The beauty of the beast.

I wish that I could be edited. I wish that what the world could see were a perfectly curated collection of a beautiful life with sweet moments and loving family and friends. I wish that I could be one of those people that makes life look effortless, or one of those rare people in this world to which life is actually effortless.

I cannot do that. I can’t.

Life is messy. Life is filled with disappointment and heartbreak, sad moments and struggles. Life is not easy. It’s not effortless and I refuse to paint a picture of life that just isn’t rooted in the truth.

That’s not to say that there aren’t happy moments. The good moments are there and they do exist. But I’m the type of person to which, when I experience the good moments, I am living them… not trying to instagram them. And that’s not to throw shade at those who do, that’s just to say that the best moments of my life, you likely won’t find proof of on any phone or camera. The proof is that which lives on in only the fondest of memories that never dim nor fade, no matter how many times I upgrade my phone.

Current messy bits going on in my life are big bouts of anxiety. I’m talking BIIIIIIIIIIIG bouts of anxiety. Worries about money, about relationships, about forever falling short of the desires I have for work and success and life are filling my days that no amount of road-tripping seems to be able to solve. I’m getting through though. I’m still trying.

I’ve opened up a lot about my anxiety this year. The reactions that I’ve gotten have definitely been mixed. I think that’s why it’s important to continue sharing, though. If someone’s never dealt with mental illness before, it’s hard for them to understand what exactly someone is going through. I get that. But I think it’s time they learn. I think the best thing you can do for yourself is open up about your struggles. And if they don’t hear you, open up again and again and again until they hear you. Because education about mental illness is the biggest thing we do towards ending the stigma.

We don’t need curated lives to look perfect for the world to see (at least I don’t). I think what we need is to be open and honest with one another about the struggles it takes to just be human. Because if we’re human, and I presume we all are (I’ve yet to see any proof of aliens) then being open and honest about the struggles will make the good moments, the beautiful sights, the happy days, feel so much better. We’ll have people to share them with who will truly appreciate them with us.

The more that I see the edited lives of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and so on and so forth, the more I think we’re losing touch with reality in hopes that we can portray our lives to look ‘better than the next person’.

I don’t want to be better than the next person. I just want to be me.

47 thoughts on “The beauty of the beast.

  1. The only thing that helped me make sense of this is a book called “The subtle art of not giving a f***.” In his book, Mark Manson explains why we are supposed to have struggles and problems. Life will always have struggles. Even those people who live effortless lives deal with shit, different shit than we do, but problems nonetheless. Hopefully this book can help you find peace of mind. I’m 2/3 of the way through the book right now and recommend it to anyone struggling with anxiety.

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      1. It’s helped me make sense of the daily shit, what to focus on and what can be eliminated. It’s lessened my anxiety quite a bit but I still get the occasional anxiety attack. AND he has a podcast 😍 someone else mostly reads his articles and that dude has an irritating voice, but I still listen to his podcasts! I’ve also watched his interviews on YouTube – they’re really helpful!

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      2. It’s on iTunes! Many of the podcasts are snippets from the book itself, and he has other life advice that’s good too. I listen to his podcasts when I clean the house….. you’ll know the boring guy who does audiobooks when you hear him. He covers several (but not all) of Mark’s podcasts. The boring guy sounds like someone from the news or an infomercial no one asked to watch. 😂

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      1. YW 🙂 I’m quite messy myself. There’s beauty in the rawness of life. We all have it.. just looks different for everyone. Being honest about it is refreshing and allows other to know us and connect with the REAL you. I love that you do that. 🙂

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      2. Hang in there we’re all a mess, I fight with with bipolar personality disorder and I coming out of the closet finally & I’m scared shitless excuse the language. having passed you by some 35 years I remember being called a freak of nature and the weird kid. an over size elf …. It hurts, but you shy away and live with it. it’s not fun Thanks to a blog by Matthew & you and some other brave souls, I wrote the first of a broken up series on Mental Illness. Hopefully some people like your Aunt, will read & maybe realize you need a little more space & compassion. Don’t ever be afraid to as Charles Schultz drawing of Pigpen has on it “Be yourself” The world will adjust.” Stand tough there are a lot of people standing beside you, you just haven’t seen them In closing , When i was researching my blog on Wikipedia I found out Charles Schultz was a Schizophrenic. & John F. Kennedy was Bipolar so we with mental health stand beside a few rich & famous people.

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  2. Omg, seriously sitting here spiraling into my anxiety at the moment. It hit me so hard this afternoon, just as soon as I gave myself a moment to just be, attempting to let go of the things I can not control but clearly that backfired and I’m a complete mess. Thank you for sharing your struggles today, in this moment, I needed to hear I’m not alone… slowly stepping away from the bed where I was running to hide from the world xoxo

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    1. At the very least, get yourself to the couch. When anxiety attacks, get yourself out of your bed. I know it’s the easiest place to run but it’s the worst place to be – I know that first hand!

