I really want to write about this because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. And writing things out helps.
I’ve had a huge hang-up about writing and posting stuff online lately. It’s silly and not really logical, but has wormed its way into my brain and comes out to play whenever I feel like sharing anything.
That no one is listening.
We've all had posts and pics that struggles to get notes or likes or comments. And there's this crushing feeling of I must not be that good/interesting. We watch as others get tons of 'reactions' for similar posts and wonder why ours falls short. Is there anyone out there? Surely if there were more people following us, we'd get reactions, right? So maybe we feel we need to up our game and get more followers and fans. We do stupid things, sometimes, or brilliant things, hoping to be seen.
And I feel a lot of this has to do with how seen you feel in your daily, non-online life. I read somewhere that loneliness has less to do with actually being alone and more with not feeling understood. We can be surrounded by people and still feel alone if our experience of life remains strictly inside us. And it can be hard to make these connections, especially if you’re dealing with something like, I don’t know, an anxiety disorder that has you scared to go outside your comfort zone. I often feel like I’m bothering people if I reach out on bad days - aren’t my friends sick of my inability to remember things, or speak up, or those deep days of dark skies and overwhelming depression that presses me into the ground and steals the breath from my lungs?
This leaks out into any expression of my internal self. I’m constantly worried I’m bothering, boring, or annoying people. Because I have - God knows it can’t be easy being friends with me, and I’m constantly amazed people actually enjoy my company. I went from living with a dysfunctional family with unconditional love to being without my best friend in the world (a hole that is still trying to heal, a year and a half later) and hugging people a lot less than I used to.
My friends have been pretty awesome, though, inviting me over after work so I’m not alone to stew in my thoughts. I’ve been better about reaching out when things are Bad, too.
But I still feel like there’s no point in posting anything - status updates included - because no one is listening.
I took a break from art, and being online all the time. I was at a pretty good point in my art career - I was able to fully support myself with what I made from it for several years - but left it behind when my heart was fractured and holding myself together was all I had energy for.
This doesn’t mean there’s a lack of things to say. We all have amazing stories unfolding every day, with each step we take. It’s all about how we see the world and what our hearts want to share. I know I’ve come a far way and would love to help others get through that rough patch. I want to do motivational speaking and get back to publishing ‘zines and doing videos. But I’m terrified no one is there and I’ll end up embarrassing myself by thinking people are.
This is totally flawed thinking - and I know that. When I posted my last video, people were excited and ready for the next one. When I post on Instagram, I get some engagement. So I know that people are listening.
What this all is is this: the result of anxiety and depression in my brain.
Sometimes, we craft narratives for ourselves that have more to do with our own flawed perceptions rather than what is really happening. All those hopes and dreams deep within ourselves tainted by less-than-stellar interactions and relationships. I know I’m more than a bit crazy, reinforced by years of cutting remarks and the rage of the unmedicated. I’ve heard and internalized all that, and it’s super, super hard to break free of it. But I’m trying. And part of that is writing this, because I’m terrified to do so….so I should probably do it.
Anyway, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. And I wanna say - let’s speak up anyway.
Speak up, be heard, and share your story. I’d rather do that to an audience of zero than keep it all inside and miss the opportunity to help even one person be braver, stronger, and more creative.
I'll be around writing more these days, as I'll be guest posting somewhere very, very awesome starting this week. I've been doing things that terrify me, and I'm actually happy to be doing that. There's joy in that space, when you get past all the noise in your head.