Sometimes Sharing Is Not Caring

Sometimes it is scary!

Sometimes Sharing Is Not Caring

When I finally decided to share my thoughts, well after being threatened by my best friend, I thought to myself maybe this is it, Winnie. You are now ready to open up, share your heart unapologetically. You are ready to let the world know how you "Really feel".

Well, that was a thrilling thought until I started writing. I found myself erasing much more than I was writing, asking myself whether I am sharing too much or too little that at some point I just found my finger stuck on backspace. That is when I just closed the tab and just ended up watching music videos on YouTube.

The point is, it is scary. Sharing is not as normal as they show us on movies when best friends are catching up, it is not the easiest thing to do especially when you come from a place that has always glorified silence and the ability to keep secrets which usually happens to be secrets that chew the life out of you.

Funnily enough, I have been told multiple times that it is easy for people to open up to me and while this sounds like a compliment. I cannot help but wonder at times if this happens just because most of the times I do not talk, I do the listening, which is really not a bad thing until you start thinking if there is anyone out there who actually knows you (not a very lovely thought).

I have been blessed with people in my life, who have been in there for a very long time and others who just recently walked in with so much warmth, care, and support. However, I still find myself struggling with sharing with them the simple things that are happening in my daily life.

I have been around for more than two decades now and as a sociology major, I have learned that to understand a problem you need to get down to the root cause. So I decided to apply this theory to my life and visit my past to see if I can be able to track where things went wrong. Obviously, I began with my relationship with parents and most of the people who held important and authoritative positions in my life. As I went down memory lane I realized that I was always encouraged, to be honest, to not lie about where I am going, who I am going to be hanging out with and all the other details that parents like (or "for our good" as they would say). However, with time I realized that whenever I told the truth, one way or another I ended up in trouble.

Birthday parties were a no-no (especially if they did not know the parents of the birthday child) hanging out at a restaurant or at the pool or any other innocent gathering was questioned for hours before I got a yes. So obviously, I noticed the pattern. I understood that if I am going to stick to the truth there will be a price to pay and so I learned how to dilute the truth and filter my requests. Did it save my ass from so much trouble? Most definitely did! I got to go to all the birthday parties, gatherings and what not until filtering the truth became a natural thing to do even when it was not necessary.

This skill found its way in my daily conversations with my parents, friends and even my siblings. By filtering the truth I do not mean lying by the way (just in case you are already judging me) but I mean choosing what to say and what not to say. Basically leaving out information that I knew would provoke questions that I did not want to answer. It grew and grew and grew until my conversations became empty. Until I became the listener even in moments where I most definitely wanted to share my thoughts because of the fear of being told no or any other answer that I was not ready for. My voice was not stolen, it was kept.

Thank God or the universe (Whatever you believe in) that by growing up and leaving my country to start college in the US, I was exposed to a healthy amount of loneliness, strangeness, questions, behaviors and CULTURE SHOCK that pushed me to find my authentic self. The person that truly governs Winnie, the depths of my thoughts, paying attention to my initial reactions to things I do not understand, believe in or even like. I was finally introduced to Winnie (and just so you know, she is not too bad).

Getting to know myself required all the honesty that one can ever need. I had to ask myself questions that I had managed to dodge for a good amount of years. It was not fun, realizing that most of the things I had done had not been because I believed in what I was doing or necessarily what I wanted to do but just because I had to due to society's expectations, parents' standards/beliefs, comparing myself to others and other external forces.

Accepting these realizations and trying to figure out how to start all over again with nothing but authenticity is basically saying your whole existence has been a lie and you are trying to rewrite it. It is hard, but then I realized what was making it even harder was that I was actually doing it alone, which is very important because the journey is personal however I needed emotional support that I deprived myself of because of the fear that comes with sharing and opening up about my mere boring life (to be honest).

So what did it for me? Recently, I ended up in a mini argument with my friend because she had found out about something that I had not talked to her about and while we were arguing I realized that I did not really have a tangible reason for not telling her. It was just scary to me to tell her about it because I feared it was going to end up leaving the room and it becoming a story that I can not control anymore.

Which is what makes it scarier; the idea of opening up in itself, sharing with the wrong person who seems to be the right one at that moment, the addition or subtraction that will be done to your story once it is shared around and lastly the regret of exposing your emotions.

So yes, it gets scary, messy and at times bloody (not in the literal sense, I hope) but it is always worth the ride. I am slowly learning how to open up (clearly what I am doing right now) and learning that each story matters and that it happening was meant to happen one way or another and understanding not to be too harsh on myself since most of the things I do are a result of my environment, beliefs, values and CULTURE (a story for another day).

So I can choose to bottle my joys, victories, achievements, weaknesses and worries and one day explode in the wrong place at the wrong time or I can choose to be brave enough to stop using filters, embrace my flaws and share my stories despite the fear that will be dancing in me.

Can you relate? If yes, welcome to the club. If no, teach me your ways.

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Winnie Rugamba

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