Protecting Our Pain

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I know how hard it is to show up as yourself in this world. It’s almost like you’re getting pushed back into your little corner every time you try to show yourself. Feel familiar?

You share something vulnerable with someone, and they don’t respond in a way that makes you feel accepted. So, your fears are validated, and you retreat. Know anyone like that? It’s like we’re meerkats that keep trying to come up out of our holes, and then quickly return to the dark tunnel underground where it’s safe.I want to share something with you that has given me the words to write this post right now.

About a year ago, I had done a few shows back to back where I interviewed a few gay men who also happen to be drag queens. I also interviewed a recovering drug addict, a trans man, and a woman who shared her story about living with Bipolar. Someone said something to me that made me reflect a bit. “Nina, I don’t know if someone’s mentioned this before, but for a white, cis hetero woman, you seem to interview people that are nothing like you.”I thought for a while, and I couldn’t come up with an answer as to why that was. Then, I realized why. Those guests actually were VERY much “like me”. I can see why, at the surface, there seems to be more differences than similarities. But, if you look deeper – that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ya see, NONE of us lead the same life. That’s impossible. You know what’s VERY possible, though? Experiencing similar (or even exact) emotions as other people. True, they can be caused by different things – but as humans, the one thing we DO have in common, is that we FEEL. Am I gay? Nope. Trans? Nope. A Drag Queen? Nope. Recovering addict? Nope. Do I struggle with Bipolar? Nope. But, you know what?

I DO know what it feels like to fear rejection if I vulnerably shared a part of who I was.

I DO know what it’s like to wish that a part of me would just “go away” so I didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

I DO know what it’s like to have a brain that works in a way that isn’t “typical”.

I DO know what it’s like to wear a mask for so damn long that sometimes I even forgot who I was.

Authenticity is the greatest human filter out there. When you work through the fear, the discomfort, and the vulnerability, little by little you will start to attract others who have been waiting for someone just like you to connect with. Is it easy? Fu*k no. Will everyone understand you? Nope. Will everyone stick around? Nope. Will be people judge you? Uh huh.

I know it’s scary. God, do I know it’s scary. However, I’ve learned that people can only see each other through the darkness, when at least one of them holds up a flashlight. So, just know that mine is always on. ❤

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