Alone and naked in front of the crowd

Stuck for words. It’s late at night again and I need to go to bed but I want to write. There’s so much going on and I want to share but I can’t put my thoughts in order or break things down to something that makes sense and stands alone.

I went to bed last night and broke into small pieces, sobbing my heart out while Rose sat with me. I wept until I couldn’t breathe. I cried so hard my eyes were still swollen this morning. I felt utterly lost and full of pain.

I’ve always been this way, cried like the world was ending. I’m reminded of a guy I read about who was suffering from severe depression until he figured out how to manage it ‘Now I just cry a lot’. I’m reminded of the people I’ve sat with as they sobbed with utterly broken hearts, how much courage it takes to sit with someone in that place.

I’m painfully aware of being on display at the moment, while we’re trying to get pregnant. Unsolicited advice, scrutiny, judgement. It’s hard to speak in this place, hard to share.

I went and saw my shrink today. We talked about work, about the self loathing that’s been so intense lately, the house move, the sense of doubt. We talked about my peer work, my sharing of my vulnerability, the way I pull apart my image of competence and show people my woundedness. She described it as being alone and naked in front of the crowd. The phrase has rung in my mind all day since. And this, the insecurity, the doubt, the pain, was the cost of that. Perhaps if I can accept that, there might be less to hate about myself. We talked about doubt being my gift, a thing that allowed me to untangle myself from beliefs that were killing me, to question powerful people and paradigms, to listen to people because I’m not certain I know the answers, and the cost of that, a sense of being lost and confused by the world. The prices we pay for our freedoms. It’s a strange and deeply relieving thought.

Trying to start the local Hearing Voices Network fills me with ecstasy and triggers deep self loathing. Imposter syndrome, a terror of leadership, of power, of people listening to me or following my advice comes over me, I find myself at the bottom of a deep ocean of self hate that’s almost unbearable. People reach out and their compliments are like a breeze blowing on the surface of the black water, down at the bottom I’m still drowning.

Rose and I had the most lovely evening together. She cooked me dinner, we baked a cake for a friend’s birthday. It was beautiful, full of simple joy. My mind was clear and quiet. I don’t feel like I’m drowning. We made little cupcake decorations and sang to each other. Every morning I’m still surprised to wake up and find her in my bed. This woman who glows in the afternoon light, who reaches out to touch my back when I cry, who reads me to sleep when the night stretches long before me. The people who have reached out, to say thanks or that I am in some way a useful person in this world, their words come back to me and I can hear them more clearly. There’s people, like Rose, who believe in me, for reasons I can’t fathom and in ways that make me terrified of failing them, paralysed by my conviction that I’m going to let them down. But there’s also the gasping breath after the sobbing cry, the kind touch, the sunlight golden through the window. The ocean has receded tonight and a cool wind blows in my mind. I’m grateful for love, grateful to be here in the dark writing, grateful for the days I can bear touch, can accept kindness.

4 thoughts on “Alone and naked in front of the crowd

  1. Thank you for sharing. As I am sure you know from experience on both sides of the fence, hard as it might be sometimes to sit with someone and share their pain and sadness, it is also a real privilege to be trusted to do that.

    On one occasion when I said, “Thank you for trusting me enough to let me in and to be part of what you are going through.” the other person said, “Yes, I wouldn’t put someone I didn’t trust through that!” Then we were able to share a brief moment of healing laughter together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rose is a real treasure, but I bet that you are a treasure to her, too. It’s hard when you doubt the love that’s being shown to you, but when you realise that this live is there, it’s lovely xxx

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