I have been attempting to write and journal without whitewashing the truth. This is hard for me.
I seem to not be able to write things that may cause people to judge another person. Even if that person’s behavior was deplorable. I hide my own truth for fear of causing THEM discomfort or embarrassment. A deep childhood wound, I am sure.
I can understand that it is not necessary to “air your laundry” on public forums. There are things that should be kept private and between those that the issues are between. However, I do not seem to be able to write about these things in my personal journals without making excuses for others and diminishing the harm that was done to me.
It is as though there is a need to not expose the level of harm done to me. If I admit it, admit that I am not okay. Was never okay. Never did “just get over it” then … then what?
I have to admit that I have been pretending my whole life. It is much deeper than that, I know. There are reasons, good and valid reasons.
I am Gen X. Raised in a time when we didn’t have terms such as neuro atypical. There was only the way you were supposed to act, and punishment, rejection, and scorn if you did not act correctly. So, you learned to mask and ACT to protect yourself from pain, both physical and mental.
I am happy that the world is learning to acknowledge and accept that we are not all wired the same. Autism and its beautiful spectrum of diversity is being explored and is allowing so many people the freedom to just be themselves without the need to “act” normal. ADHD and how it affects women differently than men is also being talked about. People with DID are on social media sharing knowledge about what it really is and how they deal with it. PTSD and the effects of living with trauma are also being discussed. So much beautiful truth, openly and honestly discussed. It makes me happy. It has given words and reasons for so much that I couldn’t explain as a child, a teen and even an adult.
So many behaviors and thoughts that I was taught to hide, to mask, to pretend were not there, all these things that I was taught was just me being undisciplined, weird, and even demon possessed, are now being revealed as symptoms of neuro atypical brain functions. Things I learned to push down, deep down, ignore, hush, tame, so I could just … act … normal …
I sit here with my head in my hands trying to make sense of it all. My whole life is being played over with the knowledge of these behaviors and the why behind them. I was not undisciplined and “acting weird”, I was stimming (autism). I was not ignoring or not paying attention, there was just so much going on internally it was VERY hard to stay focused (ADHD, OSDID, CPTSD). I was not shy, I was afraid (PTSD). I was not refusing to talk to solve a conflict or ignoring people, I was dissociating (OSDID, CPTSD)
Damn… just damn …
All these things, I always saw as flaws within myself, flaws that I should be able to overcome to just “get over”. Only I never did get over any of it. I just learned how to mask with perfection. I learned how to stim without being noticed, how to make polite acceptable excuses to cover up ADHD brain and dissociating. I learned how to put on the perfect face outward while inside was a tumult of fear, confusion and despair. I became an introvert, because the less time I spent with others the less chance they would notice. I learned how to switch in unnoticeable ways, the quiet and introverted persona helps with this. I learned how to just fade into the background, to not cause too much attention to myself.
To this day, people who I consider close friends and family, they don’t know. But, I mean, why would they? I never let them see … ME.
So much to unpack. Part of me says to just leave it alone. What good will it do? You have survived this long, why go and mess with the system that allowed us to? Why would you want to expose all these things and leave yourself open to all the rejection and scorn that you were protecting yourself from as a child?
I guess the reason is because I am tired. It is exhausting living up to everyone else’s expectations. Because I feel like an imposter, people always say what an “authentic” and “real” person I am and here I am NOT REALLY being authentic. Hiding. Staying small to keep others comfortable. I feel like it is time to just own it. Own all of what I am and have become. Attempt to take off the masks I have so meticulously created, if that is even possible.
I truly do not know how to manage the task of unmasking, so I begin here, just writing about it, owning it.
I have also began allowing myself to stim outwardly. Wiggly fingers, feet and toes instead of the less or not noticeable muscle clenching, cheek chewing and teeth chomping. Such a little thing it would seem, but there is a lot to unpack there.
Anyways, I guess I am what life has made me, and life is weird, stupid, scary, beautiful, lovely, and unfathomable.