On
from
pinterest
Why Do I Feel Compelled to Share Stuff Before I’m Ready?

Even if I didn’t want to share, I also don’t really know another way.

12.21.16
why-do-i-feel-compelled-to-share-stuff-before-im-ready-man-repeller

contradictions-month-man-repeller

People tell me it is “super brave” that I’m willing to share so much content from my personal life. I challenge this frequently with, “It would be more brave to just shut the fuck up.”

I took a Myers-Briggs test once and it concluded that I am 88% extrovert, which I never let anyone forget. Never mind how comfortable I feel sharing stuff, though. My hunch is that the real reason I do it is because I am in constant pursuit of emotional help. Even when I feel completely fine! (See: Moms: A Moot Point.) I share because I will never be able to see every side of life’s coin (it is tricky and infinite) but with the help of perspectives that are not my own, maybe I will be able to see more sides.

It’s selfish, really, and I’m somewhat sorry that I subject you to it on such a regular basis. Then again, I struggle with this apology because there is a zero percent chance I will stop doing it, so how sorry could I be, really?

The reason I bring this up now, towards the end of Contradictions Month, is because following the story that ran a couple of weeks ago about the anguish of losing a pregnancy, I’ve been thinking a lot about that whole bravery thing. When I wrote that story, I was empowered. Relieved of carrying the burden of what felt like a completely unique and lonely experience that no one on earth could possibly understand. (The trouble with grief is that it is so ubiquitous, and we hear about it all the time, but it’s never actually supposed to happen to you, right?)

My knee-jerk reaction to finishing it was to send the product to my editorial team to look over and to let them know I was comfortable having it published, but when it went up the following week, my heart sunk into my knees and my gut felt like it was being punched on repeat. I wept and wept and wept inside a very ornate hotel room at The Ritz in Paris for — I’m not kidding — 75 minutes.

This is what The People must have meant by “brave,” I thought. And now I totally get it. I wasn’t ready to share my story, and some people never are.

It was (and is) still so raw and personal and for whatever reason, I didn’t want people to feel comfortable consoling me. Maybe that’s because I was still getting used to having to learn how to console myself. (You can’t take water from an empty reservoir, and the only way to fill the metaphoric ones that lives inside of us is by looking inward, not outward for help or consolation.) Of course, when I am able to step away from my upset for a moment and look at my life objectively, two things are crystal clear.

The amount of support and love that surrounds me is both overwhelming and humbling. The old me would have said that I don’t deserve it, but the new me thinks everyone — me included — deserves an infinite well of love that does not flicker.

I am lucky that I haven’t known how to manage this loss. That my arsenal of emotional tools-for-repair is not complete with the restoration weapons I am now becoming familiar with. It means I have never had to experience grief like this before.

The question remains, though, why did I share if I didn’t feel ready?

I don’t have an answer.

I do, however, know that sometimes my life feels like a Whack-A-Mole game. The more I try to keep it in, the more inevitable it becomes that it will pop out through another opening. Even if I didn’t want to share, I also don’t really know another way. And now that the story’s been up and live for two weeks and I’m oscillating more frequently to the side of hopeful and restorative as opposed to broken and regretful in the process of getting better, I feel so good that it’s out there.

You know, when this whole thing happened, I was mad at Man Repeller. I had this idea that I was being emotionally tortured because the universe knew I would talk about losing this pregnancy. I probably wouldn’t be able to shut up about it (I haven’t been able to shut up about it). It’s one of those things that happen to a ton of people, but that you never hear about. It is personal and deeply painful. It can make a woman feel so much smaller and more hopeless, bad at doing that simplest thing that she is ostensibly here to do. I keep telling my husband, in moments of weakness, that I feel like such a loser.

So I get it, and I knew that whatever I’d write would be honest and ultimately helpful. Still, Man Repeller infuriated me. Helping to ignite a healing conversation at the cost of new life, my new life? My baby? Fuck. That.

