Transparency is an uncomfortable precursor to a breakthrough

Big breakthroughs come when we are honest.  Beautiful moments of intimacy occur between people when there is an exchange of raw emotion.

For this reason, I love reading autobiographies.  I will happily sit for hours on a bench in a park with a cup of coffee and watch people walking by interact with one another.  Hell, my favorite song is even a completely stripped confession after a drug addict’s relapse.

As someone who has struggled with depression for most of my adult life, there are many days where my energy is low or my brain feels like it is covered with a melancholic blanket.  To be able to have “normal” relationships, I have trained myself to shield the inner-workings of my brain from people so they do not have to deal with the repercussions of my erratic brain chemistry.

However, I have been touched time and time again by how understanding people can be when I am honest about what I need.  For two days, I have just been completely unable to shake an amorphous mass of anxiety and insecurities.  So, as a gesture of how much I trust you, here is an unveiled honest look at what continues to fuel the anxious fumes in my brain:

I am scared.  I am afraid that this project is not going to matter to anyone but me.  I am afraid that I am going to continue to live like this  – counting coins when I need to eat, debating on whether I can afford to take the Metro or not – for a whole year and have nothing of substance to show for it.  I am afraid that I will fail to have the tenacity to complete this journey.  I am afraid that I am a coward who is too afraid to take the necessary risks.  I am afraid that all the thoughts I am sharing with you are all reductive and redundant.

In an average conversation with someone new, they ask, “Oh, so what are you doing here?”  I respond with a 30 second synopsis on my project.  Then, they normally ask “Oh, where are you going?”  After responding, the next big questions is “How are you paying for all that?”  Cue the immediate flip of the panic switch in my brain once again.  I have no idea where the funding for this project is going to come from.  I have no idea how I am going to eat next month.  I have no idea…

We are all insecure, especially about the things nearest to our hearts.  And yet, those insecurities and anxieties hold the most power when we don’t tell anyone.  As soon as we voice those worries, they lose much of their potency.  

So, if you feel comfortable, leave an anonymous comment below to tell me: What do you love so much that you are terrified something terrible may happen to it?   What is the nagging worry that keeps pestering you? 

Or, if you don’t feel comfortable posting here, please email me, and we can chat via email or Skype.  In my mind, I am hugging you.  And you are always invited to go with me for coffee and people-watching.

Click the links to see past posts dealing with this challenge to be more vulnerable and empathetic.


4 responses to “Transparency is an uncomfortable precursor to a breakthrough

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  4. Catherine, thanks for being so honest. I think we all need to be open about our difficulties. I know recently life has been incredibly slow for me (for different reasons), and yet all the free time (and lack of funds) often only means I’m alone a lot, and I feel very useless, unneeded and lazy, no matter how productive and strong I want to try to be. And I’ve known plenty of my own personal melancholy.

    If nothing else, your travels will make you a stronger, wiser person. I know this from experience as well as friends’ anecdotes. We’re cheering for you! And a great digital *hug* from this side.

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