“Don’t not cry. Cry. But cry in front of everybody.”
~ Marina Abramović
I was not sure whether I was going to write this blog post but I decided that I would, especially after seeing the above quotation. I created this blog for my happiness project, but also to write more, and write about how I am feeling. At the moment, I am feeling pretty low, but is that a reason not to write? Instead of keeping everything in, this week revolved around getting everything out of my system. Writing everything down.
I have always been a pretty insecure person, which makes it hard for me to be myself around people. I always tried to be the person that I thought the people I was with wanted to hang out with. Want someone that is spontaneous? I’ll try and fake it. Want someone fun? Want someone serious? With some effort, I can be that for them. However, the past few months I have been thinking about who I would be if I did not try to conform to everyone’s wishes. The start of my Happiness Project in August was a big help there – the entire month, I did things that made me feel good. Things that I wanted to do, not things that I felt like I should do. As a result, by the end of the month I felt pretty good. I have tried to keep this up, and overall, it has been going pretty well. However, when I feel sad, this is still something I do not really share with people, apart from with my parents and sister. When I am emotional, people are not allowed to hug or touch me and I just want to go to my room and be alone. At the end of this week I broke down and it felt like something inside me had broken. For some reason, I could not keep it in anymore. I tried not to cry, tried to keep it to myself until I would be in the safety of my room again.
It did not work. I let my roommate hug me and comfort me, I cried as I talked to my friends. I did not like it at all – it felt so embarrassing. I was in public, I was supposed to keep it together. Right? Then, I came across a TED article written by Helen Walters: “Marina Abramović on humor, vulnerability and failure.” The article really resonated with me, especially because of how I was feeling. I felt emotional and vulnerable, and for some reason I associated that with something bad. You are not supposed to show those emotions in public, you are only allowed to share the good. Right…? Abramović sees this differently – for her, vulnerability is something she needs to remember she is alive. She says: “People like to create the best image of themselves and then hide the shit, but my whole idea is to expose everything. Human beings have to be honest about themselves and others. It’s okay that we’re not perfect. It’s okay that we all have problems. It’s okay to cry, to show emotions.”
I thought about this for a while and realised the truth behind those words. Why would I hide my feelings? If I am going to try to be myself, then it would have to be the good, the bad and the ugly. Yesterday, my friends got to see the bad (or rather, the sad). They told me not to be embarrassed and that it was good to let it all out rather than bottle everything up. I guess they were right.
Today I am still not feeling my best, but I am slowly getting there. And with my November goals in mind, I used this week to write down things that are bothering me. So on Monday, I opened a document and wrote eight thousand words about a past relationship, one from two years ago. Eight thousand words. In one day. I started writing about my experience in England, but I have not been able to finish that yet. Yesterday, I wrote about a recent painful experience. Writing these things down is really hard, but at the same time there was something good about it: last week I decided to adjust my #nanowrimo goal to 40.000 words because I was not going to be able to reach 50.000 anymore (I do not write on just one story, I count everything that I write this month to take the pressure off a bit). And today? Today I only need another 1500 words before I reach 50.000. It’s so crazy – the previous years I stopped #nanowrimo after a few days, and this year I am not only still in the running, but am also going to reach the goal. An adjusted goal because it is not a novel, but it’s 50.000 words nonetheless. I think that is something to be proud of. It was a big help for me that a friend of mine did it as well (and she is right on track, too) – she pushed me to keep going. That again shows that it is good to share things with the people around you, instead of keeping everything in or to yourself.
In the past month, I opened myself up completely to someone I have feelings for, but in the end it backfired. I had forgotten how much something like that can hurt. I am still sad about it, but I am also starting to realise something. I kept wishing that all of it had not happened – but life does not work that way. It is exactly these experiences that you learn from and grow from. In previous relationships and sometimes even friendships, I was afraid to be myself. Although this time it did not turn out how I wanted to, I was completely myself for a change. Rejection hurts – but the pain is not necessarily a bad thing. Something happened that made me able to start being myself around people, and that is such a big step into the right direction for me. I am going to continue to be myself, do what I want and do what makes me happy. I am going to be vulnerable and at times, it is going to go wrong. And the pain? The pain will just be a reminder that I am alive.