Holding Back


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I’m not really sure how to begin this post. It comes from deep inside and somethings are hard to share, for the exact same reasons I’m about to write about. Please bear with me as I try to explain the problem I’ve faced for years.

I fall short  to myself everyday, because I hold back. I hold back all sorts of things because I’m afraid of being hurt.

Some of you know me personally; if you’re lucky enough, you might have had the chance to see me come out of my mature, dignified shell that I wear when I’m out in public and let loose my silly bubble-brained sarcastic self, my real self. I don’t show this real self of minf in public that often; depending on who’s around, what’s going on and my mood from the last twelve hours.

I should be like my best friend and be my real self all the time, no matter where I’m at, what I’m doing; no matter what story I’m writing, or what person I’m talking to… no matter what.

But I’m afraid.

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It’s not a silly fear. It’s happened to me before and that’s why I’m so cautious.

I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m afraid of what people will say, or think or react to the real, weird, awkward, silly me. I’m afraid of writing certain things, speaking different things, afraid of being myself on the center stage of life.

We live in a judgmental world, but the world I live in seems extra tight because my family’s circles run in different Reformed Christian circles. And don’t get me wrong, I love the Reformed faith, and I believe in it with all my heart. It’s just that… other people’s standards always seem so high. How can you be yourself when it looks like you’re thinking “unbiblically” or “wordly” from other people’s point of view.  Black Widow and Princess Leia are feminists, you shouldn’t like them! You listen to more then just hymns and classical music; don’t you know all pop music is bad? Ect, ect…. Do you see the problem? Not all my reformed friends are like this, I don’t even see the people who have often ‘attacked’ me like this anymore but it’s still left a mark behind to hide who I really am and what I really like and what I really think.

It’s hard to come out and be real when you’re afraid of looking like the typical back-sliding Christian teenager hitting adult hood when nothing could be further from the truth.

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It’s just hard to be yourself anywhere, right? It’s hard to live up to the things you like and enjoy and not let other people bully you into something else just because it doesn’t reach their standards. It’s hard being real around others because I’m afraid they won’t like me anymore if they find out I’m awkward, scatter-brained and clumsy.  I’m afraid to be real.

I hold back from showing my real feelings to people as well. Because I’m afraid of loosing them. I’m afraid of being vulnerable to people because that often and almost always means pain in the future. I’m afraid of growing attached to people because sooner or later I will loose them and in a sense I will loose a part of myself. There are people in my life whom I know I should open up more too, whom I should show just how much they really do mean to me.  But I don’t. I wear different masks with different people, masks of indifference. Sometimes I attempt to say how much I appreciate or how much I do care but it is poorly communicated

But I have to stop being afraid.

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I have to stop being worried about being judged by others and I have to stop being afraid of pain because I will always feel pain in the end. I have to tell people just how much they mean to me even if it might seem awkward. I have give my honest opinions and stop trying to please everyone.

I have to be a real person, a flawed person because that’s who I am. I have to stop trying to be the perfect model girl because no one can reach that point of perfection because perfect girls aren’t real and real girls aren’t perfect.

No, I shouldn’t just live with my flaws, I have to be constantly renewed; I have to learn from my mistakes and move on and not live in sin. But I can’t live trying to be something that I’m not.

This is what I want to work on in 2013, this is a resolution-like post, this is what I’ve been trying to say.

This year, I need to learn to be me. All the time. No matter who is watching and no matter who is judging and no matter what other think. I need to stop hiding my real feelings, I need to tell people how much I appreciate them, I need give love more. I need to stop being afraid, I need to stop buckling under…

I need to stop holding back.

tumblr_m0zhz69Mr01rn9s25o1_500~Jamie

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22 thoughts on “Holding Back

  1. Oh, now you’re gonna make me cry….*sob*….have you been eavesdropping on frustrated conversations at my house?!

    I can’t say that I’ve found the solution in my own life over this, Jamie…like you I’m scared to be ME around other families. Which is a little scary, since I’m at the age where…ahem…the prospect of courtship/marriage is no longer an impossible one. How am I ever going to become friends with someone if I’m scared out of my wits to be the way I am around my brothers and sisters? And here’s another thing: how can I be MYSELF when my interests may prove a “stumbling block” to other families? (Meaning, their convictions prohibit them from enjoying these things–they’ll be DEFILED!!–and they think I’m “sinful” or “backwards” for enjoying it.)

