5.03.2012

Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

Looking back on this week's posts so far, things are getting kinda personal around here! Hope that's okay, and you're not going through vintage withdrawal. :) Today isn't going to be much different, as I've signed up to participate in a little blogland initiative called "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You."

Late last week, I caught the tail-end of a Twitter conversation between Ez, Erin and Nichole, who were discussing a blog post by Jess of Makeunder My Life. In it, she had courageously shared a lot of the less-than-glamorous things about herself (that we all have), in an attempt to be more real with her readers and break through that wall of "perfection" I think many bloggers feel is necessary to put up. I don't know if it's to look like more of an authority on whatever it is we're blogging about, or because it's easy to conjure up a world online that's different from our reality. But I do know this: The blogs I go back to over and over are the ones that aren't trying to prove something; they're just genuinely there to let people into their lives and inspire them.

But more on that later.

Ez decided to take this idea a step further and invited other bloggers to write a post today in the spirit of Jess's, where we can air dirty laundry, get things off our chest, even share personal struggles. And my hope in doing this goes hand in hand with my hope for everyone who reads the little part of the blogosphere I've carved out for myself: That you not be afraid to be you.

So, without further ado...!

Thanks to Ez for designing these buttons!

I am not a "people person." I'm ridiculously shy when put in a room where I don't know anyone, mostly because I'm very insecure. I will just sit there, or stand there, silent as the grave unless someone strikes up a conversation with me. So if we've been in a room of people together and you've seen me do this, don't take it personal, and don't think I'm stuck up (see next bullet); just come save me. :)

Over the years, through the good friends I've miraculously managed to make, I've learned that my silence is in fact intimidating to others, and almost all my friends said that when they first met me, they were afraid to talk to me because I seemed so "sure of myself." Ironic, no?

I've traced my insecurity back to two specific incidents, both of which happened when I was young. The first was in kindergarten in ballet class, when a girl walked up to me and said, "You're fat." (Thanks.) The second was in grade school, when I was given the name "Bubble Butt Beth." I mean, I can appreciate good alliteration, but come on.

Ninety percent of the time, I am happy to be the tall, curvy lady that I am (something I came to terms with and even started loving about myself in college), but those two incidents still haunt me the other 10 percent.

Semi-related: I am quick to forgive (or so I like to think), but very slow to forget.

In another twist of irony, I am fairly quick to judge people, but I desperately don't want to be this way.

I would really love to do outfit posts, because I love getting dressed; it's like painting a canvas and you get to be as creative as you want. But that stinking 10 percent (see three notes above this) keeps me from wanting to see myself on the blog more than I already am (which is hardly ever). I'm also worried people will think I'm stuck on myself.

I have road rage. And it's getting worse as I get older. Sorry if you've ever driven in a car with me.

I tend to be OCD about certain things, and have mini panic attacks if someone tries to mess with the system I've carefully curated. This includes making macaroni and cheese from the box, going to estate sales and suggesting a different route to me while we're driving. :)

I also have mini panic attacks if I feel physically constrained and can't move. Or maybe that's mini claustrophobia.

If you want me to stop following you on Twitter, just talk about how much email you currently have in your inbox and how you dread having to tackle it all. I don't know why bloggers tweet about this...do you really need to feel that important? (Sorry...there goes that judgmental side of me again.)

This past Christmas Eve, while we were in Texas, our house was burglarized. I didn't blog about it, or really tell very many people, because I just wanted to forget it ever happened. I didn't care about losing material things that are replaceable (except my great-aunt's pearls that I wore when I got married); I cared about walking into this place I had dubbed "home" and imagining complete strangers rummaging through every drawer, putting their hands on things I hold dear, making me feel completely unsafe. Those things are not replaceable. And even though we both decided we wanted to stay, because we love our neighborhood, I am now much more paranoid and jumpy when I'm home by myself. And when my husband goes out of town, I call and ask my mom if she'll come and stay over here, because otherwise I won't sleep at all. And I hate that the burglars did this to me. I hate that anyone feels that it's okay to do something like this.

Even though we are doing just fine, and even though we don't ever want to be mega-rich, I sometimes get jealous of people who have a lot of money. And if I'm ever around such people, I feel completely uncomfortable and out of place, because it's a lifestyle I cannot relate to.