But here’s the thing. I’m going to be okay. I’m going to have kids. All fucking four I’ve always dreamed of having — take my word for it. I’m going to do it with new perspective and with patience and I’m going to let myself feel however I feel through the process. I will be compassionate and kind and I will love, point blank.

I don’t know that I would have known these things if I didn’t lose the first one. If I didn’t get to hear from so many of you, and talk through the loss. I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I believe it with so much conviction: we need each other to survive. And what’s more? We’re surviving, which means we’re doing an okay job leaning on each other.

I guess that’s why I share.

Illustration by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; follow her on Instagram @heysuperstar.

Get more Brain Massage ?
  • Ché Hot Chocolate

    From the bottom of my heart,I love you Leandra. God bless you. I’m glad that you’re you. 88% extrovert and all. I’m aware that this is a weird comment but I pray all the love and light of Jesus surrounds you in this time. I know you’re Jewish but still.

  • Cristina

    I have to send you a virtual hug from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean! If you needed to share it, that’s totally fine. You could see and feel all the amazing support you have. I’m sure that at least one comment touched your heart, and just because of that, I’m sure you are 1% better today. So it was worth it. Silver lining, always!
    That post was you, 100%. Natural. True. And that makes this MR world more real, more natural, too.
    And cry, cry, cry. Crying is part of being brave.
    Thanks for everything, Leandra!

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    I always wonder about this – I want to write about personally challenging and difficult moments from my life but then question whether that means I’m exploiting my own baggage. It can be a fine line, but ultimately it comes down to what readers take from it, and if it helps other people in their own journey, it might be worth the risk.

  • Zoe Ivory

    How could you not cry, story published or not? I lost several pregnancies myself and can attest to how painful a loss it is. I want to mention that by sharing you are not only able to get the support you need (so great!), but it also helps the many people who have experience this kind of loss feel less alone (like me) and I would think it would offer women who have never experience pregnancy loss a greater understanding of what it is like. It is something that isn’t widely talked about, and there’s a lot of shame and misinformation around miscarraige. I think the more we talk and write about it, the better.

  • Mary

    There is something to gain with every loss. Life’s coin!

  • LadyLeo

    Deeply personal sharing and oversharing can be a curse, a blessing or a mixed bag. Sometimes I regret it, sometimes I find it helpful and connective. I’m sorry for your loss and pain. Been there.

  • lastnightofcyn

    “We need each other to survive.” Yes

  • Alanis

    You are beautiful inside and out Leandra! And so very strong and brave! You inspire me and many other women to be fearless in not only dressing, but in everyday life. I feel like the MR community is in some way a “sisterhood” where we can all share our experiences and feelings. It is a really good thing to talk your emotions out. It is healthy for our mind and well-being. Always remember that there is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel. We have to stop being so hard on ourselves. We are all strong and are going to be okay! Thank you so much for inspiring all of us!

  • Aydan

    Community. Whether its family, friends, strangers, neighbors, etc. etc. etc. we are all in this beautiful crazy up-and-down roller coaster called life. We’re all here for you Leandra, just as I believe we are all here for each other. Whether we are talking something silly or something serious, there is a sense of community here and the desire to share or lack of desire to share (but innate push to do so) is something so so beautiful! Much love to all who bring this site to live and keep the comments rolling! We can make the world a beautiful place! (Can’t believe my realist self just wrote this, but damn if I don’t believe it).

  • me

    I’m a big hairy introvert, but I share share share my pain with my people because if I didnt, my head – and broken heart – would explode into a billion sharp shards of broken glass.

    So, please keep sharing, sis: We’re here for you ….