    Like you, I’m not really in an environment any longer where I’m actually “attacked” over these things; I don’t see those people very often anymore. (I’m in a somewhat different situation than you, though, because I’ve never been in a “Reformed circle.” We’re loners out here in Louisiana, hehe…there are very few Reformed islands in a sea of Catholics and Arminian Southern Baptists, or so it seems.) But those attacks, I think, crippled me (and my siblings, too!). I’m not shy, but I’m scared of rejection and/or ridicule; I won’t go into a deep conversation with ANYONE unless I feel comfortable with them. And I worry about what people think about me…what they say about me behind my back…especially at Christmastime when we’re with lots of family members who don’t see eye-to-eye with us on a lot of things.

    Your courage to be you is admirable, and might be the key to my own questions and worries. Although of course I wouldn’t force my interests/convictions on anyone else, should I hide those interests as I’m getting to know new friends? No, probably not. God has made me who I am, and while I’m sure he’ll continue to change and mold me into the person He ultimately wants me to be…I should be confident in the PERSONALITY, INTERESTS, and CONVICTIONS I know He gave me.

    Whew, loooooooong comment. Thank you thank you thank you so much for the post. It blessed me so much. *gives Jamie a big cyberspace hug*

    1. *is sobbing invisible tears because she is not alone*

      EXACTLY! You understand what I mean; I’m not afraid of being judged by people outside the faith, I’m afraid of being judged by people of similiar faith but with different standards. This is how I feel—crippled is a good word for it. I also am entering the age of married-hopefully-soon and so this whole problem of hiding my real self worries me on that level to.

      So, we just have to stop it. I have to STOP BEING SO WORRIED AND JUST BE ME. The people who care for me as who I really am and don’t care about my mistakes will be the real friends and they will be the ones I want in my life. Not the fakers. So I have stop being fake myself and find those real friends. 😀

      I’m sooooo thankful for your comment and I’m so glad I’m not alone with this problem! *big hugs back*

      Love Jamie

      1. Well, we’ll stop worrying/faking and find those real friends TOGETHER! Besides, I think we did find “real friends” in each other, even if we haven’t seen each other face to face (YET!). I’m so glad I found your blog last year (even if I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon it… 😛 ).

        By the way, I hurried downstairs from my Little Nook and read your post to my mom. She was very blessed by it and took the opportunity to remind me: we’ll only be close CLOSE friends with those who have a lot in common with us. Not every relationship will be like that, but the ones that’ll last…well, they’ll be with people who love the things we love, share our theological convictions, enjoy spending quality time and deep conversations together, and who are just a little bit crazy themselves! That always assures me, at least, that I won’t marry someone who has absolutely nothing in common with me, haha! 😉

      2. Yes!!!!! Internet friends are the best because, no matter what some people think, it’s actually very easy to actually be yourself on the internet. I worry more about fakers in real life then in the people meet on the Internet!

        I’m so glad your mom was blessed. And she right, that’s very reassuring to remember. 🙂 Real friends aren’t as scarce as we think it’s just hard to see through the fog! 😀

        ~Jamie

  2. I struggle with being myself, too, Jamie. Not as much as I used to, but I still do–everyone does, whether they admit it or not.

    I completely know what you mean about feeling judged. I honestly think that some of the most hurtful scrutiny comes from other Christians sometimes–and usually, they don’t mean anything by it. But it still hurts. Music is one of the biggest issues in Christians circles, I think. Like you said, some people think that anything other than hymns or classical music is bad. Do they realize that sometimes they create more harm than good by criticizing?

    But God made each and every one of us beautiful and unique. I know that phrase sounds over-used, but it’s true. Don’t ever try to be anyone other than yourself because you’re amazing just the way you are. I love reading your blog, Jamie–I laugh, I feel inspired…. I just love it. If the “you” on your blog is the real “you”–than don’t ever change. If people can’t accept you for who you are, then it’s them that’s missing out.

    *big hug* Love you, Jamie!! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Emily! You very right when you say people usually don’t realize it when they’re criticizing someone else’s opinions! Opinions! I think people should be able to have their opinions without being shoved to the ground over them (I am speaking from the experience of being shoved around myself). Why can’t people learn how to politely, maturely disagree with someone and then move on without having to smoother the other person with their opinion?

      I’m so glad you’ve been inspired!!!!!!! Returning the hugs and thanks so much again! 😀

      ~Jamie

  3. Ugh… let’s try this again. I had my whole response written out and everything… and then my computer just had to go and die. It figures… So this will probably be really different than what I first wrote because I write by inspiration and what comes to my distracted mind.

