In my years, I’ve had a lot of shitty friend fallouts that have left deep marks on me to this day. I say this not to lash out at these people in some passive aggressive way (I have no delusions of them reading my blog) but to explain something to you that’s very important in the scope of my work:
Nearly every time I talk about myself, I’m worried that you’re judging me for talking about myself. But if I’m to tell my story and be real about it, I need to let go of this complex.
When I was 18 and had just graduated from high school, me and my bf at the time quickly moved away to an even smaller town than I had grown up in. I wanted a change of scenery, and also remember wanting to create some space from some friends who I felt were really judgey and harsh. I came back for a visit maybe six months after grad, and when I went to meet up with a friend, I ran into a group of ex-pals who wanted to know what I was up to.
My new home, a small city where my parents had met and my grandparents still lived, felt safe to me. But it did run the risk of sounding uncool and small-time to this particular group of people, or at least that was what I thought at the time. So I told them about my job as a marketing rep for a local radio station (which was actually super cool to have at the time) as well as my aspirations to start a clothing line (which I did actually do and it was fun but eventually tanked).
Later on, I was talking to a friend who hung out with this group of people. I don’t remember if her intentions were sour, or if she was just being a bud, but for some reason she told me what they had said to her about me (I’m paraphrasing, obviously):
We just ran into Jen and she wouldn’t shut up about herself. All she did was blab about her amazing job and how she wants to start up some clothing company. She just talked on and on about herself and didn’t even ask what anyone else was up to.
Now, I don’t know why my friend chose to share this with me, or whether or not her version of the story was factually correct, but that’s not the point.
Those words stung me so deeply that they have stayed with me ever since that day 17 years ago, and sparked a belief that I would be ridiculed behind my back if I talked about myself.
Without me realizing it, I absorbed the notion that I was a total jerk for telling them about my life. For a long time, whenever I’d share about myself, I would be wondering in the back of my mind if whomever I was speaking with was going to talk shit about me when I left. I’d usually awkwardly cut myself short to ask about the other person…not out of a genuine conversational flow, but because of this glitch that was implanted in my brain when I was 18.
The reason I’m telling you this is that in order for you to receive any benefit from my work – which is the reason I’m doing it in the first place – you’re gonna need to know I’m legit. And to establish my credibility and teach my lessons, I will have to tell you about myself.
There are far too many coffee shop prophets these days preaching about stuff they just learned in an online course, and I am not one of them. I started to work on The Diet Monster and my theories around being cool with food back when I owned a yoga studio…which is now almost ten years ago. I have more experience with dieting, cleansing, juicing, fasting, and other acceptable forms of orthorexia than I would like to admit. I have big issues with so many things going on in the “pop-nutrition” industry, but I cannot begin to teach you about them unless I tell you how I was exposed to them.
And that, dear reader, requires me to share about myself.
Marianne Williamson said, in an interview that I absolutely love:
Beware the power of an unrecognized belief.
I’m lucky to have explored a lot of my limiting beliefs, and I still have a ways to go. But the belief that I do not deserve to talk about myself has been dragged into the light where I can see all of its ugly faults. We all deserve to share our stories. It’s all about balance. Am I promoting one-sided convos where you only talk about yourself? Hell no.
What I am saying is that if you’ve also had shitty friend experiences (and haven’t we all), there’s a chance you may be dragging around unrecognized beliefs that are holding you back in a big way. People talking shit about you is one of the worst feelings ever, but it happens (jerks). And we don’t need to carry it around with us and let it hold us back into our adulthood.
But enough about me (haha). What’s an incident you had years ago that affected you, and a message you internalized as a result? Do you still carry it with you? Have you looked at it in the light?
Please share in the comments below, if you’re comfortable talking about yourself. 😉
Cheeky fo’ life.