We do something and look back and ask ourselves why we did what we did. A lot of times it’s because we weren’t thinking.

Often, we’re actually not aware of our decision making. Does that mean our decisions are conditioned?

This was something we talked about in my Learning class last week. This is quite the concept to try to comprehend, because we may be unaware to what we’re actually conditioned to because it seems natural now. For example, a bell ringing to signal the end of class: students will immediately start packing up or get up to leave. We’re conditioned that the bell means it’s time to go.

Are our lives made up of these moments?

Yes and no.

Humans are more complicated than anything we can ever study about them (us). Just when we think we have figured something out, we throw in a curve ball.

Being in my psychology classes for school has helped me to have a better understanding of myself. It gives me different angle and perspectives that I otherwise would not have seen. It gives me a way to view myself from…well…not myself, if that makes any sense at all.

It has enlightened me to step away from myself and critique–for lack of a better word–aspects of how I live my life. Like in my previous post, I tried defining the differences between my ideal self and my real self. My classes have helped me to see those aspects better.


Ideal vs. Real

I’m discovering that one of my biggest issues is trying to act out an ideal self–or what I believe that should look like. However, in reality, I’m someone so different. I’m trying to explore what makes up each aspect of the ideal and the real.


My ideal self doesn’t show emotion (other than anger, of course) because emotion is weakness. Showing emotion leads to vulnerability. Vulnerability leads to defeat. Even by herself, it’s not worth her time. Complacent is key.

My ideal self always keeps her head up. This plays into the lack of emotion. She has to appear strong and mature.

My ideal self may have many opinions, but it’s best not to speak them. Keeping the peace is greater than words.


My real self feels pain, heartache, sadness, frustration, happiness, confusion, guilt, anger, regret, disappointment, shock, and so many more. And she wants to be able to express it.

My real self has many opinions and wants to speak her mind. She wants her ideas and thoughts to be heard.

My real self isn’t satisfied with complacency; she wants to experience and feel the highs and lows of each day, experience, and the emotions that follow.

My real self wants to cry so she can release built up stress.


What I have noticed is that my ideal self is solely centered around emotion, and my desire to hide it, while I actually want to express it. But I don’t know how.

We had a guest speaker from a hospice program a few weeks back and she gave us a sheet that explained the two types of grieves. There is the intuitive (feeler/emotion) and the instrumental (thought/rational). While I read it I thought I was an intuitive griever who was trying to live instrumentally. I flipped over the page and that’s what it described. This happens when someone is unable to express their grieving style due to family or jobs.

I think this plays a huge part in my ideal self vs. my real self.

“It’s the little things”

I’ve learned recently that we should count our lives in the small moments.

People always say “it’s the little things that count,” and I could not agree more. The little things are what make me the happiest.

Last night, I went to a Marina and the Diamonds concert. It was absolutely amazing! I realized today that the girls I went with are the same two girls that I always seem to go with to concerts. We always plan together and it is always a memorable time. Honestly, there are no other two people I would rather go with. Every time we get together (which isn’t that often because different colleges and lives are hard to plan around), I always have the time of my life. We laugh until we cry, and seem to come up with new inside jokes. Every time.

We can focus so well on every negative little thing in our lives, but we only count the times we go to Disneyworld or when we graduate from high school or college. We don’t focus on what happened on the nights we got no sleep; we don’t remember going to that 24-hr pancake house, or talking and laughing all night, reconnecting with a friend while watching the sun rise.

Those are the moments that we take for granted. That’s what I need to begin focusing on. If I count the moments that take my breath away, I’m less likely to focus on the moments that bring me to consider taking my own.

The shroud

I know some of what I will share on this blog will touch some tender spots on my loved ones’ hearts. When addressing these difficult topics, keep in mind that my intentions are never to hurt someone.

In retrospect, I honestly don’t know how I managed to hide so much from so many people. I fought for so long to cover up any emotions that I had. I became so numb to everything. I had to.

From the loss of a stable home, everything spiraled. It made it more difficult to make decisions because I had to somehow please both of my parents on holidays or other occasions. I’d feel crushed and ridiculed because it didn’t always go smoothly, but I tucked my emotions away.