      I’m sorry for the anxiety you’re dealing with today. I wish I could give you a hug and just listen to your worries. Sometimes letting them out is the best thing you can do. Please do share yours. It could really help.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, I made myself go outside so currently sitting in the sunshine, attempting to drown out the negativity in my head. I appreciate your genuine support, it really helps to know someone understands and speaks from a place of kindness. Attempting to write it out

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  3. Things I am
    Determined
    Educated
    Strong
    Confident

    Things I am not
    Determined
    Strong
    Confident

    The girl who has it all
    The girl who wants to achieve her dreams
    The girl that lets nothing and everything stop her simultaneously

    A continuous cycle of the both sides of the same damn things

    Launching me forward
    Dragging me back

    Excitment
    Fear

    Excelling
    Hiding

    Chasing
    Running

    Perfecting
    Failing

    Setting priorities
    Cancelling everything

    Self doubt fueled by anxiety

    I can’t see what they see
    The good parts
    The beauty
    Those words don’t exist to me

    The truth of my reality

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    1. Isn’t it crazy how you can both be something and not be something at the same time? Like one part of your personality is intensely strong and another piece of your personality feels so weak you wonder how you can make it through the day?

      This was truly beautiful to read. You should post it to your blog if you haven’t already.

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      1. Yes, I almost certain it should be the definition of insanity lol, I honestly don’t even know how it’s possible to experience it so deeply from both perspectives but I guess we were given that blessing and curse.

        Thank you, I just quickly wrote it out trying to make sense of my thoughts. I will definitely post it. I really appreciate you so so much!!!!

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  4. However.
    Recently, I’ve had occasion to interact with old friends, meet new people, even date, and had relationships shift. I value both etiquette and care toward my conversation partners, taking context into account. It’s important to consider, I don’t want to overwhelm a new friend with what is — granted — a long, wide, complex history filled with people and stories that include remarkable tragedy and unusual events. But I don’t want to be coy about who I am.

    Another friend who is in some trouble and we’re in a quasi-counseling situation, I’ve told her outright that I can’t burden her with depths of hurt in my history, not right now, probably not ever, though I bring it to this moment. At least I’m honest.

    My lovely date, I said outright, this is untimely overflow not suited to right now so I will try to titrate our conversation without pretending I’m not overwhelmed by recent difficulties that affect me deeply. Bear with me, please, I appreciate your forbearance.

    Anyone who’s been a responder knows about compartmentalizing. When there’s trouble, it’s not the time to run your own mental movie, but if it can’t be stopped, you have to acknowledge that it’s causing interference. Your mother just died? That has to wait. (Death is probably easier in a sense, it’s over, and it happens to everyone.)

    Seemingly innocuous topics can be minefields for some. We manners addicts work this, it’s our bread and butter. My family operates on this basis, sometimes going too far into silence, sometimes bursting out in anger or what we’d call “inappropriate” areas. It depends, takes some talent, and responsibility falls on everyone to navigate these waters.

    That said, one of the worst popular phrases now is, “No Drama”. Might as well ask a person not to be human. Get a robot.

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  5. I like a little messy. For example, don’t you want to tousle the hair of those who have every hair in place? Or see a food stain on the perfectly dressed? I decided a long time ago perfection was an impossible goal for me, so it was time to redirect my focus. I’ll strive for kind, fun, helpful, adventurous, loyal, a good friend….those kinds of things. I’m not perfect, but my goal is more attainable.

    I don’t struggle with anxiety, but certainly have gone through some anxious periods. Now I’m big on “What’s the worse thing that can happen?” If I can handle it, and I have yet to find anything I couldn’t when I really thought it through, then why not just enjoy the here and now? Even if I can’t handle it, why prolong the pain? Find joy in today instead.

    Being older and a bit more forgetful than you, I say go ahead and Instagram those moments…..or better yet, write them down. Blog about them. You think you’ll never forget, and you do. Don’t do it for how you look to others, but so you remember. It’s also a great way to see just how far you’ve come. I put a lot on Facebook, and it’s fun to see my 20-something nieces (the youngest three) when I took them to their first concert. It’s fun to run across little silly moments I spent with my dad (who died at the end of 2016.j It’s fun to see me in countries I had forgotten I had gone to (I know! How can that happen?) and remembrances of fun things I have done. You’re making your history. Living it is enough, but there will come a time when you’ve done so many cool things you have forgotten some of them and will wish you had a historical record. You have so many avenues to record them….use them!

    Oh….and don’t strive to win as much as participate. So much less stressful. If you don’t win it’s not a big deal, but you may win anyway!

    And by the way, unedited you seems pretty great!

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    1. You’ve touched on some very important topics here.