    Believe it or not, I’ve been through the same. I finally learned to love me for me and to show my true self. I learnt to look in the mirror and smile, not because I liked what I physically saw, but because I had decided to be happy. It’s a choice. Instead of hiding away my flaws, I learned to accept them, and laugh at them. I learned to be me no matter what people will say, or think, or whisper behind my back. The hardest part of it wasn’t being laughed at, or ignored, it was making the transition to me from the girl that I made myself into. Because some people will judge you no matter what and no matter what about whether it be what music you listen to, what movies you watch, who your role models are, religious views, taste in clothes, your personality… anything. But you have to know that if they’re that harsh and rude, that their opinion shouldn’t bother you.

    I hope that link works. 😉

    Obviously it’s harder for an 18 year old to suddenly start showing her true self than it is for a (then) 11 year old. Because I feel like the older you are, the more pressure to be mature and collected and perfect and the standards are just sooo high.
    And I can’t say I’m always me, because I still sometimes find myself crawling back into that protective shell around the girls who were mean to me. It’s hard. Life is such a… roller coaster! And I found comfort in the fact that no matter what happened or happens to me in life, it happened for a reason. God let it happen. We need to understand that while the things we wish for, we dream for, we hope for, may not happen in the way we want, and they may not happen at all- that the things that were truly meant to be God will always make happen. In the end, the wonderful creator who shaped this earth and everything in it, he shapes our lives also.

    I eventually found friends who accepted me as me. They loved me for me. And one of my best friends is a guy, and while some people judge me for that and find it weird, guys just make great friends. They’re always willing to play some random fun game, and they’re much less judgmental and harsh than many girls. He tells me I’m weird all the time, but he always makes sure to tell me that he’s glad I’m this way and he would never want me to change for anyone. My friends stick up for me no matter what, they’re quick to defend when I’m insulted, quick to comfort me when I’m hurt. People like this in my life are what really spur me to be me, because they support me for who I am. My best friend, Holly, is just great. God has really blessed me. I really feel you on wanting to tell those you’re close to how much they mean to you, and with Holly, it’s pretty easy. She’s so close to me and so similar, all I really need to do is say thanks… thanks for everything. She knows what I left unsaid and sometimes it means more, just to not say it all. A simple statement to sum up all your emotions and thoughts. With Adam, it’s not so easy because that could be really super awkward. But in the end, I just had to get past that and thank him for being there for me. I found it wasn’t as weird or awkward as I thought.

    So my point, if you’ve even kept up with my thoughts all everywhere is to find yourself, love yourself, and be yourself. People judge. That’s the cold truth. The world isn’t always warm and receiving. Pain and anger and tears and troubles and deception comes with this life. And they come easier than happiness. But find comfort in those who truly care. Your true friends. Maybe they’re online, or maybe you still need to find them. Maybe you know them but don’t know how much you mean to them. Maybe they don’t know how much they mean to you.
    No matter what, there are always people with the same problems as you, because people are flawed. I finally realized I’ll never be gorgeous, I’ll never be perfect, but I can grow closer to God and accept my flawed self. Crazy, hyper, blunt, weird, bubbly, laughs alot, and sometimes annoying- that girl is ME. And finding her- that’s the journey that these past 3 years have been. Looking back, now that it’s 2013, despite all the tears and pain… I wouldn’t have it any other way. God works miracles in our lives and we just can’t see it. Until years later you look back and wonder how it could have worked out any other way.

    *big hugs from across the country*
    I hope this helped you in some way shape or form and I admire you for taking this step in life. Have a fantabulous new year! 🙂 I wish all the best for you, and I’ll be praying.

    1. Good for you for doing this at the age you are; the younger you are to get this down the better. If you remember everything you’ve written here and live by it, you will save yourself a lot of pain in these tough teenage years.

      I agree guy friends are treasures. Yeah, it’s harder to be more and open with them because it can become awkward but they’re precious. I don’t know what I would do without my best friend who is also a guy. He is one of the people I need to open up more to; I need to stop holding back my appreciation for him and tell him one day that he’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me and hopefully I’ll be able to say that without it sounding weird. 🙂

      Big hugs back to you and have a good year as well! Thanks for praying!

