A few months ago, I read a post on the Travel Babbles blog that really resonated with me… Kym posted a list of 18 things that she’d been too afraid to blog about. You can read that post here: http://www.travel-babbles.com/2013/12/18-things-that-ive-been-too-afraid-to-publish-here.html
The thing is, so much of what Kym wrote is the way that I feel and that’s what makes her feel truly relatable and real to me… Like her, I’ve created lots of posts that I’ve never had the courage to post, whether it be for fear of backlash, losing friends, appearing too negative or simply just because I wasn’t sure I was ready to share those things with the world. But today I’m going to be honest about these things because I feel like it’s time. I may be judged, ex-communicated, lose friends or whatever but I think now is the time to set aside any embarrassment and express the vulnerability I feel way too often. I’ve noticed that my more personally revealing blog posts get way more traffic and comments than my architecture ones and I’m not sure why that is, but this is supposed to be cathartic and far less expensive than therapy. Haha. Here goes:
I don’t trust many people. I can count them on one hand. But regardless of the fact that I can’t trust people, it never stops me giving them 2nd, 5th, 19th chances when they do something wrong by me …. because although it’s been proven a thousand times over that people don’t change, I still think they can. I can’t decide if it’s compassion or stupidity.
Like Kym, I too find myself avoiding Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other social media where people share their perfect lives, relationships, children etc. It brings up feelings of envy that make me really uncomfortable because there’s so much left to achieve in life and I feel like I’m past my ‘use-by’ date. I know it’s not right but sometimes I just need to remove myself from the barrage of perfection because my life is the antithesis of that.
I have Bipolar Disorder. I’ve struggled with it since my late teens. Sometimes I feel like the birthplace stamped on my passport should say ‘Hell’. Every day is a challenge because I’m constantly thinking, negotiating and managing inside my head to appear ‘normal’… but it has never, in 12 years of professional practice, affected my work. If anything, I work harder through the really bad times as a form of managing it. The medication helps but it’s not infallible. It makes it incredibly hard to have a relationship and it’s exhausting. People say it is a gift because when they are manic, they are über-creative, achieve a million things and are happy beyond belief to the point of recklessness. I don’t get that. I just get deep, infuriating irritation where the world isn’t moving fast enough for me and I can’t sleep for days and I’m essentially a powder keg of explosive anger. Regardless, the highs can be addictive because of the creativity and energy that comes with it. The lows are something I can’t put into words. These last much longer and my thoughts frequently go to places that terrify me. I shut myself away from the world. I sometimes have to force myself to sit still for hours until the thoughts start to become rational and less scary. But if I didn’t tell people, they wouldn’t know I have it. I’ve just gotten really good at ‘coping’. I worry that it makes me unlovable and unworthy and I worry that I may never be a wife and a mother because of it.
I have a continuous internal monologue, largely because of the above… That little voice can be hyper-critical or soothing, depending on where my head is at. I can’t shut it up, even when something important is happening but that doesn’t mean I’m not listening and the compassion, sympathy, love (etc) that I express isn’t 100% real. It’s just accompanied by internal bloody commentary.
I’ve been awake 11 of the last 13 nights because of my studies. It made me wish I was dead. I don’t know if other people experience the same torture over the workload but I think those who organise the studying of architecture and design have a lot to answer for. If you strip the joy from it, you are taking away what is beautiful about the profession. And are you really getting the best from people when the workload is so huge that they turn in crap because of the amount they have to juggle? I’m a trained professional with over a decade worth of experience and I struggle… If I’m struggling, how in God’s name are others coping?
People say that my architectural studies are easier for me because I have previous design experience. I call bullshit. It makes it torture because I know what needs to be included, fleshed out, detailed and made clear. That takes months in the real world and I’m trying to turn it out in weeks. It’s a case where ignorance is bliss because I just make it flippin’ hard for myself.
The older I get, the less I like people. People scare me because they’re unpredictable. In saying that, I find I’m more tolerant, even if it annoys me beyond belief. I am extremely introverted and getting more so as I get older.
I love teaching. I hoped to bypass that trait in my family (everyone is a teacher in my family except me) but now that I’m tutoring, I love being able to help people learn and develop new skills and ways of thinking. If I thought the work could be sustained over a long period of time, I’d quit my studies and just teach. If the reality of working in architecture is anything like the studying of it, I want out.
I am mortally afraid of failure. That’s part of the reason why I work so hard. The pressure doesn’t come from anywhere else – my parents and tutors don’t push me, they tell me to slow down. I don’t know how to be less intense because I’m desperate to do well in the one thing that defines me. Irrational but true.
I’m currently at my heaviest weight ever and the exhaustion is making me look a decade older than I am. I am SO uncomfortable in my own skin that I can’t look in the mirror because I hate what I see so much. It makes me cry. I miss being slender and wearing nice clothes and appearing confident. It hurts to do things like wash my hair… everything feels like a 20km run. My internal monologue has a field day with this one. I miss the old me.
Last Monday, I cried… No, I sobbed… like I’ve never cried before. I’d had 4 hours sleep in 8 days trying to get my Design project done. I’d finished at 1pm on the due date and all that was left to do was PDF the panels and print. And my Illustrator file crashed. In a big way. I couldn’t open it, save it, edit it without the program ‘hanging’ and going into a death spiral. The stress of the moment and the fact that I’d stopped taking my medication caused an episode like I haven’t experienced in years. As a result, I was 20 mins late getting to the presentations, which means I get 0. After all my hard work, a torturous amount of sleep deprivation and a very scary BP episode , I get 0. You can’t imagine the level of disappointment and self hatred that was going on inside me. I wanted to throw myself off the top of P Block. FML.
I’m scared to fall in love again. I don’t want my happiness to be dependent on someone else’s thoughts, words and actions.
Arrogant people make me want to punch them in the face. Especially those without reason to be arrogant. A bit of humility never goes astray, people!!
I hate injustice. I hate bullies. I hate that people have the power to deliberately make others miserable.
I am eternally grateful to be surrounded with the friends I have now. They love me, warts and all, and I return that. They make all the above seem bearable, no matter how soul-destroying some of it can be.
And so that’s all for now. And I did it all without having to lie on a therapist’s couch and talk about my feelings. Don’t judge me too harshly…!!!! It’s just that it’s easy to hide behind a wall of perfection when you’re blogging and that’s not really how the world works. Everything is filtered and shiny but reality rarely gets a look in.