      I am a big into journaling. I have journals dating back from when I was a teenager, just… like a chronological depiction of my life and times. Hopefully that’ll help my memories one day if I begin forgetting! But I’m the type of person who goes to a concert and sees all of the people with their phones out and I can’t help but think… ‘you’re missing this! put your phones away and experience this!’ I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me but I’d rather experience the concert than have a low-res cell phone video of it for social media…

      You’re absolutely right though in the sense of trying to look at things like ‘what’s the worst that can happen’? And reminding myself I can handle it. I hope to reach a point with my anxiety in which I can look at things in a way that allows me to know I can manage them in a way similar to what you’ve described. It’s a good goal to have.

      Thank you for your kindness and for taking the time to write me a thought provoking note. I needed it tonight! ❤

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  6. I couldn’t agree more, we need a lot more transparency from everyone about exactly what they’re going through. Then, the people who are struggling a little more because they feel alone, less worthy or less well-off will see that the majority of people aren’t the picture-perfect versions they paint of themselves on social media. We could all benefit from being a little bit more honest and open.

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  7. Like you I suffer from depression, stress, anxiety a lot of the time it seems to take over my life despite me trying to keep myself occupied. Problem is I am at home a great deal on my own. My 4 children having grown up and living their own lives now, I see my daughter as I have my grandson a couple of times a week and as much as I love and adore him he’s only 18 months I find it so tiring. I wonder how I managed to raise 4 great children.
    I am disabled with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia more so I think with the OA so I live in pain everyday, I take opiate pain relief to try and keep it at a minimum some days the pain takes over. I cross stitch normally which helps with my anxiety but had hand surgery recently for the fifth time and the hands aren’t liking me stitching as much but it is one think I refuse to give up. I already gave up a career in nursing many years ago, I tried university studying criminology but couldn’t do the travelling so again had to give up.
    I was abused in my marriage, I was raped whilst on medication that would knock me out and I would wake having been stripped of my pj’s and my now ex was having sex with me or should I say my body. But he told me I came on to him. How that works when you are completely asleep and out of it I don’t know. This led to five attempts at ending my life as I couldn’t handle this abuse any longer. Obviously I didn’t succeed almost did on one occasion. I found a way out of the marriage, I told the police but nothing could be done as they claim it was he said/she said. So how does this work with all these celebrities what proof do they have! Baffles me. Of course my children don’t see that I was raped as this is their dad despite him not being a good dad.
    I now live alone and my anxiety is trapping me in my home unless I have someone to come out with me and as I have no friends locally that means relying on my daughter but as she works and has a little boy and husband we don’t always have the chance.
    I lost my sister last December to cancer and told myself life is too short and I need to start to live it but I can’t seem to make that thought a reality. Seeing other people’s photos of trips they have done alone amazes me it is difficult when you are disabled going it alone, I’m not a lover of driving, my car has sat outside and not moved for two months at least, because it’s also a little distance from my home to my car I can’t just hop in it and go shopping as I then can’t carry the shopping from the car to my home. People may say snap out of it, I really wish I could but each day I feel myself becoming more socially isolated. So reading your posts I get it. Life is tough, nothing is easy.
    All I can hope is that at some stage something will change and things will get better. One thing keeping me going right now is that I am having a day out next week with my daughter. We are going in the train to London to see the matinee performance of Les Miserables in concert with a great amount of stars including Michael Ball who I have loved for over 25 years now. I know I won’t be able to move for a couple of days afterwards. But it will be so worth it.
    Take care, sorry this is such a long message hadn’t meant to waffle on. But these things should be out there, people should be aware it’s not just celebrities who face these challenges but everyday people. Everyday there is probably some man controlling his wife, there maybe wives controlling men, it does happen.
    But also mental health still needs to be pushed forward because more and more people are struggling with it, because of the pressures on life nowadays, whether it be finances, family whatever it’s hard work.
    Jackie

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  8. I’ll completely second that. Vee, just a couple of days back I heard the Ted talk of Susan David where she talked about , ” Say no to false positivity.” I would say that we have to be much more acceptable in our own eyes and embrace all emotions positive or negative. I don’t know if that’s not self care and respect enough, then what is. Keep writing 😊

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  9. I couldn’t agree with you more on this post. Social media can be toxic, especially if someone is trying to make their life look fabulous when it really isn’t.

    I mainly use social media to either market myself authentically or to keep up with my friends, usually with funny memes they post.

    So sorry about the anxiety you’re experiencing my friend! That’s one of the hardest things to battle. Keep on fighting! Sending you a digital hug. 🙂

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  10. Hi…the concept you are deceiving reminds me of the lyrics from the song Joy and Pain. It goes…. “joy and pain, are like sunshine, and rain.” It’s that opposite of being able to feel joy from pain…or like in the movie “inside out”, the character Joy realizes that she can’t exist without the character Sadness…both have to exist….the yin and the yang…

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  11. Well said. People are trying to portray themselves which they are actually not. They are busy living in the virtual world rather than actually living the moments and life. People have become desperate attention seeker, they just want to grab other people’s attention anyhow. They have lost their originality.

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