Semi-related: I actually read a very small number of blogs now because I got sick of feeling like what I have, or who I am, isn't good enough, isn't perfect enough. If you read someone's blog and afterward feel bad about yourself, or that you're not creative, or not beautiful, or not rich enough, or you don't have enough blog fame or notoriety, then I beg you: Stop reading it. I hope I have never made any of you feel this way. If I have, please accept my sincere apologies.

I read something from a blogger once that said you shouldn't feel obligated to respond to every little email, tweet, or Facebook/blog/Instagram comment that your readers write, and I heartily disagree. True, you shouldn't feel obligated, but you should want to. You should appreciate your readers taking the time to let you know they actually care about what you have to say, and I think bloggers who don't do this are kinda self-absorbed. Even if you don't get around to responding for a couple days, still respond, have genuine interaction with your readers — who are also human beings, not just robots reading your words. If it weren't for them, you wouldn't have all those sponsors on your site, or that feature in the national magazine, or whatever else you use to measure your "success." Again, if I have ever done this to you, I sincerely apologize.

When I get upset, I start cleaning the apartment. So I guess it's good when it's messy...like right now.

When I get stressed out, I over-pluck my eyebrows. Weird, I know.

Because so many of my family members have died from cancer, I'm very paranoid about getting it myself. Heck, whenever something in my body seems off, I'm convinced it's something serious.

I am terrible at finishing things that I start. I love thinking of ideas for projects, and getting the supplies, and starting it, but I always stop just before it's finished, and then it sits there, unfinished, for months and months. Case in point: I recovered all but one of my dining room chairs; I currently have a some wall art sitting on the dining table that just needs to be glued together and then I can hang it, but it's been sitting there for weeks; I have four projects where I have the paint and the item that needs to be painted, but I just haven't done it; and I am awful at updating my online store, which is kind of necessary if you want to sell things online. My husband is kind enough to say it's because I'm an artist who is still trying to figure out her medium, but I sometimes think I'm just a quitter.

*Exhale*

I think that's enough therapy for today, ha. Not as bad as I thought it would be!

Be sure and hop over to Creature Comforts, where Ez has a list of links to those bloggers who wanted to share their posts with the world. I've already read a couple, and am feeling very inspired!

46 comments:

  1. Thank you for this! So nice to get to know you better.

    You're not a quitter - you've just finished the project in your mind and are ready to move onto more exciting things!

    I bet you get lots of creative people relating to that :)

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! That is a good way to look at it! :)

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  2. i feel like i know you better now...thank you for that....on a related note, when stressed, i cut my hair!! :-))) i love the book (although i'm having a hard time relating to the notion that one needs a trunk of petticoats & a different slip for every dress) :-) linda
    ps let's go blues!!

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    1. Hey Linda! That's too funny! Must be something with women and hair that de-stresses us, lol. I got a copy of the book myself and have only made it through the first chapter so far, but it is interesting! True, some stuff does have to be translated to today's world...but I wouldn't mind a trunk full of petticoats. :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing. I feel like if I choose to do this on my blog that I could copy and paste 95% of what you've written (I won't) and it would be true about me. Those feelings remaining after the break-in are painfully familiar. Time may lessen them, but I don't think they ever truly go away.

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    1. Thank you. I am so sorry you had to go through a break-in as well. I think it's true that those feelings won't ever go away (and will probably get a little worse once we have kids), but I hope to become a better person for it somehow. Thanks for your encouragement, and you should totally do this on your blog, too! I would love to read it! :)

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    2. I was actually so inspired by your post that I did!

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  4. I read VERY few blogs anymore, for the same reasons, but I wanted to let you know that yours is one that I still read every day. Also, my 8-year-old daughter trotted off to school today wearing a gold pendant necklace my sister won from you a few months ago. She loves it beyond all measure.