I remember when I was little, whenever I would do something bad, I wouldn’t admit to it. I would just stare and be completely silent. I wouldn’t say yes or no, no tears or anger; just silence. This may have lingered.

I can look back and see the times when I would be upset at somebody, whether that was my parent or a boy I liked–yes, that one was quite often–I would just brush it off. I wouldn’t draw any more attention to the topic because it wasn’t worth my effort. I would never speak up about anything that actually mattered to me because I was afraid of expressing my emotions and being exposed. This flooded into my schooling as well. I have so many opinions, but never spoke my mind. I still see this happening; it’s a continuous struggle.

I don’t know when, or if ever, I’ll ever be able to break free of this shroud I’ve created around myself. It’s not healthy to bottle things up — I’m currently trying to sort things out with the help of my therapist. The feeling of repeatedly ripping open these wounds is excruciating. But I have to stop picking the scabs of my emotions in order for them to heal.

And I’m no longer afraid of that. This is me; showing the world my scars.

Starting raw and real

I know some of what I will share on this blog will touch some tender spots on my loved ones hearts. When addressing these difficult topics, keep in mind that my intentions are never to hurt someone.

I felt invisible.

And that was exactly how I liked it. I didn’t want to be known by many people; I didn’t like letting my walls down. Feeling vulnerable and being transparent were two things I never had to be. They were two things I really couldn’t be.

I grew up in a broken home: divorced parents, “daddy issues,” moving to new locations, trying to make up for time lost, new “step”-parents and siblings (then losing the finally-blossoming relationships with them), and having to grow up way too fast.

I realized recently that I–and my brother–had to be the strong individual when it came to family matters. My brother and I had to be the middle man for awhile when our parents divorced (age 4?), and when my dad got remarried. There was so much conflict in the parental aspects, so we had to be the communicators among the three of them because they couldn’t resolve their own issues. We were still very young.

A few years later, my mom got into a relationship that was quite abusive in many ways; thankfully not physical, but verbal and emotional abuse are no better. That relationship lasted longer than it should have. I remember nights where I’d hear yelling for hours, to the point that I’d retreat to my brother’s room because it was farther from the noise.* We shared a lot of anger and sadness, but always ended with a comforted feeling from the presence of the other.

In a lot of ways, my brother was my hero. He may have only been a year and a half older than me, but we faced so much turmoil…together. He was there when I had no words. He was there when I needed a safe space. He was there when I didn’t know how to handle the stress. He was the first person I told that I started recklessly shaving so I would “accidentally” cut myself…because I could never self-harm. And that’s what I told myself to justify my actions; I never wanted to be someone who inflicted pain upon herself.

But I never told him about the numerous nights staring at a full bottle of pills, wondering how many I could take without killing myself. Or how many I could take to do so…
I landed on how-long-can-I-stay-in-this-numbed-state-by-taking-5-pills-at-a-time,-every-couple-hours? in my 12-year-old body.

I didn’t want to feel the weight of the world anymore, but I could never get myself to give in to total defeat. I idealized suicide but didn’t know how I could ever get myself to do it. I could never do it by my own hands, which is why stepping off the sidewalk into traffic was a frequent thought.

Who would visit me in the hospital if I were to step in front of a car?

When one thing seemed to brighten up, something else terrible would come my way, and the process would continue. I faked outward happiness. Some people wondered why I was so shy. You can blame it on my introvertedness, but there was more to it. It was hard to find joy in my life. How can you see the light on the other side when you live in a poor home where food was a struggle to obtain? When every important relationship you had was shredded, and you didn’t know how to mend the wounds? How can you keep seeing the light when you are slowly sinking into a place similar to the unexplored darkness of the ocean? You go into it, completely blind. However, you know that if you can find a way to swim, you can find yourself reaching the surface.

That’s what I had to do: I had to learn how to swim. But that was never my strong suit.

Thanks for sticking through til the end of this post. It’s going to be a rough ride from here; this is only the beginning.

*We’ll come back to this later.