I used to believe that I was entirely an open book. I am honest, passionate, blunt at times and I express myself as much as I can. I do this so assertively because when I was a child, I did not do this. I did not use my voice. I kept silent because I thought no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I feel like I’ve told this story a thousand times in 1000 different ways. It’s getting old now, and I want to let go of it. I can reflect on my invisible childhood, or I could move on and embrace the Sarah Fader I am today. Who is she? She is a bad ass on Tuesdays, sensitive on Wednesdays, exhausted by Thursday and hopeful on Friday. Yes, I am a rollercoaster of emotions and I come in like a fucking hurricane but I am not ashamed of that. It’s the nature of my charm. I’ve been through a lot of challenging times (to put it euphemistically). Traumatic experiences change who we are and literally change the formation of neural pathways in our brains. In addition to changing our brains, trauma impacts how open we are to new experiences. I used to be more open than I am at this moment, but because of my trauma history, sometimes (even though I want to open up) I crawl into my turtle shell and hide to protect myself.
When I think about my brain changing, it creeps me out. I don’t like the idea of my brain morphing because I couldn’t control what happened to me. Nevertheless, there are times that we have control over what happens and there are times when we are at the mercy of outside influences, which can feel scary. When there’s a loss of perceived control, it’s disarming to some people, and by “some people,” I mean me. I don’t like feeling out of control. It makes me incredibly nervous and I want to stop it from happening. However, there are few things in life we actually do have control over. We don’t have control over what happens in a given situation unless of course you are writing a play, story or you’re me writing this blog post right now. Relinquishing control is intimidating but if you can do it; if you can truly let go and embrace the ambiguity of life, you will be in a more positive frame of mind.
I don’t feel as open as I used to be. There are distinct moments when I am comfortable with a person enough to be completely candid, but I’m struggling to keep the doors to my heart ajar. I want to protect myself from further damage or hurt. But you can’t foresee who is going to impact you in that way. I can’t predict the future enough to protect myself from getting emotionally destroyed. If I could, I would be on that! Anxiety whispers in my ear to be careful who I trust, to close myself off until it’s safe to come out of my shell. But the other piece of me, the open part, wants to walk out into the sunlight regardless of the consequences. On Saturday, we’ll see which part of me wins.