things i’m afraid to tell you

Posted by on May 4, 2012 | 5 Comments

Yesterday, Ez of Creature Comforts kicked off a movement for honesty in blogging. She makes a compelling statement about the face that people present (or leave out) on their blogs, and I felt like that meant something for my writing here, too. She wrote a post entitled “The Things I’m Afraid to Tell You,” and I decided to try to be brave and do the same. (This is gonna be a long one, so be warned.)

things i'm afraid to tell you

Image originally from Creature Comforts

Ez raises a good point: there’s a “vast cavern between true reality and the presentation of ‘reality’ on blogs” (quote from her post). There’s the perception that the writer is living a charmed life: that they are capable of seeing only the beautiful things in this world, or that they go on the most incredible adventures, or that they have the deepest closets filled with nothing but great clothes.

I can admit that a certain amount of that distortion happens here—I like to talk about all the good things that are happening, but tend to crowd out the bad because there shouldn’t be any bad things and business should always be good, right? I consider myself an optimistic person, so it’s not that I’m cranking up all the positives in any sort of disingenuous way. And I’m incredibly lucky, after all, to be making things I love and finding others who appreciate them, too.

But I have certainly felt the expectation to not talk about the not-so-awesome stuff and ignore the fact that life has its ups AND downs. Yesterday Ez and those wonderful bloggers decided to say “no” to that expectation and were brutally honest about themselves with their readers.

So in order to honor that bittersweet thing called life, here’s my brutal honesty:

I WISH I WERE MYSTERIOUS //

I have, and always will, feel like a gangly 12 year old girl. I’m clumsy (the vertigo doesn’t help), accidentally say things that I think are compliments but come out as insults, and am horribly naive. People take my child-like wonder as permission to overlook me at work, to talk down to me, and to take advantage of me. It seems that with that sort of personality, going into fashion was the wrong choice. The expectation is that a truly great designer (like Yves Saint Laurent or Coco Chanel) must truly know their own mind, have and dispense strong opinions on everything, and be on top of their shit. None of that describes me: I constantly feel the pressure to look a certain way, have a clear aesthetic point of view, and most importantly cultivate an air of mystique. I mean, people wouldn’t love Andy Warhol (or have followed Hitler, as fucked up as that is) if he didn’t totally and completely embrace all those things he said. So instead I end up feeling even more immature and underdeveloped as a person, and sink into little depressions.

BEING CREATIVE IS FRIGHTENING //

I look at a blank slate and panic. I start watering the plants, or checking Pinterest, or painting my nails in order to avoid sitting down and getting to work. Creating things is the most gratifying feeling for me and once I’m in the zone I’m having a great time, but I’m so afraid of making a mistake or making something that won’t even be interesting that I don’t even start. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve started to understand that creativity is a process and it’s ok to not get it right on the first try. But I’m still afraid of doing it wrong, or not well enough, or (like in the previous point) without any unique point of view, that I end up freaking out about it and not getting anything done. That explains why I fuss with the website constantly, or keep reworking the logo (and always landing at the same place), or fidget with the Facebook page. I’m also afraid of putting something out there and having it be deemed “stupid” or “trite”. Thank God for Zach who is impressed with everything I make and pushes me to prioritize my tasks.

I AVOID DECISION-MAKING //

I’m so afraid of making the wrong decision that I will put off actually making any decision in the vain hope that someone will come along and make it for me. I generally consider myself a “go with the flow” kind of person, but I’ve noticed in the last few years that it might really be a front for being a “let other people decide for you” kind of person. My therapist call it being “accommodating,” but I think she’s just trying to be nice. And when I do have to decide one way or the other I take FOREVER because I’m constantly doubting myself and hoping I’ll have some flash of genius that’ll steer me in the right direction. I also assume that everyone else is right and I’m wrong, so I’m quick to let other people who seem like they know what they’re doing take control. I’m AWESOME at deciding on things like having brunch on the weekends or what to watch on Netflix, but more creative decisions give me trouble.

I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF VOMIT //

Of me doing it, of you doing it, of hearing it, of watching it, etc. I know lots of other people are, too, but what I’m ashamed of is how I’ve let it affect my daily life. I get paranoid after almost every meal that it wasn’t prepared properly or that someone may have accidentally used expired ingredients. I’ve never drunk enough alcohol to get drunk because I’m afraid of throwing it up later, and I’ve avoided many social situations for the fear of other people getting inebriated and then sick. But mostly I’m ashamed of it because I’ve let it get in the way of helping when I’m needed: on more than one occasion I couldn’t help a very sick friend (or even my mother) when they were in a bad place. I just locked myself in the furthest room and tried to block out the noise.

This post may be a selfish excuse for some kind of catharsis (what up, 9th grade vocab!), but I hope it helps you understand me better. This project initiated by Ez, Jess Constable, Erin Loechner, and Nichole has been a great reminder that life is faceted and that the only way to be better people (and writers) is to embrace it all.

1 comment

  1. Yujin Lee
    July 1, 2012

    This is so wonderful Sara! I just came across it after checking out your awesome sea foam necklace. I think you are very hard on yourself, you are such a gentle soul. I also have the same fears, but the best work really does come when I begin by imagining that I will never show it to anyone in the world (except Justin). I never knew just how much “what others will think” clouds your beautiful and original mind. It’s the worst! And it’s really hard to remove, no matter what anyone says. You are not alone. It’s a huge feat that comes with time, enjoy the beauty of earning it Sara! Also yay for underdeveloped personalities, I used to hate that I felt that way too but now – let’s try to think of it as we have more room to grow and develop. I love that I’m seeing you continuously blossom over the last years, and that your truly bloomed state is yet to come. It’s an exciting thing.

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