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Who Are You?

I read a post recently by Sarah Landry, blogger and influencer who many of you are familiar with- her social media handle is The Birds Papaya. Sarah is an advocate for feeling good in the skin you’re gifted, acceptance of people from all walks of life, showing kindness and grace, and the empowerment of women around the world. This particular post was about who we are. Sarah stated: “Who are you?”

Is so quickly followed with “What do you do?”

Which makes every point of a life a variable of

*who we are* based on *what we’re doing*. (Taken from @thebirdspapaya on Instagram)

As I read through the entirety of her post here, I felt the familiar sensation of my eyes welling up with tears (which they do so often since I’ve come through successful trauma healing) and I wondered, who do people think I am? And- the need to be seen and heard is at the core of human existence since the day we were created. Why else would our ancestors leave behind stories, drawings etched in stone, songs telling of history, and scrolls containing lineage? The tears I felt were from the realization that although we connect on social media and even through brief meetings with friends or acquaintances, does anyone truly know us? Right now, especially in this current world of cruel intentions and keyboard warriors, we desperately need connections and kindness. I thought of the people I’m friends with on social media and I asked myself if I really know you, or her, or he, or they.

For instance, I know “Jen” (cue obvious name change.) I know Jen has 3 kids. I know she works for the county. I know she is divorced but I only know that because her profile says she’s single, whereas in years before, I remember it saying she was married. Plus, there are no more pictures of her with her kids and husband. Now there are only pictures of her with her children, and I see his new profile pop up in my “recommendations.” Jen lives in Duluth. She likes plants, I know that because she’s always posting her beautiful green friends basking in the sun. Yet, despite all of this, I don’t really know Jen. In realizing this, I couldn’t ignore the fact that people probably have similar experiences with me. This realization led to a feeling of “does anybody care” and so on and so forth. Bear in mind that ever since I’ve gone to therapy, I’m often in my feelings and I’m still navigating turning full plunges into productive pondering.

When people post things like “20 things about me” on social media, I love it. I really do! It gives me a chance to at least get to know things about someone that may present a commonality or a silly side to them that I never knew existed. Recently, I wrote a book about my journey from trauma to healing, and the amount of support I received was overwhelming, as were the private messages sent to me by people who experienced similar things. I was keenly aware through writing my book that the “me” that I put on social media, is merely a shell and shadow of who I actually am. Writing my book would kick the door open and give access to the “me” that very few are allowed to see.

We give certain people access to our real selves, and after that, there is another secret true self that only we are aware of- the self that is fraught with imperfections, secret up-close mirror observations, nose picking, armpit smelling, silent judgements, name-calling, evil thinking... the list goes on and on. That’s the person who we don’t even give our spouses, lovers, and closest friends access to. Our deepest thoughts are reserved for ourselves only, and sometimes we think, if people knew the depravity I’m capable of, would they still like me? Because of this fear, are we perpetuators of our own sad and lonely existence, and how much does social media play into that?

We put ourselves out there on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or Snapchat according to how we want to be perceived. I don’t like to post a lot of personal things on Facebook, because back in the day, many people used Facebook just like a diary, and pretty soon I knew soooo much about your ex, his new girlfriend he cheated on you with, and how you are now a “nightmare disguised as a daydream.” Some people were getting so personal and telling the world their business, and it received mostly backlash. Why? Isn’t this how we get to know people? Is this not someone being “real” about their situation? When is sharing too much – well, too much? And who makes the rules about oversharing?

Did you know that oversharing often times comes from the desire to connect with people? It can also come from anxiety, and in many instances, people don’t even realize they are doing it until after the fact. This can lead to feelings of embarrassment or vulnerability. In some cases, the over-sharer doesn’t have a sense of boundaries, due to trauma or the inability to read a room because of trauma. (It usually ALL circles back to trauma.) Over-sharers sometimes come from a family of talkers, or maybe they were not heard as a child in their family, and now the need to be heard is overwhelming.

People overshare for so many different reasons, and it comes down to a few things for me when dealing with this kind of thing. One, why is it making me uncomfortable? Two, am I allowing previous judgmental feelings to determine my attitude toward the person who is doing the oversharing? Three, am I able to show grace in this situation, or is it actually invading a boundary? When asking these questions in just about any situation, I’m reminded of how cruel we can be as people, and how often we act without really thinking something through.

I can’t complain about not really knowing people, and then be upset when they share intimate details of their lives. There has to be a balance here. I don’t even know what the point of this blog is, except to maybe ask for grace if I’m ever the over-sharer, and to remind each of us to extend more grace in moments where someone’s 5th wordy post of the day shows up on our timelines. We don’t ever really know what someone is experiencing behind the scenes. We are so much more than “where we work” and “what we do” and “where we live.”

So in honor of sharing a bit more than my usual food porn, and in honor of Sarah Landry's vision, here are a bunch of tidbits you may or may not enjoy learning about me:

- I am not athletic, in fact, I duck if a ball is thrown my way.

- When I’m in a sauna, I’m bored to death. I sit there only because it feels good and I know it’s good for me... but I'm really, really, really bored out of my gourd.

- I’m insecure about not having a college degree, and so I make up for that by reading a lot, and learning as much as I can about things.

- I love singing Karaoke, and my go-to songs are “Raincoat” by Kelly Sweet, “Russian Roulette” by Rihanna, and “Creep” (the Kina Grannis version).

- I took about 7 years of piano and can play very well, but I absolutely detest playing in front of people.

- Pomegranates are my favorite fruit. I think they’re kind of sexy. I also love mangos!

- When I was a little girl, I once threw my favorite toy dog across the room, and I felt horrible. I picked Toby up and cried and apologized over and over. To this day that memory kind of makes me feel bad.

- Previous trauma has made it so I always have to be able to see the door of the bedroom if I’m in the master bathroom, I constantly glance over my shoulder if my treadmill faces the window and away from the gym entrance, I’m aware that a female has about 35 seconds to get in her car and have it locked to be somewhat safe in a parking ramp, and I keep my eyes open in the shower in case someone tries to attack me. (I’m working on these things)

- I sing things to the people I love that are made up little songs and limericks about them. Mostly I sing to my dogs but sometimes I’ll sing to Devante and Brianna just out of the blue.

- One of my favorite comfort foods consists of grilled cheese on sourdough bread and a bowl of creamy tomato soup.

- I believe mermaids exist, or at least existed. (I actually do, and this is a rabbit hole you can ask me about if you REALLY want to know!)

- I buy most things used or thrifted if I can and have taught my kids to do the same.

- I love, love, love to load the dishwasher and I try to do it very cleverly each time.

- I’m working on not judging people who make their whole personality about something they enjoy doing. (Wine time – this used to be me until I realized everything I was putting out there had to do with wine, as if I had nothing else to my personality whatsoever. Boy moms, girl dads, Disney Adults ... you get the picture.) I’m trying to show more grace in general. It’s exhausting! Hahaha

- If there’s a bowl of mixed nuts, I’m usually hoping to get most of the pecans!

- I’m an ordained minister.

- I feel like my Mexican food is the best, and I haven't found a Spanish rice that beats my Grandma Dee's recipe!

- I have 3 brothers named Aaron. This is actually true.

In conclusion, I thank those of you who do share on social media and are brave enough to let the world see you! Stay in the light! For those of you who are more private, I respect your boundaries and I hope my sharing isn't ever too jarring! Positive energy invites positivity. Shine on people, shine on.

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