  • The amount of support and love that surrounds me is both overwhelming and humbling. The old me would have said that I don’t deserve it, but the new me thinks everyone — me included — deserves an infinite well of love that does not flicker.

    this 👉🏼yes

  • Antoinette

    It’s ok to be your authentic self, and if that means you share a lot, and even before you’re ready that’s cool. I think sharing personal stories are grand and brave, no matter how you feel after. I’m not a sharer. I hardly ever post personal things about myself, and no matter what I’m going through I handle it, until I feel like I need to talk about it, I’ll talk to family or a friend. I’ve been accused of not being open enough, and It annoys me, because I never knock the over sharers or the pseudo sharers (people who share when others are sharing but on reflection they actually shared nothing of substance).
    I applaud women who share their stories because I think it helps others going through the same thing. This is the most I’ve ever shared in a public space and Leandra you inspired me to share my story of infertility and miscarriage with the MR community, by hearing about yours. Most people in my family doesn’t even know I’ve been through these things. I’m not an introvert, I’m simply private and believe there is enough space in the world for us all to coexist, inspire and support each other.

  • Jolie

    A few weeks ago, my father told me for the first time that my mother had lost a baby before she got pregnant with me and my sister, and that it made her extremely depressed and hesitant to try again. My first thought was, “Why would she be depressed? She got my sister and me!” I didn’t realize that at the time of her loss, she hadn’t had any idea that she’d ever get pregnant again. I also didn’t consider the fact that she had been pregnant with this other baby, who she must have grown to love before losing.

    You sharing your story was powerful. I understand why you feel embarrassed or weird when you share these things with the internet (so do I, so does everyone), but there is nothing to feel remotely bad about. Your experience is something that is not usually talked about with the depth, clarity, and emotion you displayed in your piece. Someone like my mother who chose not to share her experience, even with her closest loved ones — she suffered alone. You do not have to suffer alone. We are all here with you, cheering you on, sending warmth and love. So are your family and friends. Thank you for sharing.

  • shareloc

    you said “It’s one of those things that happen to a ton of people, but that you never hear about. It is personal and deeply painful”

    Of course you hear about it! My mum often mentioned the many lost pregnancies she had before having my brother and me ” (she would be 86 today!) and I shared that pain with my girl friends who experienced it!
    Go and find friends, strangers ready to share and help.It gives you that sense of belonging.

    Women have kept it shut for too long! Go and keep sharing!

  • Stephanie

    I’m a little behind on my MR reading lately so I just saw this, and I agree with the other commenters that your sharing is authentic and appreciated. Specifically as it relates to common but unspoken about losses like pregnancy loss. I myself am a pretty private person and don’t share a lot about my journey, which has the positive effect of nobody offering unsolicited advice or empty platitudes but has the negative effect of judgement of my emotions and reactions to certain situations because when people don’t know they insert their own narrative which often is different than my reality. Regardless, your sharing is important and inspiring as you lend your voice for many who share similar experiences but aren’t comfortable speaking for their own personal reasons.

  • Emma

    I recently lost a baby too (well, in September, but it feels like no time past). I made the heartbreaking choice to end the pregnancy due to medical reasons. I will say that I never could have anticipated the winding road of grief this would lead me down. Like you, I haven’t confronted true life-shattering, gut-wrenching, question-everything grief before in my 31 years. And that I am grateful for. And like you, I can’t stop sharing. People don’t really like talking about dead babies, or at least not for any length of time. And it makes it difficult to process this type of grief when it’s all but invisible, intangible to most everyone but you. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to you for talking about it. I hope it can ultimately be cathartic to you in some way, but please know it’s also important. Can we shatter the stigma? Can we feel less like losers, less broken, please? There’s nothing quite like this, but you are so not alone. I’m so sorry you’re walking this road too.

  • Shannah

    Thank you for this, Leandra. You deserve all of the love and light in the world, please feel free to always share with us. <3

  • Evolute Six

    One good thing about being outspoken about your experiences is that you get to lighten the inner baggage that you feel by expressing your thoughts and feelings. At the same time, sharing your experiences also helps you gain a new perspective on your situation and look at it in different lenses. Although you feel as though you’re oversharing (and maybe you are or you are not), such “oversharing” is not altogether a bad thing because you reap benefits out of it. Your readers also get to pick a thing or two about your experiences, so it’s not actually a bad thing after all.

Feedback