Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

Posted on May 29, 2012 by 30 Comments
Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

I’m playing operator (or telephone or Chinese Whispers or whatever you call that game) with a group of beautiful optimists who pass along the whisper they think they heard but only in the most positive of lights. Where “I am tired because I didn’t sleep” becomes “I have tied a beautiful ribbon to keep.” Creative curating I think it’s called. Or blogging. That, too. Where we put out the good stuff, but leave out the real stuff.

So when my friend Leslie – a fellow operator player – asked me tell you what I’m afraid of telling you, with my real voice, not my optimistic whisper, I said yes! Loudly.

No, it’s not a tell-all or even a blog therapy type of thing. It’s a mini-movement. Or, judging from the many writers involved, a not-so-mini-movement in authenticity. And we are doing this to feel actually connected, not pseudo- or virtually- or quasi- or i-connected. But connected. As people.

This is how it works: I tell you what I’m actually, truly afraid of saying. No spit shining the shit. When my palms get sweaty, I’m on the right track. Maybe I’ll get judged for it, maybe I won’t. However, I know for certain that try as I might not to, I will judge myself.

Things I’m afraid to tell you:

1. I don’t take my own advice. I have some amazingly great parenting tips here; little gems that I’ve picked up from talented, resourceful people (and books) in my life. I love to share those. I love to think I’m bettering the parenting skill set out there. But what I’m really doing is preaching to myself about how to not let the foibles of my ancestors seep through my words and actions and stain my daughters. It’s hard. I struggle.

2. I feel like a fraud. As a writer, I can’t spell very well. As a photographer, I suck at the technical stuff. As a parent, I’m mostly winging it. Yes, I’m good at aspects of those things. I feel compelled to stick up for myself here and list all the things I am good at when it comes to writing or photography or parenting. But then I wouldn’t be very afraid to tell you those things, now would I?

3. My need to be nice trumps my need to be authentic. As a people pleaser I put other people’s needs (real or imagined) in front of my own. I realize I do this, so maybe that’s the first step in NOT doing it, but I do it nonetheless. As a friend recently told me, it’s not the worst thing in the world to be a nice person. She’s right. It’s not. But if it comes at the expense of my own feelings, it’s not the best, either.

4. I’m afraid I’m annoying you. Usually after I meet someone, I feel like I shouldn’t call, write or follow-up because I’m terribly afraid I’m annoying that person. It has something to do with needing my worthiness reflected back at me instead of emanating from me (a clue to why I’m a people pleaser as well).

There is more because, of course there is! These are my skeletons. That I keep hidden. In. The. Dark. That and my palms are sweating terribly now and causing my fingers to slip off the keys… What about you? What are you afraid to say?????

Thanks, Leslie, for giving me the boost. Oddly, just by sharing, I’m less afraid to tell you these things. Funny. Also, here are links to all those brave women that are sharing their stories today…nothing like safety in numbers. Please, check them out and help me support them, too!

Jill at Terra Savvy | Erica at The Elbow | Jen at Taking Off the Mask || Laura at My So Called Sensory Life | Monique at Razing Mayhem | Caroline at Salsa Pie | Leslie at Life In Every Limb | Tammie at Tam.Me | Melanie at Inward Facing Girl | Amy at Old Sweet Song | Michelle at Early Mama | Jen at Jen Epting | Sarah at SAWK Photography | Leslie at Lights and Letters

photo credit: Ez at Creature Comforts

Posted in: Mommy Stuff, Parenting

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  • Pauline Hawkins

    I love that you shared those things. As hard as it may have been to do, your honesty is still filled with hope. I think it’s when people share their real fears that the rest of us benefit from their advice. Knowing that you are just like the rest of us makes me want to follow you more. I call it being an optimistic realist. Keep doing what you’re doing:)

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  • JulieJordanScott2

    Wow. Are we inhabiting the same thoughts yet far apart in distance and stations in life? Wow. I would love to be a part of your group… I may just leap in and work on my own! Brava to each brave woman! I’ll be back to check out the others!

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  • Hutch

    Kate–thank you, thank you for changing your layout back to the way it was. All those faults you mentioned, I haven’t noticed.

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  • Emily (CityBaby Living)

    Thanks for sharing – so brave of you.  #2 – 4 are fears I share. My #1 is currently that I don’t want to put myself out there and really try, because then I’ll never really fail.  And if it doesn’t work out, I can say, “well, I never really tried.”  I know when I’m doing it, and yet can’t help but shy away.  It’s a habit I’ve honed over the past 20 years to perfection.

