On Coping Mechanisms
I make fun of myself.
Before anyone else has the chance to, when the time for that kind of joke is inappropriate, or when someone tries to, first. I'll always drop the last burn.
Most of the time it's funny. Sometimes, it draws attention to something that could've been left unnoticed, but a lot of the time it just leaves me feeling kind of sad.
This is my coping mechanism. I tell everyone that I am a total disaster, that I have the memory of a goldfish cracker (which is worse than the living fish because, well, it's very bad), and that I feel so sorry for whoever wants to take me to the altar. But the truth is, though I may feel all of those things, they aren't always true. At the very least, they aren't my truth.
Before you roll your eyes and picture me lighting my dried sage to smoke your soul, let me explain. A lot of the time, coping mechanisms are used to hide what's really going on. It doesn't mean that they are wholly wrong or entirely good, it just means that they are being used to deter attention away from what really needs to be focused on.
For some, it may be the inability to ask for help (hi, me). For others, it could be varying feelings of inadequacy, confusion... you name it.
When I think of mine, I worry that it's been going on for far too long that I can't drop the facade. That my mask is too good that were I to remove it, I wouldn't be recognized. It's like a clown without it's nose -- just a person wearing clothes and shoes that don't fit.
This is where being kind to yourself comes in. Would it be all that bad to open up to a friend and ask for support? Would it really be the end of the world if you cried or needed a day for yourself and your feels? Would you die if you allowed yourself to simply be human?
It seems ridiculous. Outrageous even. But it's these thoughts that, though irrational, force some of us into our shell or behind masks that have been so well crafted and preserved that not a thing in the world could shatter them. The fear of dabbling into the unknown is sometimes more frightening than the fear of staying comfortable, forever.
But it's no way to live. No honest way, at least. We are human. We cry and laugh and make bad choices. We feel embarrassment, resentment, and love. We are all over the place -- some experiencing these emotions in more intense ways than others. But that's all part of the deal. So why not face them head on? No matter how real or raw or uncomfortable as they may be. Because you can avoid, trust me, I am a seasoned expert. But you can't escape.
Take that step. Face your shit. You will not be the first person to cry or to yell or to retreat into silence. Be human. Be vulnerable. It's the truest way to experience life.