Hiding our True Selves
I was on Face book a little while ago and I saw a video clip a friend published on her wall. It was titled something like "Get Service". Basically it was about a young man beginning his day, and the several irritations that he encountered along the way. A young child riding his skateboard behind his car and he almost hit him, the person in the parking lot that stole his parking spot, the people at the coffee shop taking their time, and then he has to sit down to wait for his coffee due to the long wait. While he's sitting at the table waiting for his coffee. a man comes up to him and hands him a case that says "Get Service" on the front. As he opens the case and finds a pair of glasses inside, the man quietly slips away. In confusion, this young man places the glasses over his eyes. He begins to see short sentences placed over each persons body. "Just lost his job", "Fighting with Addiction", "Struggling with Self-Worth". You get the point. He's very confused, and rushes out of the shop and goes back home. When he pulls into the drive he again sees the young boy riding his skateboard. He pushes the glasses back up over his eyes and sees the boys label "Needs someone to care". He then goes and talks to the boy. The video ends. Yes, this video was created by a church I believe, to encourage people to be of service to others. But that's not my point. I'd actually thought of the concept for this hub before I even saw the video.
My question is this; How many of us hide behind our humor to avoid letting anyone see the real us, or to avoid seeing the real in others? To avoid being embarrassed by what we really feel inside. To avoid seeing the vulnerability of anyone else. To avoid having to actually get involved and DO something about somebodies situation.
I know I do it. I do it every single day. I hide behind my sarcastic humor to avoid being embarrassed by what is really going on inside my head and in my life. I do it for alot of reasons. To avoid being embarrassed is one of the strongest reasons, but there are others. I also do it to avoid making others uncomfortable. Let's face it, when someone else is depressed, anxious, sad, angry, or hurting, it makes people uncomfortable. Nobody ever knows what to say. Or if they do know what to say, they are hurt when you don't want to follow their advice. Or they worry about you. And I don't really want pity from anyone. I don't want anyone to worry about me. And I don't want to make someone else angry because of what is going on with my life. I also don't want to hear a bunch of cliches or platitudes from someone that has absolutely no idea what I'm going through because they've never been there themselves. I don't mind sincere comments from people that really care, or people that have been there, but I absolutely can't stand advice from people that have never been through what I'm going through. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I think my life is worse than theirs, or that they've never gone through any kind of pain. In some cases I'm sure they've gone through things much much worse than what I'm going through. That, actually, is on my list of why I don't talk about a lot of things going on in my life, because there's always somebody that is worse off than I know I am, and somebody will inevitably point it out in some cliché form or other. And frankly, if I'm upset at that moment about my own life situation, I really don't care what is going on in anybody else's life. That may sound selfish, and it rarely lasts long when it happens, but for that brief moment in time, I honestly don't care what is going on with anyone else. I want to wallow in what is wrong in my own, and feel sorry for myself, and I don't want anybody to point out to me how wrong it is, or that I have to "get over it", or "it is what it is". Man, I hate that last phrase!! What idiot thought that one up? It is what it is...well no shit, what else could it be but what it is?
I started HubPages because I wanted to try to earn some extra money online. I had no real idea when I followed my sister on here what it really was all about. She just told me about it, and I checked it out, and we thought, ok, we should be able to do this. But I realized fairly early on, I'm not going to make much money at this. I don't have the patience, or the ambition to research and write "how-to" hubs. I have no niche market, no special interest, nothing I want to write about that much that I think others will want to read. I know myself, I prefer the hubs about "real life". The ones where people tell their stories and let you inside their lives. I'm fascinated by other people and their stories. Perhaps it's some sort of way at times to feel better about my own life. If someone else's life is worse, how can I possibly complain? Perhaps I'm just nosy. Perhaps my sister is right when she says I'm an em-path, and I need to worry about others, and care. I'm not exactly sure, probably it's a combination of all of the above. Anyway, I thought to myself, "OK self, if you're not going to write how-to hubs, you might as well just write real stuff about yourself." So I did at first, about my son and his mental health issues, and about myself feeling as if I was disappearing. Then I posted one of my hubs to Face book so my family could read it. The one about my uncle. And then I thought "OK now I have to watch what I post on Hub pages, because it can't be anything they (my family) would disapprove of, or that might involve them and they don't want others to know, or they might get upset." Don't get me wrong, not that I'm going to trash my family, I love them a lot, really I do!
