Not Everyone is Going To Get It

Not everyone is going to get it. I know that. I knew that. I always knew that. But what I didn’t think about was that in starting down this path I was not only exposing myself to criticism for what I was sharing, but for the fact that I was sharing at all.

My first true “negative” response to what I am doing came before I had even made my first post. Negative is probably the wrong term. Let’s call it “supportively discouraging.”

I genuinely believe it came from a place of caring, but it voiced the opinion that I wasn’t ready for this and should hold off. That I should do a better job of thinking it through and preparing. That I needed to rework my message.

Regardless of the specifics, it was the first time the reception to my plan to share had been negative and it sent me almost immediately into a downward spiral of unhealthy thoughts. When I read this ‘feedback’ my stomach curled up into itself and my arms started to tingle.

This is where my anxiety manifests. Giant bats in my gut and a spreading numbness through my arms. Sometimes I try to decipher which comes first — the physical sensations or the thoughts. Maybe simultaneously? Maybe it is different every time? Either way the conversation in my head was loud and the physical symptoms were all too real.

“You’re making a mistake”

“They are right, you don’t know what you’re doing”

“You’re in over your head”

“You’re never going to get better and then not only have you embarrassed yourself, but you’ve wasted everyone’s time”

The list goes on.

This time was different though. Yes the thoughts were definitely there, but instead of being sucked into a vortex of negativity I caught myself. I took a few minutes and sat with what I had just received. I sat with the thoughts and the feelings. I recognized where my mind wanted to pull me and chose a different path.

When I took the time and thought about what was actually happening, I was able to hear the other voice in my head. The other feeling in my gut. Not the sensations that said “Quick, take it back, go run and hide!”but the feeling that said “You’re going to make a positive impact on the world and this is only the beginning!”

As I write this, I’m preparing to share my third blog post in which I put myself into what was/is probably the most vulnerable position I have ever been in my life. I plan on sharing a part of myself I didn’t think I ever would. I’m looking my inner critic in the eye and for one of the first times I’m acting against her.

After this post there really isn’t much more of me left to hide and that’s fucking terrifying. If ever, this is the point of no return. Months ago I wouldn’t even explain to the people closest to me what a binge looked like. And here I am having shared my most shameful, embarrassing, deep and intimate details with anyone willing to listen.

I read my third post out loud to five different people leading up to posting it. Each time it brought me to tears. Each time it terrified me. Each time the same self doubts and discouraging thoughts resurfaced. But somehow each time also left me feeling lighter and lighter. Because what that first negative response helped me realize is that I’m not actually scared of what other people say to or about me. I’m scared of what I will say to and about myself in reaction.

The bright side of having lived in my head for as long as I have is knowing no one will ever be as mean, as cruel, as negative or as punishing as I have been to myself. And only now am I starting to realize the power in this; nothing I say to myself is real unless I choose to believe it. So despite the biggest doubts I’ve had yet, I made the post. I aired my dirty laundry to the world.

I’ve been overrun with embarrassment, shame, disgust and guilt for years and this is the first time I’ve ever actually taken steps away from that.

And well, I am strong. I am beautiful. I am capable. I am unstoppable.

Jamie Snow