Blog 49: Putting on a brave face

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Bliss Sanctuary Bali - Blog 49 - Putting on a Brave Face - girl drinking and ugly crying

I can’t stop the tears lately! Do you ever have times like that when for no apparent reason you just can’t stop crying?

And I’m generally a badass lol. Well not exactly but I’m pretty tough when it comes to just getting on with life and turning lemons into lemonade. I instantly blamed these tears on hormones or illness of course.

But recently those things that I usually just go with the flow with just stop me in my tracks.

So I withdraw.
I hide behind text messages.
When I’m face to face with others it’s so hard to put on the brave face.
I have no energy to catchup with people.
I get more and more unwell due to the stress.
I don’t even know what I’m avoiding.

Myself maybe.

I have quite a strained relationship with my parents and don’t see them very often and Mother’s Day is coming up. It has caused me so much stress and anxiety as it’s off the back of my Birthday and my Brothers Birthday is the same weekend as Mother’s Day … and I have no idea how on earth I will show up.

I do have a chronic yet silent illness (Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Migraines) and I’m so determined for this not to define me that I really really loathe not being able to do something due to it and needing to cancel. It tricks you. You start to feel great then all of a sudden you start making plans, then bam! You’re in bed. You have a few bad days a few good days, another few bad days and it’s all over the place. It’s impossible to plan, it’s impossible to consistently show up and it’s so gut wrenchingly disappointing.

Whenever anyone does see me, I put on the biggest smile and bravest face and the adrenaline gets me through, Then I crash.

Meeting a friend out the front of my house as she’s dropping some things off for me, is really hard work. Having the energy to get presents for people yet show up to their birthdays, their kids birthdays, my brothers birthday, my birthday is almost impossible.

So I let them down and I let myself down.

For me this has all been brought to a head now as I have decided to stay put and live in one place. Before I used to go backwards and forwards overseas between Bali and Australia. But now it’s shone a light on my inability to show up rather than just use the rather glamorous excuse that I am away leading an exciting life (which is only really a half truth in itself lol).

And the pressure!
I’m not even sure whether I’m hiding or just unwell.
I am confused.
My mind says one thing, my body says another.
So I text instead of call.
If I do call then they call me back and I often can’t pick up the phone as I’m too tired or I’ve had to take medication.
I don’t go to things. I simply can’t.
I beat myself up emotionally black and blue every time this happens.

I hear my friends and families texts and messages go from hopeful to disappointed.
I don’t see those closest to me for weeks on end.

A friend comes to stay for 3 days and she is the easiest housemate ever and I love having her here. I only get out with her once. Yet I’m completely exhausted once she leaves as I just can’t help trying to put on a brave face even though she understands and I don’t have to, it’s in my nature. Staying up to chat on the couch is exhausting. Yet it’s normal and easy for most people. How do you explain that to somebody? It’s an impossible conversation to have with myself let alone somebody else.

For days on end I may not leave the house or see another person. I’m fine with this. But when I feel obligated too, then I panic. Not when I’m feeling good, then I’m so excited. But more often than not I’m not feeling good and it’s panic. How do I explain that to myself let alone anyone else?

So I’ve realised I’ve really started to hide.
I hide my vulnerability.
I hide my disappointment.
I hide my shame at being a much different version of myself healthwise than I ever imagined.
I hide the reality from myself and others.

And I become isolated.
And I usually just watch Netflix, but the last few days I have just cried and cried and cried and cried.

My exhaustion is overwhelming.
I can’t show up for a gorgeous cousins kids birthday and I’m devastated.
I didn’t feel myself when my gf stayed over and just hope she doesn’t think I’m as weird as I do.
I was dating a guy and pretty much sabotaged it.
I’m avoiding speaking to my brother as I don’t know what to say or when I can see him and the kids let alone get out to get him a birthday present.

Then I got up the courage to call my mum. Who I haven’t seen for ages and who I’m not all that close with and I know that’s disappointing for both of us. And I cried and cried and cried and cried. It wasn’t the longest call I just wanted to explain to her that I probably won’t be able to see her for Mothers Day and it’s not because there’s anything wrong between her and I, I just can’t commit to showing up due to my health and it’s so disappointing. Sob sob sob sob sob sob sob .. a few extra words here and there sob sob sob sob sob … mum explaining its ok she understands and she’s just happy we’re speaking as it’s the text messages only that are upsetting (still me sob sob sob sob sob sob) can hardly speak, sob sob sob sob say goodbye. Sob sob sob sob sob sob.

Who am I?

Still sobbing.

What a RELEASE!!!!

And I realise I’ve been so intent on trying to stay strong that I’ve completely disregarded myself, my needs and other people through a fear of being vulnerable.

Yes I am unwell, but it doesn’t define me. I’ve turned it into a drive to help others with a beautiful business and through this I empower our amazing staff and hostesses who I am so proud of, to reach dreams and heights they never thought possible.

But it does change the values I have, the things I can do and the people in my life.

My circle is much smaller, much kinder and beautiful, yet they keep breeding lol and it gets hard to keep up with all the social events and we lose our closeness.

I don’t really have anyone to speak to anymore. How can anyone understand who doesn’t go through this. And those who do understand are going through their own stuff. And EVERYONE is going through something. So I am sure pretty much everyone feels this way at one time or another.

So I have been hiding.
But you can’t hide from yourself.
Something triggers. Your body says no and you become ill or emotional or have an accident big or small that stops you in your tracks.
Because we are here to grow not hide.

So I wrote this blog, as if I’m really honest, I’m still hiding lol. But I hope it helps lead to some conversations I need to have with the people I love, that I need to have the courage to be vulnerable with.

Yes I have a chronic illness and this brings up lots of (annoying) learning opportunities for me, but we all have something. The older we get the more there is. It can be family, kids, motherhood, work, illness, life in general everyone has their challenges that bring them to a point where they just need to CRY. And SOB. And maybe even WAIL.

We need to honour it.
Once we discover what it is.
That’s the hard part.

It comes from that uneasiness that turns into being a moody bitch then snapping others heads off or completely hiding or if you’re me all of the above as I’m sure I made a pact with someone up there that I have to own all my shit in this life and can get away with nothing lol.

So putting on a brave face isn’t really the answer. Just delaying the inevitable which sometimes comes in handy. But if we leave it too long then BAM! Sob sob sob sob sob sob and if we take too long to get honest with ourselves it can also be sabotaging relationships, sabotaging ourselves, accidents, health issues, etc. But most importantly the person we are most hurting is ourselves.

So let those sobs out, apologise when you sabotage things and deal with the repercussions accordingly and try to become more aware and better next time.

For me it’s…
Make the Phone Call
Text less
Reach out don’t hide
Be honest with myself
Be honest with others
Stop sabotaging dates that could possibly be potential relationships
Work out a way to manage peoples expectations without having to flee the country or constantly call in sick (even though it’s legitimate)
Or be OK with calling in sick and get rid of the shame attached
And just doing my best, growing and loving myself.

Right! Now to put this into practice ….

Thanks for listening.

Much Love, Zoë xx


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Zoë Watson
A world Solo Traveller, Zoë understands first hand what is important when traveling alone as a woman. She has not only bought this together in the creation of Bliss Sanctuary For Women but she writes about her own experiences as a female on all sorts of topics.
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