And then another funny thought hit me. I realized that I'd found several friends on Hub pages. People that I admire for the things they believe in, the things they write, the people they are. That may sound funny to some people. How can you make "friends" with people you've never even met? Well, trust me, it happens. That's one of the hubs I haven't written "How I found my husband from an Internet ad." Yes it's true. The thing I realized though is this, How can I be honest and open and tell all sorts of my inner secrets to people I now consider friends, and possibly change how they think about me? Or incite their pity, or make them worry about me? I know I shouldn't worry about these things, in all reality, in the grand scheme of things, I will probably never meet any of you (hopefully Erik S you show up someday!), and I shouldn't ever worry about what anybody else thinks of me. Or be self-absorbed enough to think any of you would be sitting out there worrying about me if I told you something disturbing.
I will give you an example of the types of things I'm talking about...since I keep eluding to things. Like the fact that I've been diagnosed in the past with Major Depressive Disorder, Recurring, Panic Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. That I've tried numerous medications for these disorders and am now currently taking nothing. My body doesn't process the medications well, so they only ever found one that worked at all. Celexa worked for approximately two years, made me gain 100 pounds, and then started making the anxiety so bad my hands would shake and I had to go off of it. Because of some of my anxieties and phobias, I've lived with my mother for the last 14 years, so she would be available to help with my sons. I worked for years, and helped pay bills, she just has to be there to take care of them when they don't feel well, as I can't do it. Not everything, just a certain thing I can't even type because it makes me nervous even to discuss it, so suffice to say, she handles it and cleans up after them when they don't feel well in this way I can't even say out loud. Dear Lord, now you'll REALLY think I'm a freak! Don't worry, so do I. This is why I berate myself a lot...tell myself I'm a horrible mother. I asked my sister the other day "Do you ever feel you're a failure as a mother, even though you don't think of your kids as failures?". I don't think of my sons as failures. Hell, they're only 16 and 20, they're not old enough to be failures yet! They've made a lot of wrong choices, and don't do things the way I'd like them too, but they're trying to right some of the things they've done wrong, and working to do others right, so NO, I don't consider them failures. But I consider myself a failure as a mother. Please don't give me pity, I don't deserve it, or want it. I've had my family tell me numerous times it's not the truth. It makes no difference. My logical brain knows it's not the truth. I did the best I could with the tools I had available to me. I took them to pumpkin patches and apple orchards when they were smaller, we had a family pass to the local swimming pool and went all summer long, then stopped for cheese fries and ice cream afterwards, got popcorn from the local popcorn stands on hot summer nights and went home and ate it, laid together on the couch and watched lots of movies. We did lots of stuff, and spent a lot of time together, and I went to all their school functions and saw almost every game they played in when they both played football. (I only missed one for being in the ER. and one because we got a free trip from my cousin to Florida for the grown-ups!) That's just part of what I did do with, and for, them...so yes, my logical brain knows I was, and am, a good mother. And yet, I feel a failure. This is just a small sample of what lives inside my "real" brain. The me I hide from all of you I've come to "know" here on Hub pages. And some of you I like. :) So please don't pity me, or give me cliches, because I think I'm going to try to put some of my real self on hub pages...use it sort of like a blog, if you will indulge me. And I don't want to chase any of you away. Dang, I'm still worrying about what others think...when will I ever get over that?? Actually, I don't want to totally get over it, or I wouldn't be the person I am. I do care about others, worry about hurting their feelings, want to help if at all possible. So I wouldn't change it totally...just like it to tone down a little!
I also have another small request...I started a poem the other day...sort of goes along with this theme or hiding our head in the sand, not noticing when others need help...and I can't finish it...so perhaps all you kind souls out there will help me finish my poem? Just for me, not to publish or anything...just to have. Thank you in advance. I know some of you great writers will come through for me! Here's what I have so far:
The mighty ostrich tucks his head and hides beneath his wings,
Who gave us the right to ridicule the way this bird does things?
This bird he simply does the same as do a number of us all,
Who pretend we do not notice when others stumble, bleed and fall.
We walk along our merry way pretending ignorance is bliss,
That's it, that's all I've got. Help me out!! Thanks!
Marilyn L Davis from Georgia on June 02, 2013:
You are not alone in many of your thoughts, ideas, and feelings; a statement, not a platitude, as I realize from your article that you do not like them. I also do not like slogans used to simply fill the void when someone asks, “How are you?” We risk telling them, and then get, “This too shall pass”.
There was a period in my life where I could only go to antique stores with my mother as the anxiety and depression were so profound. Getting into recovery 24 years ago helped ease many of the symptoms, but there are still days that I feel too insecure, anxious, and in turn, berate myself for all of my poor choices.
AngRose (author) on March 13, 2011:
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and to comment. I agree 100% with you that people need to be taught self esteem. And it's always a help to know one is not alone, and is appreciated. Thank you again.
Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on March 13, 2011:
AngRose, I really loved the description of the video you watched from Facebook, really made me think. And I understand first hand Major Depressive Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I appreciate you sharing this information and being true to yourself. And the overall feeling of not being good enough, oh, this one really sucks. I have often thought over the years that "self esteem" classes need to be mandatory in school. No pity or cliches' from me. Just know that you are not alone. I appreciate your writing and your style and look forward to reading more of your past and future work.
AngRose (author) on March 02, 2011:
Kallin, Thank you for taking the time to read this and to respond. And thank you for your kindness.
kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on March 02, 2011:
I read your hub and I find it extremely difficult to respond. I relate to your problems on so many levels, it is not even funny.
Sense of Humour: I have a very good sense of humour and quick wit, I was really good at sarcasm until I read that sarcasm is not an indicator of intelligence as I used to think, it is more or less an indicator of being incapable to solve problems in a constructive way. It is in a sense a passive-aggressive behaviour. For me, sarcasm is like a drug, it provides a relief and it is hard to part ways with my sarcastic self, yet I know now that it is a must.
I am not trying to make you feel bad, I am only sharing what I have learned along the way, and what a long way it has been!
You tend to judge yourself very harshly. Mental illness? It does not make you a freak. Who nowadays is completely normal?
There is a joke: "What others think of you is none of your business." Worrying about other people's opinions is not a sign of being caring, it is simply an insecurity.
Then again: "Security GOOOOD, Insecurity BAAAAD". Don't put a judgment on it either. Just say, I am a mother. No modifiers necessary, good, bad. Your boys have only one mother. You have an illness, don't add "that makes me a freak comment".
I have bipolar disorder and I make this joke often enough "I know what my problem is "I am insane", but I only say it to my doctor. He always tells me "You are not insane". Finally, I changed the way I see things.
I know you are going to hate it, but the expression "it is what it is" is not idiotic, it is true, the second part restates the first, it is simply circular, imagine a circle made by a statement. Just a beautiful metaphor, that is all.
I might assume you hate it not for itself, but for the associations YOU have with it. Does it sound like you cannot change things or things cannot be changed? It does not mean that.
For depression: there is a medication-free approach to treating depression. It is called Mindfulness and Awareness, there are books, but I haven't done the research, but I took the program. It does work. In fact, it works wonders. And I am not one of those who did not experience depression. I lived my life being depressed since the age of 10.
I would recommend you to keep a diary. Write three pages in it every day. Patterns will emerge and you will be able to see what you have handle first. Being all over the place always feels overwhelming (speaking from experience).
I think you have done a very important step - you asked for help and you tried to open up and reach out. But right now, it still feels like you would fight off undesirable advice. Don't be offended by what people say (cliches or not), take in what you can, ignore what you cannot take in. It is a long process.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” You are only receptive for what you are ready for. Just like everybody else.
You feel like a failure. I usually use the word "loser". But when I think about winning versus losing, I have to remind myself that life is not a game. Winning and losing are subjective. You have to change the point of reference. The angle. The point of view. I was doing once an exercise on "creating a different vision" - it was hilarious - lying down on a floor and looking at everything from that point. You get the idea. Everything looks different.
Humour is everything. Just like attitude, pick yours carefully.
"Humor is the harmony of the heart."
Douglas William Jerrold
"I hope life isn’t a joke, because I don’t get it."
I wish you all the best,
AngRose (author) on February 27, 2011:
Stan, thanks for taking the time to read it.
Jim, I'm glad it provoked some thinking for you. I'll do my best to keep it real. :)
Jim Henderson from Hattiesburg, Mississippi on February 27, 2011:
Contemplative and thought-provoking Hub. You are so right that many people hide behind humor as a mask. I much prefer reading your Hub than another How-to article. Keep on writing about real stuff!
Stan Fletcher from Nashville, TN on February 26, 2011:
This was really great. Lots to think about. Thanks for taking the time to write it down.....
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on February 22, 2011:
This hub and all its subsequent comments and comments on comments is one of the most poignant and beautiful selections of thoughts and declarations of love...
There! I knew it; HP has a good and worthwhile function.
AngRose (author) on February 21, 2011:
Ian my dear friend, I agree. I wish I would have met you years and years ago. But we will make the most of our time together now! xo
Erik my lovely son, I doubt it is your rent Adam wants you to stick around for! I think he likes you as his friend, just a little! :) And your comment was not depressing, it was you speaking from your heart, and I for one, appreciate the parts of you that you choose to share with me. Thank you. xoxo
Laur, You know all of this stuff already...I whine to you on a regular basis. Thanks for listening! xoxo
Cogerson, Thank you for taking the time to read my babbling. I appreciate it.
Adam, Thank you dear man for your kind comments. And if you can only take a few things seriously in this world, you've picked the best in my opinion to be serious about. You're a talented young man with a lot of love and compassion inside you. Don't let anybody tell you different. xo
Erik S. on February 20, 2011:
Adam doesn't suck at poetry, but he does hide behind humor because he loves too much. Two of the things I hate most about him, yet two of the things I love most about him as well.