      ~Jamie

  4. Ok… I am not exactly sure what I can say. I too have been around people who I thought where “friends” yet later judged me for my like of Star Wars, superheroes, guns ect. Because they thought those things would negatively influnced them and were “evil” even thought I respected their opinion. Eventually they directly broke contact because of it and while it did hurt, I then I found who my true friend was, who stuck with me throughout the many years, which I would have never discovered without that happening. While it is cliched, it is true and I am not sure if that makes sense or helps though…. I too am extremely awkard in public and I haven’t made a new friend in years (except for internet friends) but I just do not try anymore because I am content with what I have. I just can’t talk to people very well, only my friend and close family. I know that doesn’t help and probably is discouraging. Sorry I couldn’t say more but I am kind of an emotionless robot and terrible at this…. I pray that you will resolve your problems and have peace. 🙂

    -James

    1. Nope, that was encouraging, James, to know that I’m not alone in feeling different and awkward and loosing people over things that are trivial. I hope I will be able to find the people in my life who really do care about me and will be able to weed out all those fakers. Thanks for the prayers,

      Love, Jamie

  5. Oh my! I wish that I had seen this sooner. I’m sorry that you’re going through all of this, and I’m sorry that you’re having a hard time. It’s truly heartbreaking to me.

    But, I understand very well. I hate to say that, because sometimes people say it and don’t really mean it at all, or are just trying to make you feel better, but no, I really do understand. I’ve struggled with this exact thing for years, especially when it came to church and the people in it, and the weights that they put on me, trying to make me just like their ideals; family did this too, and friends. I’m not exactly a “normal” person either, and for a long time that bothered me, because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, or risk losing their friendship just because I was a little bit awkward, or I might say things that they didn’t agree with. It’s easy to fall into the rut of doing things to please others, when the reason you’re pleasing them is out of fear, not out of conviction.

    I’d love to be able to make this all go away for you, but sadly I can’t do that. All I can really say is that eventually, it will go away, if you let it. You’ve realized now that you don’t like hiding behind a mask, and that’s good — that’s the first step towards healing from your brokenness and pressing on to become the person that God made you to be. But, it won’t be easy — it will be worth it though. This is a stage in life that is very important, where you transition, as you said, from a teen to an adult. I’m 22 now, and I’m just beginning to come out of this stage (it takes longer for some, shorter for others), and I can truthfully say that in the end, you’ll be much happier if you take that one large, scary step forward to discover yourself.

    In the end, people can be stupid. Others can put barricades up around you that don’t need to be there. People with the best intentions can be hurtful without wanting to. But in the end, their opinions don’t matter — that’s right, they don’t matter. You can’t live your life to please other people, and you can’t live completely by their rules. When it comes down to it, you have to live with yourself, and whoever you want to be is probably the person that you were meant to be — whether clumsy or awkward or loud or silly or whatever, it doesn’t matter. We all bring different things to the table with our uniqueness, and if we don’t allow ourselves to be unique, then the world will lose out on what we could have given it, and we won’t ever be truly happy.

    So, I want to encourage you to be yourself, no matter who that person is. Decide where you stand for yourself, decide what you believe for yourself, and decide what you want for yourself; guidance from others is good, but it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t truly believe in something — for you, not for others. There are people who will turn away, who you will lose, but that’s okay; it might not sound okay right now, but those are the people who you don’t need, because they don’t really love you, sad as that is. But there are people out there who will love you, despite your flaws or differences — and those are the people that you want around.

    I think that you’re going to shape up to be an amazing, wonderful person, and I have a feeling that whoever that person is, they are going to make a huge difference in the world.

    Just remember this when you’re down or are having trouble: God made you who you are, and God doesn’t make mistakes.

    Best,

    Alexandra~

    1. *crying* You don’t know how much an encouragement this comment has been, Alexandra, thank you so much for taking the time to write all that. I do want to take that step and become the person God wants me to be, and it helps to have such good encouragement! I can’t thank you enough! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Love, Jamie

  6. Everyone’s leaving long and thoughtful comments…I feel so lame. 😛

    Oh well. I’m doing what /I/ wish to do. I’m afraid to be myself much of the time as well. I’m afraid of saying anything in the lest bit controversial, because, as you said, it’s a judgmental world we live in. It’s a hard place to have convictions in.

    Even in “not important” a.k.a. not political and/or religious stuff, just in regular chit-chat, I’m afraid of saying things. Of speaking. Because, darn it all, I seem to have this insane penchant to say exactly the wrong thing. I don’t mean anything by it. I mean only the nicest things. I’ll give “backhanded compliments,” if you wish to call it that, but only mean the best. I really mean, WOW, you’re amazing! Not, WOW you’re amazing (not really you’re incredibly lame). Even worse, I often don’t even know what I did/said was insensitive, so I can’t apologize and I don’t understand why someone’s trying to distance themselves from me. Some friendships were almost permanently damaged because of the completely insensitive things I’ve said, without even knowing I “crossed the social line,” so to speak. Because of this, I now start to assume the worst. Someone not talking to me? I can’t seem to just think, “oh, they’re busy/having a bad day/have other friends to entertain” it’s “what did I DO?!” And I scan everything I’ve said and freak out over things and it’s now become some sort of complex and I JUST. CAN’T. RELAX.

