At some point I discovered that people project themselves on other people. If someone trusts you, you can probably trust them. If they accuse you of lying, they probably lie.
This makes sense because you’re naturally going to expect that other people think similarly to you – why would they lie about that? Right?
Good question, self, and we may never know the answer.
There is a time in adolescence that one may lie to protect the image that they’re so carefully crafting. Maybe that bleeds into adulthood, I don’t know, because it didn’t for me.
While I have never been a very private person, there was a point post-high school when I made a conscious decision to, in so many words, tell everyone everything all the time. This frequently catches people off guard and they think that I am weird. That is fine.
My reasoning for doing this is simple: if I tell everyone everything, then no one has anything to say about me that I won’t say about myself. Of course there a few holes in this theory, like personal perceptions of me. That’s fine, too. But no one will be able to hold something over my head; no one can blackmail me with stupid mistakes that I have made.
And oh, yes, I have made mistakes. I am not at peace with all of them, but funnily enough it helps when I talk about them. Someone may ask me, “hey I heard [insert stupid thing].” I will say, “Yes, unfortunately I did do/say that.” Sometimes I will even willingly bring them up myself with absolutely no prompting by the oft-reluctant receiver of my confessions.
This is exactly why I am so caught off guard when I hear something about myself that is 100% fabricated. Why do people waste their time? Don’t they know that if I had done that, I’d probably have written an article about it already?
I know that this trait can be off-putting for people that don’t know me well. People think that I’m an attention-seeker, for example. While I do tend to welcome the spotlight, this isn’t the method I use to go about getting it. Maybe people are suspicious of the things I say exactly because I am so forthright. Understandable. And I have come to the conclusion that that is okay. There is no way to come off the way you want to everyone – even if the way you want to come off is “genuine.”
I believe that shouting my insecurities, faults, failures diminishes the impact they make on myself internally. Things become diluted. It’s not the response of the listening party that helps, (“You’re making a bigger deal out of this than it is.”) rather it’s the expulsion of the words from my psyche. This is also why I write, and have been doing so for about 20 years now.
It’s not uncommon for me to ask my best friend, “Chelsi, can you come over and listen to the things that keep me awake at night?”
My haunts are not born from any trauma that I’ve been through—I process those as they come—it’s that awkward thing that I said to you at the bar that one time. If I know you, you’ve probably been the subject of my obsessive rumination at least once… some of you, much more frequently.
And maybe you have realized by now, this is a confession. I am actively pushing my anxieties outward. You’re welcome. You’re now one of the unwitting parties that I thrust myself upon.
And finally I leave you with something that I discovered recently. An outro in a Childish Gambino song that blew my mind into a million pieces:
“This isn’t a story about how girls are evil or how love is bad, this is a story about how I learned something and I’m not saying this thing is true or not, I’m just saying it’s what I learned. I told you something. It was just for you and you told everybody. So I learned cut out the middle man, make it all for everybody, always. Everybody can’t turn around and tell everybody, everybody already knows, I told them.”