Things I am Afraid to Tell You - I'm Bandwagon Jumping Again

Things I am Afraid to Tell You

So here’s the deal.  I didn’t get invited to the party but I am crashing it anyway.  And me being me, well, it’s perfectly understandable that I am fashionably late.  To set the stage, a girl named Jess wrote a poignant post entitled ‘Things I am Afraid to Tell You’ and another girl named Ez seized upon the idea of keeping things real and turned it into a party of sorts – a virtual siren song of authenticity – and invited a bunch of bloggers to raise their knickers and give us a peak at the great and secret show.  Go check them out.

Not a gussied up, overly edited, photoshopped life; not the immaculate digs cleaned with nothing more than baking soda and vinegar and tales of 2.2 perfectly behaved kiddos fueled by macrobioticorganicpaleo perfection that sleep 12 hours a night and never ever ever wail for candy in the checkout aisle.  No.  Not the pursuit of perfection.  The real deal.  Real life and the real concerns that we contend with as real people behind the rose colored curtain of a blog.  And I really dug it.  I loved seeing a more humble and human side of the people who I have been reading about for so long.

It is easy to assume that blogging is glamorous and that our lives, at least the parts we choose to share, are a perfect brand-worthy lifestyle.  As a long time blog reader, I am guilty of making those assumptions myself.  I am also guilty of being resentful of my perceptions.  Comparison is a bitch.

But I think it is only natural to put your best foot forward when you are willingly sharing pieces of yourself with the world.  Much like a first date or a job interview or seeing your gyno after a year.  You want your business neat and tidy.  You see, I never realized just how exposed bloggers feel until I started writing a blog.  My blog is still in swaddling clothes but there is nothing more terrifying than clicking that ‘publish’ button, especially when you have chosen to share something personal.  So it is only natural to edit.  And to question where the boundary lies between too much and too little personal information.

I strive to be as real as possible on Chez V – what you see is pretty much what you get from me in real life.  I am pretty transparent about the real deal as evidenced here, here, and here.  I share embarrassing stories about my bonkers family here and here.  However, I have been known to push my piles out of the way to make for a better picture.  When all hell is breaking loose, a spoonful of sugar makes reality go down a little easier.  But after reading a few of the other posts, I realized that I do hold a lot back.  Forgive me if I have portrayed myself as anything other than what I really am:  a hot mess with a hell of sense of humor and aspirations for a bigger life.  Who doesn’t?!  But I wouldn’t change a thing and perspective allows me to realize that my problems are luckily 1st world problems and not life-threatening.  But they are real problems, nevertheless.
This morning I discovered that Meg over at Mimi + Meg has kept the party rolling this week by inviting even more bloggers to join the ‘Things I am Afraid to Tell You’ movement.  I still wasn’t invited but who cares.  I am coming stag.  Without further ado, here are some things that I am actually afraid to tell anyone:

I am lonely – I find it increasingly hard to nurture real friendships as I get older.  I moved away from a tight knit group of friends and co-workers in Atlanta 9 years ago, and I have yet to find the same kind of I-love-and-accept-you-warts-and-all friendships that I left behind.  We are all still dear, dear friends but it isn’t the same when they are not right down the street.  I am still very close with my college girlfriends and even high school girlfriends as well but time and distance make it hard to keep those connections immediate. I have one dear friend now that is close by.  One.  How sad is that?!    In spite of my gregarious ways, I have become socially awkward and anxious in my 30’s.   I am not really one for chatting up the moms at preschool pick up either because I am an abysmal small talker.  So, yeah, I get lonely.

I have never failed but I have failed to try – an occupational hazard of a perfectionist is the crippling fear of failure. I have failed to go after some things that I really wanted because of my intense fear of failing.  Despite my professional training as a continuous improvement guru, which celebrates failure as an opportunity to learn, I have trouble applying this to my personal life.  The things that I do try, I tend to do them 120% to the highest level achievement that I can reach.  I wear my husband out.  2012 needs to be the year of taking more risks and failing gloriously forward.  The times that I have learned the most or made significant achievements have come on the heals of a plan gone wrong.  And yet I am still so afraid to fail.  And I am the antithesis of perfect.

I pull my hair out – literally.  By far, this is my most embarrassing admission.  I began to pluck out my eyelashes when I was young (4th grade) after my parent’s divorce as a cry for attention and to exercise control.  The habit quickly formed and became a soothing mechanism over which, ironically, I have no control.  I was forced to wear false eyelashes in the mid 90’s, way before they were in vogue.  Some time ago, I migrated from my eyelashes to my eyebrows.  Without makeup I resemble an albino and with penciled in eyebrows tend to look like a schizophrenic old lady after a particularly bad day of mindless plucking.  And now I have started on my hair.  Not good.

I have always struggled with my weight – I was a chubby kid and I am a chubby adult.  There were a few blissful years of adolescent skinniness when the stars and puberty aligned and of course the heartbreak episodes when I couldn’t pick myself up off the floor let alone eat food.  Heartbreak does wonders for your waistline.    And there was 15 minutes back in May 2005 when I looked the best I ever have as I married mr. V.  But for the most part, I have to go hungry if I want to stay thin.  If I smell carbohydrates, I gain 7 pounds.  Remember this episode?  I am not condoning or making light of eating disorders, I am simply being honest about my body.