    Wow, never mind, it IS becoming a long comment! 😛

    Thanks for writing this post. It must have been difficult. But now I’m going to put an even bigger “Be not afraid” sign on my desk, thanks to your post. 🙂

    1. I understand the struggle of not always hearing what comes out of our mouths; I had this problem when I was younger, like when I was ten. It’s hard to be considerate and yet honest at the same time. I hope you will learn how to be honest but gracious about it! 🙂 Thank you for your comment and you’re welcome. It was a hard post to write, it sat in my drafts file for a couple weeks while I tried to get the words right. 🙂

      ~Jamie

  7. Wow, I know exactly how you feel. I went to a Christian school my entire life and the majority of the families went to the same demonination of churches. I was always afraid that they would look down on me because my church had some less strict beliefs than everyone else. I rarely spoke my mind or acted like the way I do at home. Even around my best friend I felt like I had to act different.

    Now that Im out of high school, I’ve noticed that alot of my classmates and good friends were just the same–they all held it in too, since they’ve gone off to college and gotten away from our tiny community they’re more relaxed and themselves.
    So don’t worry, chances are that some of those people you aren’t open around feel the same way.

    1. That is a very true and very eye opening thought; I never thought any of my friends might feel the same as well—some of them anyway. Many of them are not afraid to speak their minds at all or what they think other’s should think. 🙂

      ~Jamie

  8. Well, I definitely know how that feels. It used to be a really, really huge issue. See, I’m a preachers kid, so I got a lot of prejudice crap from the other kids and even grown ups at church. It got worse when my brother started playing on the music team, because of course, the preachers kid has to lead the team, right? And I get plenty of crap for being homeschooled too, because my public school “friends” just don’t get it. And my siblings and I are kind of unorthodox come to think of it – we like R-rated movies, we listen to a lot of secular music, and my brother and I went to a really secular and immoral (but awesome) concert last May, and so on. Sometimes I even think we’re so determined to be “authentic” and not live in someone’s stereotype, that we just thrive on junk our parents wish we’d stay away from.

    I think it’s extremely dangerous to try to prove what you’re “not” to people. Because I could “not” be a princess, an Asian, a geek, a superhero-fan, or a blonde…I could go on and on, but you would still have no idea who I “am”. Rather, show you ARE to people; just be you who are and not afraid of being stereotyped.

    An even bigger issue for me is that I’m the “reserved” type; I don’t say much. If I think someone is an idiot, I’ll just think it, but I won’t say it and thus risk making myself an idiot as well. When I went part time to public school, I felt HUGE pressure to change who I was and fit in with the crowd, because I was being totally ignored by everybody, and that hurts. Total neglect. But I finally learned that I had to stop pretending, and being myself is okay. I’ve seen a lot of people live their lives behind a mask, and the fact that no one knew who they were left them feeling extremely lonely.

    Finally, I think that no one is a “normal” person. We all have some uniqueness. Of course, I would say that the 80-year old man down the street who lives in a cabin with no electricity and has memorized the whole Bible, is a bit less “normal” than the middle-aged farmer with 200 acres and 5+ kids who goes to church every Sunday. But I don’t think it’s about our own levels of “normal”; rather, our levels of “authenticity”.

    See, for the past few years, I’ve been authentic about myself. Kids still ignore me, but they’re idiots, so I don’t want ther company anyway.

    1. Ahhh, see, you’ve had it tougher then me because I’ve never been in a position where I’m with a lot of kids who were polar opposites, like public-schoolers. That’s really tough and I’m sorry you were put in that position but I’m glad you’ve learned from it. Your observation is very right in not showing what you’re not but who you are; that’s key and thanks for saying that in that way. Authenticity is a good word to use! Thanks so much for your input and example.

      ~Jamie

  9. Jamie, you are one of the most beautiful people I know. You have an infectous laugh that brightens my day, everyday. Your insights and maturity astound me, at times, as I think back to when I was 18 and what little I understood about life. You do me proud. I’d encourage you to be yourself, all the time. Others can judge but not from a proper perspective since they don’t know the road you travel or where God is taking you and from whence you come. Ultimately, God is your only judge so keep as soft heart and walk in faith. I will always love you, Mom

It always makes my day to see your messages! Don't forget to check back, I try to write back to you too! <3

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