    Can’t wait to look at the rest of the brave women! Thanks for this post.

  • Sandra

    The people pleasing is a hard one to deal with – I look back at many situations where I was such a “zelig” to fit in. Just adopted the going beliefs/ideas. And it’s so lonely not to be “you”.

    Kudos on the post!

  • Erica W

    Regarding feeling like a fraud, I was telling someone once the same thing and she replied with “oh, you didn’t know? We are ALL faking it” it has provided me with much comfort! You can’t be a fraud if you’re being you though, right? Good work :)

  • Leslie

    The “fraud” thing–apparently a lot of us are feeling that way.  Interesting.  I guess because it’s so easy in a blog to only project certain parts of ourselves and keep others hidden.  Three cheers for honesty today (even though I don’t plan to tell secrets every day!).

  • Caroline

    I’m right there with you with all of these–especially #3 and #4–that describes me to a “T” 

    Loved this list. Thanks for your honesty. Reading all of the other people who participated in this makes me realize how much we all have in common in terms of our fears. 


  • kate

    I know! I just read yours on being long winded. Maybe when we meet in person we can just sit across the table at each other and silently nod ;) Just kidding!

  • Jen

    Kate, totally hear you on the fraud thing! I know someone who is well-known in the tech industry who calls it impostor syndrome… and swears that everyone has it. When I get too nervous about something impostor-related, I tell myself just to try my best. If you’re doing your best, you’re not a fraud and you’re maxing out your effort. Which means you are BEING AWESOME. 

    Jen :)

  • Leslie

    Thank you for posting with us Kate! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you. I mention the imposter syndrome in my post too, do you remember Brené talking about it at Mom 2? Thank goodness for spell check and the Auto setting. Being a good writer or photographer is not just about the technical side, you have to have the emotion and the story telling in both. If an image or writing is simply technically correct, and is missing the heart and soul, there is nothing really there. I think you are probably the further thing from annoying that there is. Looking forward to our next encounter. xo

  • Jill V.

    Kate –

    I met you briefly at Camp Mighty during our Space Flight!  I was excited to see you were going to be part of this group today!

    I know all about #4 and have a similar one on my list.  It’s exactly how you describe it.  Wanting to be liked or cool or whatever it is we need to feel accepted by the pack.

    I think you are pretty darn cool and I can’t wait to see you again!

    I also don’t think you are a fraud – we all just do what we can with what we have.


  • Laura Rossi Totten

    Great list.  I can relate to the nice one – that was almost on my list! So glad we all took the leap of faith and hit publish!  Laura, My So Called Sensory Life and Huff Post

  • Jen at Taking Off The Mask

    Hi Kate-

    Thanks for sharing! I wrote about being annoying too! I wish I didn’t think like that, but I do. So happy to know I’m not alone. :-) I also am too nice. I love the way you worded that “your need to be nice trumps your need to be authentic.” So perfectly said. The good thing is, now that we’ve said these things, perhaps we can work on slowly changing, making improvements, and raising our confidence. 

    ~Jen at Taking Off the Mask

  • kate nicholson

    Jill – he he…space.  That’s was such a fun night!  Are you heading back to Camp Mighty this year?  If so, let’s hang.

    And yes, we are doing our best and it’s so easy to give others the kindness of not judging, but it’s hard when it comes to one’s self, no?

  • kate nicholson

    I totally remember Brene’s words and am reading her book right now!

    And, Leslie…when reading yours yesterday I wanted to tell you – and I will on your post, but I’ll do it here too.  I totally bullied a girl in middle school.  I feel awful about it.  It was when my parents were divorcing and I took it out on her and it was beyond wrong of me.  

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  • Mommy With Selective Memory

    I love these “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You”.  I’ve been seeing lots of them lately and I adore seeing other people’s delicious secrets!  I am getting ready to post one in a few days too.  Thanks for sharing!! 

  • Inward Facing Girl

    Hi Kate! Thanks for sharing these things with us. I’m pretty good at #1 too. I can “solve” a lot of problems for other people, but that doesn’t mean I’m doing those things in my own life. xo

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  • SAWK

    I know exactly what you mean about nice trumping authenticity. I hate feeling false, and I feel it all the time. 
    Hold onto yourself, woman! Thanks for posting.

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