I am riddled with anxiety – as mom says, ‘we are an anxious people.’  Control is an issue with me.  I am very particular about certain things being a certain way while other things can fall by the wayside, like my piles.  When I had my daughter, I lost my marbles for a bit because I felt like I no longer had control over anything.  I obsessively filled two of my moleskins with every feeding, bodily function, and sleep cycle for the first two years of her life.  I sort of hate to fly because I have no control over the outcome.  I have minor panic attacks in elevators.  I think about death and dying and the end of the world a few times a day.  I have recurring anxiety dreams that largely consist of impending doom-like scenarios in which I am in a large body of water with a huge presence looming behind me or a barbarian horde is invading or having a test at school for which I am not prepared nor have I even attended class all semester or the most recurring of all which is the awful scenario where I have to pee really bad but the toilet is overflowing with urine.  I never sit on a toilet seat and I have a thing about peeing in public and don’t even get me started on those assholes who poop in public…Yes, I am probably a good candidate for medication but I hate taking pills…

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – the irony here is that I am turning 40 this year and I still haven’t found my calling.  I have so many interests.  I love to master things for the sake of learning so I tend to pick up many, many hobbies.  I research and read exhaustively, at times to the point of paralysis.  I tend to hyper focus.  I am a quick learner so I tend to do well at most things as long as I think I can succeed (see the first second item).  I thought that I would have things pretty well figured out career-wise by the time I hit 40 but spending some time at home to be mom has put a little hitch in my giddy up.  I shared with you here that I want to pursue my creative passions as a career but circumstances are dictating that I will likely have to return to the real rat race pronto.

I worry about money a lot – I come from a humble background and sadly have always wished for more as I said here.  In college I couldn’t rub two nickels together.  In my single days in Atlanta, there were nights when I couldn’t afford to eat and some weeks when my direct deposit paycheck still didn’t cover the negative balance in my bank account.  My husband taught me how to be more cautious with my money, to not live beyond my means, and save for a rainy day.  We only buy things when we can pay for them outright which can be frustrating at times.  I wish I lived in a nicer house with everything finished, unlike our myriad of unfinished projects.  But I realize that this is just a superficial keeping-up-with-the-jones impulse.  I have tremendous guilt now that I am not contributing to the household income and I worry constantly that we will not have enough money.  I need to go back to work.

I could sort of go on and on but I think that is enough over sharing for one day.  Eeeeeep as I push ‘publish.’

kisses, mrs. V


Wendy said...

Wow! What an amazing post. You, Nickell, truly are amazing. I'm intensely private, so it is refreshing to see people being real and honest and flawed. I love you to pieces!

Kelly Horan said...

Bravery is beautiful and none of us are without fear. Bravo for putting it out there...I had a long talk with a political candidate a few years ago...he said that he was the most "REAL" candidate on the ballot simply because he was on FB. I countered...saying that our digital selves is the image we most control...I can untag myself in unflattering pictures, delete posts and unfriend people all over the place...it;s only when we accept ourselves warts and all that we open the door for others to do so.

I share may of the things you are afraid to tell people. I'm lonely and finding friends as an adult is HARD...nobody prepares you for foraging relationship with people...it's work...and you make mistakes that sometimes result in heartbreak and sometimes result in just months and months of wasted time. Hopefully you learn something about you or them...but it doesn't make it less lonely for those of us wholove to share our life and our love with someone else.

I am so proud of you for putting this blog out and doing the things that you do. Your adventurous "we-can-do-it" spirit is absolutely infectious...and I want you to know that I see that when I look at you or think about you way before I see anything like piles or half done projects.


Can't wait to see you soon.

Elizabeth Herr said...

Hey, Emily. I love reading your blog, both because you've got a great eye and because you're an excellent writer. I also love your coming out as a worrier, a still-trying-to-pick-a-career-er, and as a lonely. I'm all those things, too, (and a hair plucker! represent!) but when I started telling the truth about it, wide and far, it really got better.

There's something about having problems PLUS shame at having problems that just overwhelms. It's brave to say you struggle, but even more than that it's generous - it widens the circle of people who know that we all struggle. I love the line "never compare your insides to anyone else's outsides." That's my wish for you and the rest of us. Thanks for doing good fun funny work here, and for taking that eeeepy breath and hitting publish.

mrs. V | Chez V said...

Thank you ladies for your kind words. Kelly meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth meet Kelly. You ladies are liked minded and I didn't realize it until now. You would dig one another and be friends, me thinks.

my favorite and my best- MFAMB to you said...

yes yes and MORE yes!

i can relate to every single one of these truths. except the hair pulling thing. but i think that is just a comforting mechanism. and OCD that once you treat your anxiety will probably fall by the wayside.

and you were right, i should have come here a long time ago.
thanks for sharing your guts.

p.s. i am in atlanta and have no friends either. if you move back, you got me girl.

Three Sisterz said...

You are brave for posting and putting it all out there! Something I don't seem to be able to do. You are one of the coolest girls out there and I always admired you for being so easy to be around and FUN FUN FUN! That being said, thanks for keeping it real and sharing the not-so-glamorous stuff.

You rock!


Cindy * GoodHaus Design said...

Followed you here from MFAMB. Thanks for being real. I can related to much of what you wrote.

mrs. V | Chez V said...

Court - you are pretty damn cool yourself.

MFAMB - thanks for coming over, finally. done and done if I move back. Or even if I don't.

Cindy - thanks for coming over as well. I think a lot of people probably relate but don't feel comfortable talking about fears and insecurities.

Stephanie Hehemann-Smith said...


I am right there with you. It sounds like we have a lot in common. I have no idea what I want to do with my life or what I want to be when I grow up. I find something that interest me for two seconds and then I move on. I am never happy. I am a quitter. I feel like everyone is doing this bette or faster than me, or people are happier that me, have a bigger house, money, or kids. I can make friends easy but I can keep them. They do something in their life I do not like and I move on and get a new friend. Life is not fair and I have not learned how to deal with that yet. I am working on it. See you are not alone.