Exposure

I am the type of person who physically recoils from the idea of you reading my diary. But I’m also the type of person who forgets to put her diary away and instead leaves it open on the table when visitors come round. I’m the type of person who walks along the street and blurts out what she’s thinking about to herself before she realises she’s not alone. I’m the type of person who may or may not leave sex toys on display when her grandparents come to visit and who won’t notice until at least the second time everyone has been exposed to them.

Privacy is not something I am good at.

The side-effect of revealing myself to the ‘wrong’ person I talked about the other day, whether real or imaginary, sent me into something of a tailspin at the time. Realising that I had unintentionally, yet intentionally, made parts of myself public made me feel excruciatingly exposed. I started becoming contracted and brittle, stuttering through my business endeavours, entirely conflicted about the right course of action, hypersensitive to every indication that people were seeing me. I was too self-conscious to commit to anything. I had chosen to reveal myself, but I hadn’t thought through what that might actually mean, and now that I was, I didn’t like it. I wanted the benefits of feeling courageous, but none of the other consequences.

Bit by bit, I shut it all down. I’ve talked about this before too.

I’ve been diligently trying these past few years to get acquainted with vulnerability, because I’m so very terrible at invulnerability. Vulnerability is a thousand times more healthy than invulnerability, I know, but I guarantee if I was better at not accidentally exposing myself that would be the choice I would make every time. If I could control all the variables, I would.

I am perfectly happy to expose myself on my own terms, in a very controlled, curated way. But not so much in a vulnerable way. I don’t want you to see me make a mistake. I don’t want you to see a side of me I didn’t specifically choose to show you. But I will, and you will. So I’ve been trying very hard to be okay with that. To be okay with all of myself, so that if you don’t like it, at least I still do.

It’s a fucking journey.

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