I woke up in the middle of the night last night driving. Apparently I needed to take a long drive to talk to myself about some things and clear some things up for myself. I do it when I’m awake so it makes sense to do it when I’m asleep, right?
So there I lay in bed, fully unconscious, with my right hand on a shifter and my left foot clutching (when you don’t have a left foot you can still clutch in your dreams without a prosthetic, assistive devices, or paddle shifters, by the way) when I started to struggle to get that thing into reverse.
My dream car is apparently German engineering, based on the downward push you need to give to the stick to get it into R.
Audi, maybe… Volkswagen… Porsche… Mercedes-Benz… BMW?! It’s a mystery but I’m leaning toward the Audi.
It was the struggle that woke me up, but what came with my amusement at taking a midnight drive was the clarity I hadn’t had for what I had been contemplating when I went to sleep.
I’ve spent most of the first two weeks of the new year in contemplation over some truth I spoke to someone I’m close to that revealed more, I think, than what they had bargained for when the conversation started. I’m good at doing that, by the way, if you don’t know me personally:
I can see things really clearly and at times will speak an unfathomable amount of truth at you about all your things, remembering details even you don’t remember about yourself and things that happened once, pulling in details that you didn’t know existed as the proof, and generally seeing much more than you ever expected.
Perceptive powers and ridiculous memory are two of my superpowers.
Speaking truth is another.
I admit it.
Also I control the weather.
It’s true. I didn’t want to deal with snow and ice with crutches so I sent it all elsewhere. You’re welcome for the lovely winter weather, my mild winter loving friends in the south! I hope you get many a Snow Day and that you remember how to properly spend them!!
Anyway, I’ve wrestled with these superpowers of mine many times and more than once I’ve been tempted to hide them altogether, willing myself to ignore the truth they reveal and willing myself to drown in the depths of words left unspoken.
You all know what I’m talking about even if you don’t have the same superpowers. You didn’t say what you felt, what you wanted, what you needed, what you saw, what you desired. You let the words stay trapped inside your head and your heart. You let the opportunity slip away only for those words to sit inside and haunt you with their whisperings of “what if” and “if only”.
When your superpower is speaking truth that comes from far more perceptive observation than people tend to enjoy being the object of and a memory that doesn’t let go, it can get uncomfortable… at least it can for adults.
Children are remarkably delighted to be seen clearly and understood.
They feel it is magical to have an adult look at them and see the truth that they don’t even know how to articulate.
It makes them feel loved to have that superpower used on them.
Well, maybe it’s the result of decades of insecurities and truths left unspoken, but adults don’t seem to appreciate it quite as much.
I realized at a fairly young age that I was different in how I viewed the world and how I understood people and relationships. I saw things others were oblivious to. I recognized subtleties that passed others by and saw truth where others perceived the well presented lies. Even as a child I was calculating and logical while others were emotional. That isn’t to say I was ever cold or that I missed out on the emotions every one of us was tortured by in our youths, or that I didn’t have my own wildly uncomfortable emotions as I coped with living in a world I knew I saw differently. My experiences have always been different. I knew as a teenager that being pretty and charming while also being wickedly smart and seeing the world so differently than my peers were not generally qualities accepted in conjunction with one another, especially when one brings uncomfortable truth, and I knew it was desirable that one be one thing or the other, but not both. I don’t think that has changed much in the last 20-something years.
Being wickedly perceptive and intelligent on top of a smile and personality few can resist is rather a serious combination.
So even as an adult I have had moments where I wrestled with myself about whether I should have let myself show through or whether I should have played dumb. I even sat down to write about it earlier this week thinking I should have played that one dumb, but the words that came out were comical proof that the idea of hiding wasn’t coming from deep within me:
Oops. I did it again.
Brittney?! Really, sarcastic subconscious, you couldn’t pick something less Brittney?!?
Stand still, look pretty.
The Wreckers… that’s a little bit better!
I can’t even think those two lines with a straight face. I get an irritating valley girlesque, psudomillennial tone in the voice in my head that automatically starts my eyes rolling. Any regular reader here knows that these do not herald with my voice. So while I’ve coped with a fever raging over 100 and some rather unpleasant symptoms of the flu since those ridiculous words almost come out, I’ve been reading my own blog, contemplating my choices, and not putting a single purposefully or even accidentally coherent word to paper. In my reading I found some wisdom that I somehow managed to accidentally drop several months back that spoke to exactly what I was contemplating.
My greatest thought in retrospect about what was said was questioning whether I should have kept my superpower to myself. It doesn’t matter that the words were kind and well intentioned, they revealed a facet few have seen in how much I see and remember. Should I have kept my mouth shut? Mmmmm… I kept hearing words inside my head that seemed familiar but that’s because I wrote them over two months ago:
In all of these it is so much easier to say nothing than it is say something, especially when you’re too busy overthinking your words or trying to guess how they will be received.
I’ve been told once or twice that I’m rather forward and cheeky, which I’m usually also told is refreshing. I believe I am my happiest when I’m the most authentic and that authenticity comes from truth. That’s where my forwardness comes from: being authentic.
What could be more authentic then speaking your truth to someone?
Oh Gwen, there you were, chatting away, being You with all your ~Ness and steppin’ on toes speakin’ all that truth…
As I read my own words I marveled at what I wrote because it was just so damned pertinent:
I think oftentimes what stops us from speaking our truths and letting our feelings be known is a fear that the words we have are not the right words: they’re not eloquent enough, witty enough, smart enough, clear enough, strong enough, thought out enough… just “not enough”. But this “not enough” mindset comes from insecurity and fear, and letting yourself be stopped by this fear is limiting your ability to have meaningful interactions and relationships with those you encounter daily and those in your close circle.
I’m not at all saying that the sense of difficulty in communicating or the feeling that the words one has are “not good enough” are invalid. Not even remotely. I deal with them constantly. I wrestled with those feelings all week because I was too sick to type and therefore missing one of the things that makes words clear in my own mind (because I really do think better with a keyboard under my fingers or a pencil in my hand).
What I am saying is that there is a difference between seeing that difficulty in feeling the words are not just right, incoherent, and not enough as a result of a personality temperament ~ where the deepest Gwen is shy and hidden away from the world, only letting who she wills into the green room and onto the party bus, while surface Gwen dazzles and glamours everyone she meets as she rocks out on stage ~ and seeing it as a lack of ability ~ where Gwen can do some things with some words if she can find the right ones but utterly fails when she can’t find them at all doesn’t mean she can’t do things with them but only means she needs the right words to work with first. Different temperaments and personality types tend to have different strengths associated with them but abilities, talents, these things are not so easily defined and determined. Choosing to ascribe that sense of difficulty in finding the *right words* to a lack of ability is a limiting mindset that results in limiting ourselves in our personal and professional lives because ultimately it hobbles us in the depth we could seek to achieve in said relationships.
I know it is far easier to keep words inside when we fear they don’t adequately express what we feel and what we see.
In my case, the temptation is to keep them inside because they will likely reveal far more than what is expected.
Whatever the case, we still have the choice to brave possible rejection for speaking honestly about what is within ourselves or limit ourselves thereby limiting possible joy and success from acceptance of our truth by the Other.
I don’t know if I got it right the other day or not.
Only time will tell.
But I do know that overall, I think I’d rather be rejected for being authentic than to be accepted for pretending to be someone I’m not or for hiding who I am.