Let's talk about one of my worst qualities, because let me tell you I'm not perfect. Ever since I was a kid I've never been able to keep my mouth shut. I have zero filter. I would say whatever I felt regardless if it hurt someone's feelings. What was worse was that I actually cared that I was hurting someone's feelings. I didn't mean to, I just had no ability to not say how I felt.
Present day: I still have no filter. I think one of the qualities that stands out is that for me at least, sharing my truth with others matters more to me than ever before. Having the ability to speak your mind is one of the beautiful gifts in life that you only notice when it is taken away from you. Being an artist and an advocate for other women like myself, I have the responsibility as well as the capacity to speak my truth regardless of what others will say. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I don't mind sharing, and I don't mind when others think I'm weird for being way too open about myself and my life. Even now, writing on this blog can be the most uncomfortable feeling, only because I don't know who's reading it and I don't know what they will get out of it. But, the beauty of discovering your own personal voice is that you reach a point where it doesn't matter what others reactions are because you feel nothing but empathy and understanding for those points in your life where others might feel ashamed.
Talking so openly about getting divorced was actually one of the hardest points to open up about. Yet, because I am so exhausted and have no filter, I've been able to move past the idea that I failed and instead look at this as an opportunity for growth. Why be ashamed of an experience when it has brought so many opportunities into my life to grow and change?
Being exhausted brings out the worst in this quality. I have been around complete strangers recently who I have just opened up to without even knowing their name. I have zero ability to not talk, and when I talk, I talk about the things that matter to me in that moment, even if they are way too serious. If someone asks me how I'm feeling, I'll tell them. At first, it was terrifying to admit to what was happening, because who wouldn't be ashamed? If someone up and leaves you, how could you not question your worth as a person. Expectations are hard, especially the high expectations we all put on ourselves. What was beautiful about these moments where I seemed to forget about myself is that the responses that I was getting were perfect for me in the moment. Instead of my friends and family responding out of pity, they came with open arms and honesty telling me I was worth more than the cards that I was dealt. I realized that in life, I mattered more to myself than I could matter to anyone else.
The other day I was talking to a woman who was also going through a divorce with her husband of 15 years who was a veteran diagnosed with PTSD. Hearing her story and how she was dealing with moving on helped me to understand that there are other women like myself who have waited for their loved ones to get better, even though usually those people would not help themselves. And that's the reality of it. When I express my feelings, I have zero capability of hiding the truth. If I am not sleeping it's very evident. If I'm not eating, you can tell. If I am going through a hard time, I will cry openly in front of people that I don't know and run away like an idiot because I can't hold it in.
Having no filter has it's benefits and downsides. I am able to connect with people very easily because I am so willing to share. I have made so many lifelong friends because I have no filter, and for some reason they like that about me. I have also been able to help women like myself by opening up so they don't have to. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to speak the truth for so many women who cannot because they do not have the capacity yet or do not know how. Having no filter also means that I lose a lot of people. While there are many who are still my friends, I have definitely made my own personal enemies because for whatever reason, some people don't like to hear the truth. I've had people who I hadn't seen in years still hateful towards me for things that I had already forgotten about. I've had members of my own family cut off contact with me because I set a boundary as to how I want to be treated as a person. I've gotten plenty of weird looks from people who I talk to like they've been a lifelong friend, and most of the time I think that I lose some opportunities because I make others uncomfortable.
For a very long time I hated the fact that I had no filter. I wanted to be like everyone else, a person who could keep their mouth shut and follow along with the rest. I wanted to have a million friends and I wanted to be cool and collected, suave and seductive. I wanted a lot of things out of myself that really just don't exist. I'm an eccentric hermit who is also social. I don't expect much out of others because I've done everything for myself. I have no filter because I had to grow up defending my story from others who were trying to manipulate my truth to make themselves feel better. I have had a really weird life to be honest. No one really prepares you for situations that are out of your control. But, what I have learned to love about not having a filter is that I don't feel ashamed or embarrassed to express myself in the moment because I've learned that telling the truth has way more benefits than downfalls, even if it means others will not like me.
Moral of this post: Don't hold back just because it might make someone else uncomfortable. Don't hide your truth because you're worried others will judge you. After 26 years of experiencing my inability to keep my mouth shut, I've learned that the people who leave because I share so easily are the ones that I wouldn't want to be friends with anyways. And honestly, for all the hundreds of people who haven't like me, there are thousands who do.
P.S. Also, let's be real, friendships that last a lifetime matter more than any relationship you can ever have. Love is love, regardless if it involves romance in the mix. And I have never felt more loved by myself and others than now, so who cares, it's just a piece of paper.