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    1. Oh, thank you! That means a lot...like really. And I'm so excited your daughter found a treasure amid all that thrifted craziness I stuffed in that jar! Spreading the vintage love...that's what it's all about, haha. :)

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  5. It's interesting to be able to relate to bloggers by their insecurities as well as the qualities they advertise on their blogs. I too am pretty quiet and reserved until I get to know people and have even been dubbed anti-social. Not a good quality in a Navy wife who moves all the time. I blame it on having the same group of friends since kindergarten and never having to make new friends until I went off to college. But I'm getting better. In fact, I got my first tattoo, a wildflower, to remind me to adapt and flower where ever I end up. Luckily most Navy wives are type-A personalities and I don't have to worry too much, but I do still have to work at it.

    Thank you for sharing your secrets.

    Meg
    http://megshandmadelife.blogspot.com

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    1. Hey Megan! I had to click on your Blogger profile because your little icon photo intrigued me, and you're so darn cute! (I also love the dress you're wearing). :) Thank you for sharing! I feel very similarly, as far as the whole "making friends" thing. I found my life-longs in college, and since then, it's difficult for me to make new friends because I already have ones that I love, that I've spent years forming bonds with, and the thought of starting over now that we're here and they're in other states is SO daunting. And I've just moved once. I can imagine it's a much more frequent struggle for you and anyone whose spouse serves in the military. So my hat's off to you, madam. Keep working, and I will, too. :)

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  6. That darn ballet girl.....her mama probably made her that way, no?

    Anywho -- you SHOULD do more dressing/wardrobing posts for the very REASON that you are insecure. There are so many {so many!} girls that have that same 10% of insecurity (or more!) and would love love love love love to see how you dress your tall frame and [lovely] bubble bum. yes?

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    1. Is it possible to love a semi-stranger so quickly? :) Thank you SO much for this comment. It brought a big smile (and lots of laughs) to my face! And you're right, you know. That insecurity should be the fuel I need to do outfit posts, especially if it will help other bubble bums. :)

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  7. Thank you for sharing all this! Two things I wholeheartedly relate to - stress cleaning and stress plucking!!!! I keep tweezers at my desk and work and I used to keep some in my car so I could pluck whenever! I was in NYC several years back with 2 friends who bickered the whole trip (they're twins). I went to meet a friend at her apartment but first stopped and spent WAY too much on tweezers in times square ($11 for cheapo, dollar store tweezers) and went straight to the mirror when I got to her apartment to pluck away. I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

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    1. Oh girl, we are just finding more and more similarities between us by the day, aren't we? :) Thank you for standing up (with your tweezers) and sharing. I as well am glad I'm not the only one. I'm also very grateful for eyebrow pencils. :)

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  8. I seriously think we may be long lost twins. I could have written pretty much this entire post word for word and blame it on the post-baby hormones, but I cried at a lot of them because it just feels good to know I'm not the only one who isn't perfect.

    I'm so sorry about the break-in. I have never ever liked to be alone and will make up stories in my head about who is in my house and what they're going to do to me. I can only IMAGINE what a mess I would be should someone actually come into my house. I don't understand people and I'm so sorry you feel they've taken something away from you. I hope that time will heal this for you.

    There is so much more I could write about our similarities, but I won't bore you. Thank you again for posting this.

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    1. Hey Ashleigh! Please! I wouldn't be bored at all hearing other ways we're similar. It's SO encouraging to know that I'm not alone in some things. And thank you for your sympathy on the break-in. I'm sorry that you are haunted by similar fears, and I pray you don't ever have to have them realized. We have certainly healed leaps and bounds since it happened, and I'm proud that we didn't just scurry away to a new neighborhood afterward. I'm just grateful that our dog was at my parents' house. If something would have happened to her...well, I can't even imagine that. We'd be wrecked.

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  9. Wow, we have an awful lot in common. I think we could/would become good friends if ever we should meet. :-)

    The universe has a way...That little ballet girl, probably not the perfect little thing she thought she was back then. ;-) Children can be so cruel.

    I've been told (many years later) by people who knew me in school that they felt I was 'unapproachable' because I was so quiet. That's just who I was. I was quiet, I was shy, I wasn't good in large groups. I'm still not (or comfortable), but I've gotten better by forcing myself when the need arises (like during hubby's company functions). lol

    Thank you for sharing this. Really. I've always preferred blogs that have some heart. Those that share some of the real life stuff. There are too many facades and barriers in life as it is. Many of us want to know there are real people on the other end of that computer screen, with problems, upsets, procrastinations (I've got stuff I need to paint too, and that online store….sigh). We want to know that everything isn't perfect. Otherwise, what's the point, really?

