Despite my occasional denial and sometimes clear forgetting of my own beliefs, passions, dreams, and just overall being, I do embrace my self. More or less. However, the idea of being that same self around friends and family is tremendously terrifying.

Thanks to a combination of insecurity and a substantial dose of shame, I hate being seen for who I am. I so desperately do not want to be perceived, to not have anyone actually know me, that I’ve spent years pruning myself down to the most generic version of myself I can present to others.

It’s not even like I’m living a secret second life that is so completely taboo that I could never share it with the people I love. My life is just bringing home seven library books because I liked their covers, not reading them until they are almost due, and then speed-running them in two days. It’s picking up crochet as a hobby while the modelling clay I bought a few months ago sits on a shelf somewhere literally gathering dust. It’s the seventy different tattoo designs I have saved on Pinterest over the last three years despite having no courage to actually visit a tattoo parlour. It’s the Tumblr account I had for three years, creating and sharing wallpapers for 800+ followers. It’s buying vinyl records of Japanese rock albums I love and listening to them a grand total of two times. It’s the hundreds of shows I’ve added to my watch list and the hundred others I’ve removed when it’s been a year and they remain unwatched (since most of my time is spent rewatching that same two shows and three movies). It’s privating all my playlists on Spotify because what would people think if they found out I listened to nightcore versions of songs on the regular.

My life is the same cardboard box of half-realised passions and dreams peppered with absurd contradictions as everyone else’s. I just hide mine somewhere dark out of a very deep but misplaced shame over being myself. The unlearning of this shame is ongoing. That there really is nothing wrong with being me.

For now, I remind myself every day to just try.

Just tell your friend you’ve picked up crochet and that it brings you joy. Just tell your partner that you want to watch that terrible movie with a 1.8 rating on IMDb because the plot sounds vaguely interesting. Just tell your parents you’re writing a blog.  

Unpacking all those parts of myself and putting it out there for people to see is unbelievably scary. I know it doesn’t have to be everything all at once. Just a little bit every so often; maybe one post at a time.

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