no matter the cost. There is no room for anything else, but that is okay because it will pay off later.
Emotions are meant to be controlled. I will control mine and won’t let them get in the way of progress.
Show zero weakness. If I do people will take advantage of that.
I must educate myself so I never have to worry about needing others to provide for me. I must always do things for myself.
Schedule every moment of my day. This is productive and productivity = success.
Try to gain as much knowledge as I can so I never look dumb in any situation.
Be Strong Chantel. Always be strong.
What “Don’t be Delicate ~ Be Vast and Brilliant means to me today
Not allowing myself to be delicate leaves zero room for vulnerability which leaves no room for true connection, and that is not how I desire to live.
Having goals and plans are great, but there is a reason the word “moderation” exists. I will not completely lose myself in things that are only temporary. My family and other relationships deserve time and attention as well.
Emotions are fluid and are not meant to be controlled. I will allow myself to feel the full extent of all emotions and examine why I am experiencing them. What I will manage are my reactions. What do I allow to stay and rest in my mind, and what do I say must leave?
There is more strength and grace in showing weakness. No one is superhuman and I am not meant to handle everything alone. Neither are you.
Education is great but it is not a safety net. I will need to ask people for help and more importantly allow them to help me. In that process bonds form, and this is how we all thrive.
There is no glorification in "busy", and my success is not attributed to how packed my calendar is. Rest is just as, if not more, important.
Not knowing everything, and freely admitting that, gives me the opportunity to learn from someone else's perspective.
I don’t have to be strong. I don’t have to protect myself so fiercely all the time.
I discovered Brene Brown's TED TALK in 2017. (watch it here!) I remember sitting at my dining room table with my roommates as we all listened intently. Her talk was on vulnerability. I sat there stunned at some of the things she had discovered in her research. What stuck out the most was what she mentioned about blocking out certain feelings. She said, and I’m paraphrasing;
‘By blocking or ignoring (in my case trying to control) the things that make us feel uncomfortable or bad we end up blocking out everything else. Block out hurt, and you will also block out joy. Block out pain and discomfort, and you will block out happiness and satisfaction. Try and block out rejection, and you will block ever being able to deeply love someone. There is no way to filter.’
I would hear Brene Brown’s TED Talk once more in one of my senior classes. My Professor Mrs. Weiss had also seen it and thought it was important to share with the class. As we watched I held back tears as I identified with a lot of what Brene was saying. As I examined the room I could feel the tension. I wasn't the only one taking a personal inventory at that moment. In showing us this video our professor was asking 15 type A, control freak, Nutrition students to exam their habits and then ask themselves, why? Not only why, but to be vulnerable about it. I don’t think many of us wanted to think about that especially with our peers all around us. Vulnerability wasn't exactly promoted in college. In fact the exact opposite was. Didn’t you know we are all supposed to be perfect and get all A’s, duh?
After watching the Ted Talk, now for the second time, I immediately began to go back and think of the ways in which I had blocked myself from feeling vulnerable, and the memories came rushing in. I could back into childhood, but we’ll just stick with the college years here.
During my freshman year of college, I had a lot of things going on personally, plus I wasn't doing too hot in school and dealing with failure at that time was not my strong suit. I was literally was unable to cope with everything that was going on which lead to me doing some veeeeerrrryyyyy stupid things. At one point I had popped prescription pain pills and was drinking just to not feel- anything. That is literally what I said to myself, out loud, “I don’t want to feel anything”. I didn’t know how to communicate what was going on. It was like this part of my brain didn't know how to function, so I kept it all to myself. After several other uncharacteristic things happened I immediately knew I needed to talk to someone, and fast. Just because I knew I needed help to sort things out, did not mean I was ready to confide in anyone who I would see every day. So, I went to therapy, for like two sessions, and told no one. My parents don’t even know unless they just read the same sentence you just did.
Remember this was in 2012 and I was 17. During my two sessions, I hardly spoke a word. By the time I got to therapy my initial moment of panic that made me feel I needed to talk to someone was over, so now I just felt stupid and extremely dramatic. During one session the therapist said the word “emotional” and I kind of scoffed and rolled my eyes.
(Now the therapist was not like the cliche kind you would picture in movie. She was like a toned down version of Madea. She just told the truth, straight up.)
“Why did you do that”? (referring to my eye roll)
“Roll your eyes when I said emotional”?
“Because I don’t want to be known as emotional”?
“What do you mean? Who on Earth wants to be emotional”?
“Chantel. What does the word emotional mean to you”?
“I’m not sure, but it’s bad.”
“Girl. Emotional just means showing e m o t i o n. Any emotion. It is not bad.”
At the end of the session I still didn’t believe her, but I left with this feeling like she could see into my soul. She would point out things and get all in my business (you know, just doing her job) and I did not like it. Later that night I was driving around with friends and the whole “what does emotional mean?” thing was still bothering me, so I asked my friends.
“Hey you guys, if I said someone was emotional wouldn’t you think that was bad”?
Friends: “uh, no- they're just showing their emotions”
I sat in the back seat and realized I was missing something and the therapist was right. I skipped my third session to go pet puppies at an animal shelter. I didn’t go back until five years later.
I was talking to a guy, now for the second time, and things were going fine. A few weeks in we were discussing something, and right now I have no recollection of what is was, so I’m guessing it wasn’t important. We weren’t arguing, but I do remember it being a serious conversation. I was in the middle of telling him something when he suddenly half shouted in response “Yeah! Just like the wall you like to keep between us!” -Ouch. I’m not going to lie when he said that it hurt. At this point, I had realized I had some issues with being the most open person, but dang, I thought I was doing good. Apparently not. Needless to say, that didn’t last.
This is what I consider my 180 moment, although I wouldn’t realize it until months later. It was one night in December and my roommate/best friend had just graduated so we threw a huge party!! When it was over another friend of mine said she wanted to talk to me. Little did I know that we would have the biggest argument of our relationship to date and that it would forever change me. Here are the highlights:
She wanted to discuss our friendship. My part in our friendship...
She brought up how there were times during our friendship where she felt my actions and words were not always supportive and sometimes hurtful. Not that I would say anything intentioanlly, but small things that over time, I guess, built up.
She pointed out how she would avoid discussing certain topics with me because of how she thought I would make her feel.
Finally, she mentioned how people can be associated with certain words or how they make you feel, and the words and feelings she associated with me- I did not like.
All I could do was sit on my bed and cry and not weepy tears, but in anger. I could not believe what I was hearing. How could I even consider this person my friend if this was the way they really felt about me. It wasn’t until months later that I realized the conversation we had that night was a conversation only a true friend would have with you. The kind that at first may hurt your feelings, but in the end is meant to help you. Not everyone has the courage to have those tough conversations, but I really do thank God that for that night because of what came after.
I started to realize that trying to filter what you feel absolutely does not work and the results of trying to will leave you hardened. It doesn’t matter how much you try to organize and orchestrate your life people are going to start to see what is really going on underneath because you’ll show it to them. Through your speech, actions, anything really, and you won’t even know you are doing it. There is nothing amazing about seeming bulletproof because it just makes you unrelateable and inhuman.
You may be wondering “well why didn’t she call this post vulnerability”? I titled it “why I overshare” as a sort of precedent for the future. I want to continue to work on being open and not worry that I'm still not great at it, and yes it makes me very uncomfortable. Like, pass out and cry uncomfortable. I want to push past that discomfort and see what is on the other side. I want to share the important, funny, hard, and good times with those I care about. In the end, I want others to see me and think, well dang if Chantel can do it, I sure can lol.