    I've taken l-o-n-g blogging breaks after reading how blogs 'should' be presented. After being told that blog posts should be 'happy and upbeat' with 'breathtaking photographs', I've been overly critical of my own. Who wants to read about my bad day, or see a photograph that isn't perfectly executed?

    Unfortunately, life isn't always upbeat, and photographs aren't always beautiful and perfect. Sometimes photographs are simply images we want to remember for one reason or another.

    I've never been under any illusions about my blog. I don't have 'it', and I've never expected my blog to be wildly popular or followed faithfully by the masses (there are simply too many out there). It is what it is. It's a reflection of me and my interests.

    The end.

    Again, thanks for sharing this with us. Sorry my post is so long, but you really struck a chord. :-)

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    1. Hey Carole! Thank you for taking the time to craft such a thoughtful response. I'm glad this post resonated with you, and I whole-heartedly agree with bucking the whole "this is how your blog should look" thing. As long as it's a reflection of you, and your interests, things you love and love to share, then it's something you can stand behind and be proud of. So thank you for sharing your struggles with that (and I think blog breaks can be great...I took a week-long one earlier this year because I just didn't have the time, which is okay!). I too am trying to retrain my brain to initiate conversation more with people, and even though it's extremely difficult for me, it's helping! We just have to keep plugging away! :)

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  10. You got broken into?? Geez girl. I'm so thankful you guys weren't there.

    Sorry for the extreme corniness about to ensue (ok, I'm not really sorry), but living with you was one of the most encouraging times in my entire life -- because of what I was going through and how you helped me see who God really was in that, seeing you get ready to move off to LA, copy editing jam sessions (pretty sure I just made that term up, but I love it), making some crazy artwork, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention all the stuff we have on each other now.

    I think I just made every other reader insanely jealous (not on purpose). Yes, ya'll, Beth is pretty stinkin' fab. Also a very real person. And that my dear is why I love you. The end.

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    1. Oh Kate. I could write a whole post just about all the crazy and the fun and the awesome that was our condo that last bit of college. (Perhaps I should post pics from that infamous photo shoot?) I am beyond grateful that we had that time together, and even more grateful we are now in the same town again! Thank you for your encouragement and kinds words. I love you lots. :)

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  11. Bravo! Guess what, you are a lot like me. And I'm sure others feel that way too. I think I will join you on this venture and write a "reality" column as well. Thanks so much

    Stacey @ www.gfpastorswife.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Stacey! Yes! I hope you do write one of your own. Let us know how it goes!

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    2. It's up! It felt good. :)

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  12. I couldn't help but smile how similar we are. I actually almost wrote my "Things I'm Scared To Tell You" on the whole forgive, but not forget thing. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Girl, I could probably write a whole book on it, starting with childhood up through being a semi-newlywed. So much fodder in between those times! :)

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  13. beth, thank you! i relate to so much of this. you are brave and encouraging. press on! xo

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  14. I am not a "people person" either, but everyone thinks that I'm so social for some reason. I am a homebody thru-and-thru, and I it gives me incredibly anxiety to think about going out to a social function. I have to know exactly who's going to be there (control freak), so that I can plan what things I might have to talk about. It's something that has kept me from going to different blogger get-togethers. Although after reading everyone's "Things I'm Afraid to Talk About" posts today, I'm thinking I should go, but wear a shirt that goes ahead and lists all of my issues on it, like "I'm awkward and judging you because you said "like" 10x already."

    But here's a big round of applause for you- it's so good to see this wonderful honesty!

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    1. Hey Amy! Oh my gosh...totally homebody over here, although I'm trying to be more social instead of always telling my husband to get to friend functions without me. And I kind of love that idea about the shirt! What if we all had some printed with our vices on the front? It might totally even the social playing field, and then us awkward folk won't feel like breathing into a paper bag because we've just been dumped into a room full of hundreds of people who are most certainly staring only at us. :)

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  15. I check your blog every work day and love to see what you've bought and found. I already thought you were cool, but now I think you are awesome! Pretty much everything you said (with the exception of the break-in, which is absolutely horrible and something I am very afraid of) is true about me too. I now have a new appreciation of you! Thanks for being so brave about sharing yourself with us.