And I know you know poetry doesn't have to rhyme. But your poem does. And I was going to take make an attempt at it earlier, but then I felt silly because my comment was already kind of depressing.
P.S. I don't think Adam's serious. I hardly pay rent around here as it is anyway. Lol
Adam from Tennessee on February 20, 2011:
Ang, that was awesome and beautiful. :) I loved it and would enjoy reading more about you. But you can't have Erik. Not yet, anyway. He has to help me pay the bills around here.
As far as your poem goes, I suck at poetry, so I can't give you any good lines. I'm a sarcastic person at times, btw, in case you couldn't tell in what I write. I hide behind humor, or my brand of it. Maybe to hide the fact that I care and love too much. I don't know. I find it hard to take anything seriously in this life, except for love and family. Anyway, look forward to your next hub. :)
UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on February 20, 2011:
Voted up....humor has its place, but sometimes it has no place....interesting hub...thanks for posting
LaurieDawn on February 20, 2011:
I couldn't have said it better myself Ian. Splendid! My prose does not always rhyme, and I think that it the biggest mistake a lot of people take, that poetry does not have to. It is about emotions and feelings and the likes.
And great start Ang, and no that is not a cliché, I do not like them, only quotes so a quote I shall leave you with today,
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." ~Thomas Edison~
Love ya Lil Sis,
Erik S. on February 19, 2011:
I can't imagine how my mother must feel. I never played sports, or learned to swim, but I never got to lay around watching movies with her either. My mother loves me, and she'd do anything for me, but there was a time when she was so wrapped up in her own life that it got in the way. She had really hurt me, and it was only in these last couple of years that I was able to let go of it and forgive her. I truly hope that she has been able to forgive herself as I have.
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on February 19, 2011:
You’re going to hate this, but I am going to start off with saying I am sorry but I’m not sorry about you; or sorry for you; or sorry that you are such a blah blah blah…
You are a wonderful person, a real, human being, one of God’s creatures, and I’m not saying this is in a goody goody Churchy Christian sort of way, because I’m not like that one little bit.
What I am sorry about, Angie, is that I didn’t meet you earlier. And why? Because I like you. You’re funny. You’re intelligent. You’re a good mum (That’s the way we spell it here). OK. So sometimes you have to rely on them to get you through when this big bad horrible world is getting a little hard to bear… but, Angie, it isn’t a big and horrible world… how can it be? There are millions of good decent people in it like you and your mum, like Laurie, like those people who help you on a day to day basis and don’t ask for gratitude. You are one of them.
And poetry? OK, shall I tell you about poetry? And I think anybody who knows anything about the subject will agree with me here… And watch out! I am going to tread on a lot of toes, and make some people really angry… err… I think the technical term is “Pissed off” with me.
Poetry does not have to rhyme.
Look at Nellieanna’s. Does hers rhyme? No! But it’s elegant and chock full of meaning.
Look at Donna Bamford’s. Does hers rhyme? No! But it conjures up feelings and atmosphere.
These are two of the poets that I admire most on HP… learn from them.
Poetry can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to. Rhyming helps verse to move along. Meter helps, but it doesn’t have to have a rhythms.
Funny verse is sometimes... nearly always, helped by rhyming, because we are expecting a rhyming word and if another word, (but a rhyming word appears) it shocks and it makes us laugh… Verse like that has the same function and structure, frequently as jokes, with a punch line.
You see, Ang, you are letting people think you are going to lead them to the end of the line and give them that punch line.
My Offering to you, dear friend
The mighty ostrich tucks his head to hide beneath his wings,
Who gave us the right to ridicule the way this bird does things?
This bird, he simply does the same as frankly, do we all,
In case, in looking, we should see another trip and fall.
But obstacles are in the way, wherever we should walk.
‘Twere better we should use our eyes, and use our tongues to talk.
Say, “Neighbour watch your foot, for there before you tread
A danger for you lies in wait, upon the path ahead”.
Use both your eyes, your tongue, your heart and certainly your mind
To help companion travellers, and surely you will find;
When that silly bird had closed his eyes, so not to see
He could, perhaps have prevented a hurt to you or me
Whereas that silly bird had closed his eyes, to blot the view
The world continued, round about, regardless of what he knew.
So do not walk along your way as if ignorance is bliss,
Don’t forget: we share this world, and just remember this;
If you should stumble and should fall, and another should assist,
Or you should cry with hopeless tears for chances you have missed,
That neighbour or a stranger who should offer you his hand,
Perhaps gains strength, and so gives it more than you’ll ever understand.