Not as Alone as I Think

I want to say something,  something illogical and foolish, but please bear with me. It’s been a while since I have written anything. There’s good reason for this, well no, actually it makes sense but it’s not a good reason, in fact it’s rather counter intuitive.

In the past month(s) I’ve come to realize something about me. I enjoy being around people, not ground breaking, but I need to be around people. I need to be with people I trust and I can be completely vulnerable with. The difficulty I’ve found is that though I have people around me I close myself off, in part because I worry about people’s thoughts about me, what I’m sharing, but in large part due to this feeling that I will overwhelm the people I care about with the extensive overthinking I do.

I feel as though, because I want to care for people around me who carry so much as it is, I cannot load more on their shoulders.

So the problem persists, grows, and compounds, creating an unhealthy Greg, withdrawn from the people that care for me and stewing in negative thoughts or just too many thoughts.

Foolish right?

Now, in the past to sort of “sidetrack” this issue, or for an eloquent “put together” way of expressing my internal turmoil, I blog, I write about it. (This is beyond the daily journaling I do). This way I can share a struggle, a frustration, a confusion, without true intimacy because I give it themes and metaphorical meaning, externally processing with the enigmatic wide web which includes whomever “chooses to read/hear” my stresses. Typically written blogs give an air of finality to personal struggles, like “writing about it means it’s solved, or mostly solved” which is much more manageable than unresolved conflict, which is messy.

Since I have been trying to work on friendships (or rather this is what I told myself) I didn’t want to share my struggles via blog without cluing in at least some people because then I’d get the typical former response of, “Hey I had no idea, please come to me if you ever need to talk”. I want people to know me, I need people. This is why I haven’t been blogging.

While this has been “good” I haven’t been doing my part. I haven’t been sharing.

I recently reread “Scary Close” by Donald Miller, this is now the third time reading it (I think this will become a habit). The book outlines how Don struggles with intimacy, how he’s been “performing” his whole life. He walks through his journey of discovery through his relationship patterns up until his wife. The book explores how life is meant to be shared and though it’s scary, to be known by people.

Rereading this book and a moment of clarity on a Sunday at church woke me up. My ideas culminated to a realization, I’ve been emotionally unhealthy. I realized it fully when my friend asked me why I was sitting on my own reading my Bible rather than be at lunch with my team/friends.

Reading the Bible is not the issue, in fact it’s a great thing, an essential aspect to life. It was the timing and the scenario. I timed my day in such a way that I missed lunch with my friends, in fact I didn’t miss eating, I had grabbed food on my own and then sat down to read. I told my friend as I was realizing it for myself. Because I need people to process my own thoughts with, I isolate myself when I am feeling anxious because I don’t want to overwhelm my friends with my anxieties.

I’ve been making things worse.

Last night as I was sharing with my friend an encounter I had with God this week, a moment where God was again asking me to trust Him which I was struggling to do. It was interesting though because after I shared, after I included him in my struggling and the process God was walking me through he thanked me. Not just for sharing “myself”, my process, with him, but also he was reminded of something God had spoken to him. My friend basically told me that not only should I share with people for my health but for others to learn.

Life is meant to be lived with others, to share the burdens we are not strong enough to carry on our own. To get perspective from those not within a situation, not themselves crushed by a specific anxiety. We can learn from hearing what people are processing and realize that we are not as alone as we may perceive.

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More than a Mustache

“Hey Bro, nice stache”

“Did you see that guys mustache?”

For nearly two years I have been gawked at, lauded, and even revered for my unique facial hair. I had done the mustache for Mustache March (a month to raise awareness for prostate cancer) but it always came off at the beginning of April. Following my College Graduation I just decided to let it grow. I moved to New York City with this Mustache and for many (and sometimes myself) this has become my trademark, my identifier.

Greg is that guy with an awesome mustache.

No more.

I decided to shave for two reasons:
One, I just wanted to shave. I have grown tired of the stache. Tired of the inconveniences and just tired of seeing my face look the same for the past two years.
Two, I moved to this city go act and for the past few months I’ve been trying to land gigs using my mustache as my trademark, but either the hipster mustache is on the outs or its just not working, so in order to extend my marketability I shaved.

Now I would’veshaved a few weeks ago, but I had to have new headshots for my agents before I could do it, because they would need photos to send to potential castings. I didn’t have the money to invest in photos so I was going to wait to save up money, but in an apparent impetuous act of resignation or a sudden surge of gumption I took my own headshots in my backyard with my tripod, DSLR, and using the brick wall of our building as the back drop.

It’s funny how something so surface level can become a part of you, how people associate you with something so much that when you change it, they have to reevaluate how they interact with you. In the past 24 hours I have met with all spectrums of responses from approval, surprise, and even to cries of those who feel let down by me shaving, as if my facial hair aptitude was some sort of beacon of strength for them.

I know I will miss the stache and one day it may come back, but for now people will have to get to know me beyond my lip warmer.