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    1. Thank you, Anna! That is so sweet of you. And while I am sorry to hear you battle the same battles, I am also encouraged by your sharing that. I don't know why, but it's always so much easier to tackle these things head on when you know you're not alone!

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  16. I've never been to your blog before, but found it via this exercise. And I have to say, in many ways, I soooooo get you! In fact, I'm finding that many bloggers have similar feelings about blogging, ie...feeling a bit "less than" others, envy, self doubt, etc. Thanks so much for sharing this and I hope its the beginning of a new openness in the fashion blogging community! ~Serene

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    1. Thank you, Serene! So glad you stopped over! And I agree...let's have some more reality when it comes to fashion and encourage women to be comfortable with who they are, not regret what they're not!

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  17. Wonderful! I'm SO enjoying this blog challenge. I'll be following your blog from now on!

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  18. I like this little project of yours. amd I get it completely. I write a little blog, it's not much but it is a scary part of myself to share. I'm afraid of judgement, afraid of hurtful comments, afraid of hard cold lack of empathy. Everyday I push that publish button I reveal a part of myself to the world. I feel vulnerable but in a good way. So way to be kinda vulnerable...i think it's a nice and real genuine quality to have.

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    1. Thank you! And you know what? Judgment will come...and so will hurtful comments. But just remember how miserable those people must be, and then hit the "delete" button. :) I think you're brave. Keep hitting that publish button!

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  19. You have stolen the words right from my mouth.

    I am so sorry about the burglary; I hate violations of *any* kind :(

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    1. Thank you, Juanita. It sucked...but we are slowly getting back to where we were. And even if it only means that from now on and I empathize with others who go through something similar, then that's at least something positive.

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  20. I'm that same way with the silence thing! I'm super shy and have been told before that I come off as "stuck up" or full of myself because it. That makes me laugh because I am SO far from it.
    Please do outfit posts! Judging by your picture on the right sidebar, you have an excellent sense of style and I'd love to see more. I can understand worrying that though. I have the same fears with my blog. It's a sewing blog and I therefore have to show a lot of pictures of me because the majority of things I make are clothes for myself, and I HATE scrolling through my blog and seeing my face plastered everywhere. You have plenty of other different kinds of posts though so I'm sure it won't be like that. I for one would love to see more outfit posts from you.
    This comment is getting way too long but I just have to say, THANK YOU for saying that blogger e-mail thing. That is one of my biggest pet peeves when bloggers say that. It's like really, don't blog if you're going to complain about it! Thank you for writing out what everyone else is thinking.

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    1. Hey Haylee! Thank you so much for popping over here and sharing. I just clicked over to your blog and you are so cute, and a much braver person than I to model your creations all the time! I have decided that I will get over myself and start doing outfit posts, so thank you for the encouragement. I love the stuff you've been sewing (esp. that blue polka dot shirt with the exposed zippee in the back...I am kind of drooling over it). Keep it up!

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  21. You could be my personality twin. Not kidding. You just described me to a T and I love it! I love that there is someone else out there just like me. Quiet, shy, often mistaken for being stuck up and full of road rage.

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    1. Haha, thanks, Jenn! And likewise, it's good to know I'm not the only one! :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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  22. Such a honest post. You are so brave! And sound remarkably like me, lol.

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  23. Oh my goddess! I see so many similarities in your post, but this, this hit home.

    "I actually read a very small number of blogs now because I got sick of feeling like what I have, or who I am, isn't good enough, isn't perfect enough. If you read someone's blog and afterward feel bad about yourself, or that you're not creative, or not beautiful, or not rich enough, or you don't have enough blog fame or notoriety, then I beg you: Stop reading it. I hope I have never made any of you feel this way. If I have, please accept my sincere apologies."

    You have taken the words right out of my mouth. Thank you, thank you for sharing this. It has given me the kick in pants to finally voice my own frustrations and truth.

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