The Things That Go Unnoticed

A therapist recently told me that I exhibit a very high level of self-awareness. That even though I might not be able to properly process certain emotions or understand my situation, I’m always very cognizant of the feelings I’m experiencing and can deduce whether or not I think they’re ok. Unfortunately, I lack the whole being-able-to-deal-with-crap portion of my brain that makes it easier to handle this stuff. I’m like a high-functioning alcoholic – I can take on a lot of really crappy stuff and continue to go about life in a relatively normal fashion.

Until the one day came when I couldn’t anymore.

While I believe that I’m very aware of certain individual traits and responses, I also feel as though I’m quite blind to a lot of my personal idiosyncrasies. I think we all are, really. Sometimes you just can’t see certain behaviours, reactions, or changes in yourself until someone stops you in your tracks and tells you. Even then it can be hard to believe them. In the past week I’ve had a number of different people point out things to me that I would have never noticed on my own. Some are new changes, others are ingrained behaviours. A month ago I would have glossed over their observations, taken another drink from my bottle of crap, and carried on. Now it’s not that easy.

Trusting Others to Trust Myself

The following are five interesting things that I learned about myself this week. Had no one told me, I might never have noticed.

1) I don’t have a clue how to relax.

I don’t think this has always been the case, but right now I suck at relaxing. Even after scheduling an entire day of sunbathing at the beach, turning off my cell phone, and slathering on the sunscreen, I couldn’t just let go. Every five seconds I’d fidget – lay down, sit up, roll over, search around for a pretty stone, cover said stone in sand, panic when stone goes missing in sand – over, and over. Not only did this drive my beachmate nuts, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help with my anxiety levels. The lesson here? I need to learn to stop. Whether it’s through mediation or yoga or something, I need to just chill out.

2) I’ve stopped looking down.

I’ve always, always found it hard to look people in the eyes when I’m having a conversation with them. I have no idea why – again, thanks to my high-functioning level of screwed-upness, I knew I did it, but didn’t really understand why. Self-confidence probably, but at this point it doesn’t really matter. Two people told me this week that they’ve noticed I don’t look down nearly as much when I’m engaged in conversation. And while it’s not a monumental achievement, it’s still a pretty big step forward. Sometimes it’s the smallest victories that mean the most.

3) I don’t need to be a hero.

Sometimes you just can’t keep pretending that things are ok. It’s just not possible. Constantly telling myself to “suck it up princess”, and move on with things doesn’t make anything better. Thank you to the numerous people who have told me that it’s ok to feel like a bag of shit. That any normal, sane person would feel the same way I feel based on the circumstances. While it doesn’t make me feel much better, it does make it easier to accept.

4) That I’ve changed.

Again, two people told me this last week. Neither were sure what it was, they just felt that something inside me had snapped. I’m not nearly as uptight or easily agitated. Granted, I’m exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally – I’m empty. But I’m also a little less standoffish. I’ve asked people for help, and more importantly, I’ve let them help me. I’ve given up control.

5) That I look like a model.

While this opinion may have been formed under the influence of alcohol, it was still a nice compliment intended to make me feel better. And while I’m pretty sure I looked more like a train wreck than a movie star during that moment, it was nice to hear. Why we all insist on questioning compliments is beyond me. The best thing to do is just shut up and enjoy the moment.

To the people who took the time to point these things out to me, thank you. Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to help you see the real you.