I’m so transparent. I hate it. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a total virtual body scan and everyone I talk to can see right through me. I don’t like that feeling. I hate feeling vulnerable. Often a person will ask me a point blank question and I’ll say no when the answer is really yes. Or vice-versa. And I can feel my face turning red or I begin to sweat. Or my eyes water.
I try hard to be cordial, polite, friendly to most people, and professionally courteous to those I work with. I try to make the best of relationships I have at work, in Church and in our neighborhood.
But when it comes to getting close or personal or confiding in others, I steer clear. In fact when things get too intruding, I feel myself pulling back. I recede. I change the subject or change friends.
The friendships and relationships I have are pretty superficial. I am comfortable with superficial. Mostly. My friend Becky and I talk every single day at work. We text each other and call once in a while. But I have a hard time telling her really personal things. And yet she probably knows me better than most people, based solely on the number of years we’ve worked together and had lunch together for the past 12 years. I know I could call her for anything. And I hope she knows the same. But I still hold back.
[Sometimes when I feel us getting too close, I subconsciously sabotage our friendship so I won’t get hurt. Does that make any sense at all? I know it doesn’t but I know I do it.]
I’m very close to my two daughters, Tracy and Mikelle, but I have a hard time telling either one of them extremely personal things. I have five sisters and I cannot tell any of them anything that is deep inside me — my fears, my regrets, the things that hurt me most. I would die if they knew some things about me.
I’ve always felt if anyone really knew me — really knew who I am or what I’m about, they would walk away. If I were to expose my biggest flaws and my greatest sins and my real feelings, they would be so repulsed they’d not want to know me.
Most of me knows this is ridiculous. Most of me knows these are old tapes playing. Most of me knows these are fears and nightmares from childhood. Most of me realizes that these are irrational and self-defeating thoughts. Much of me knows I’m not ever going to take the chance of finding that out for sure.
I won’t expose myself to that kind of scrutiny and judgement. I will go to my grave knowing things I will never share.
I had a visiting teaching partner I really connected with for several years. We shared a lot. I told her things I haven’t told anyone else. I loved being with her. I loved that we understood each other and trusted and leaned on each other. And I’ve had to let go of that friendship because it got too peronal. I was uncomfortable with her knowing ugly things about me. I was embarrassed and full of shame.
I miss her.
The other day Mikelle asked me if I had any friends. She said, who are you closest to? And it hurt. Oh, I made something up to satisfy her curiosity, but it hurt to acknowledge to myself I don’t want to have a really close friend.
I see others go shopping with each other, or going to lunch. I have two sisters who go on wonderful trips with each other. I see my daughters with so many friends, really close friends. I know people who paint their nails together. I know people who have sleepovers. Seriously, sleepovers?
But I hold that part back. I stuff all those feelings. I cry alone.
And I paste on a smile and make the best of it. So the next time you see me, I’ll be happy, probably funny. I’ll deny I ever thought these thoughts. I’ll say it was just a thing I was going through that particular day.
It was nothing. It meant nothing.