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Monday, July 21, 2014

Vulnerability and Fear

Last night, I went to orientation for the Arizona Roller Derby league (AZRD). I've been wanting to join roller derby for years, but always feared the pain or having my bones crushed or septum pushed through the back of my head...you know...the usual. I finally got the guts up to go. I was so nervous I could've easily puked. It is exceedingly rare that I get nervous or anxious about anything. I wasn't even concerned about giving birth, for Pete's sake! I was nervous about this...and it was just a silly meeting, not even try-outs!

Turns out, the meeting was great, I want to do it, but finances won't allow for it at the moment. I posted as such on my personal FB page and was immediately met with fundraising ideas. I was at once grateful and uncomfortable. Here's the deep, dark truth of it - when the fundraiser doesn't work, I'm going to feel rejected, unworthy, unimportant.

This is a fear of mine from way back. I tell myself (and others) that when I'm at the store in my hometown and I run into someone I know, I avoid them because I don't care. The honest truth is that I don't want to put myself out there only to discover that the person knows not who I am, that I've been forgotten, that I'm not memorable. (The amount of loathe I hold for this truth is off the charts, but my goal in this blog has always been stark truth, especially when it's uncomfortable, so here I am laying myself bare.) When my blog posts don't get shared (or even read) and my fifteen-thousandth 30 day block goes unnoticed, which the members of the blogging in-crowd get even the most banal posts shared hundreds of times and their first 30 day block gets a petition started and national news coverage due to the outrage and outcry, I feel forgotten, not memorable, not worthy.

So, when a friend says to me, "Amy, if the potato salad guy can get THOUSANDS on his GoFundMe, you can certainly get your derby equipment" and another friend says, "Amy, your karma is good and you deserve this," my only thoughts are, "Ya, but the potato salad guy had a gimmick to make him memorable and I'm not usually the one whose karma comes back to them...ever."

I'm ever-so grateful that my friends care enough about me, heck, that a couple strangers care enough about me, to spend their time, energy, and hard-earned cash on me. I am. On the flip side, I'm waiting for the inevitable. I'm waiting for their plan to fail, not for lack of effort or heart on their part, but because it's me. And I'm not throwing myself a pity party. I'm simply laying out my feelings, fears, and vulnerabilities.

I'm also not writing this in effort to subversively and manipulatively ask for donations. I'm not linking anything or giving away any identifying information. It's not about that.

It's just about feelings. I am going to be humiliated when this doesn't work. Potato-salad-guy can raise thousands and I won't even be able to meet a goal of a few hundred. So, truth is, that's why I didn't want to try. Yes, I have a ridiculous level of pride that won't allow me to ask for loans when I need financial assistance. That's certainly part of my discomfort. The larger part, though, is that if I tried to raise funds and couldn't, I would feel humiliated, rejected, unworthy, unimportant, unmemorable, and humiliated (Did I mention that twice? By design...).

Here I am writing mostly to my friends, saying, first and foremost, "Thank you." Thank you from the depths of my heart. I have lovely friends and for you all I am truly grateful. Here I am writing also to the few strangers who have already donated, saying, "Thank you." You are the ones building up your good karma. That you'd do that for me amazes me. Here I am writing to those who avoid me in the store, who don't miss me at reunions (family, school, or otherwise), who have forgotten me, saying, "I see you. I see you and I'm simply rejecting you before you can reject me." Here I am writing to those who feel as I do, saying, "You are not alone. I certainly don't think we're in the healthiest head space in this regard, but you're not alone and I hope that is comforting to at least one of you."

This whole vulnerability thing really sucks sometimes.


  1. This is soo me at times :(

    1. I'm learning that this is most of us at times. You're not alone.