For a while now, I have been thinking about the idea of things that make us who we are, things that help us show up how we do.
“That’s just how I am” is never just a stand-alone idea. We have things conscious or unconscious that shape who we become.
Some of these have similarities or bleed into each other but most are also standalone topics that should also be explored.
I thought I would write about how we (me) show up.
Promising and failing/not showing up
Most of us can relate to the world-famous phrase “if you get all A’s or do well in school, I will get you (insert incredible gift that would have made your childhood)”
All through the school year, you are busting your ass, working hard, trying harder to be the best student or child you can be with the hopes that your parents/guardians would keep their word.
Then the end of the school year rolls around, you did great but nothing. NOTHING.
Instead of getting what you were promised, you hear things that make you feel guilty for wanting what you set your mind to. Suddenly, the game changes and you were expected to be a good student anyway. Expected to be a good child anyway.
So why are you sulking?
I never knew it but it stuck with me for a while. It reinforced the idea that there was no real reward for doing good, aside from whatever you chose to reward yourself with.
So now as an adult, I take people at their word seriously. Don’t make promises you cannot keep to me.
It may seem small to you but to me, it is another nail in the coffin of mistrust and disappointment.
And as much as I have grown to expect and understand that people may mean well but will always fail, I can’t help but see the strong feelings related to being let down by the people who’s words mean a lot to you.
How many times have you planned a birthday trip? Or an event and expected a certain number?
Many of us know that the group chat always starts with 35 people but only 6 will end up on the trip – if you are lucky.
Quickly, you start to realize that the moments that will bring you the most happiness or joy are sometimes on the other side of lonely street.
You end up experiencing life in some ways, by yourself.
For me, this becomes problematic when you have people who genuinely would love to show up for you but because you are used to being let down, you plan without them.
This can be birth out of childhood relationships or even adult friendships. I always say that the easiest person to lie to is yourself but also, no one can hurt you more than you can hurt yourself.
In anticipation of people hurting you, you push them away first. Sabotage.
A part of me knows it’s rooted in a deep sense of unworthiness. Like the love you are getting from that relationship/friendship is not deserving, so you throw it away before they can realize you are not deserving and they take it away.
It can sometimes feel like you are watching an outer body scene – like you are outside of your own skin as you watch yourself knock shit over. What is incredible is that sometimes you can feel your subconscious battling to tell you no, to tell you that you are indeed deserving but sometimes your villain streak wins.
It takes a lot of unpacking and affirming that you are deserving. I hope that we can both work on reminding ourselves that we are fully deserving of loving relationships.
Being afraid of things going right
I remember a time in my life when I would buy gas at Shell using the “credit” option on Monday, fill my tank and then pray that I came into money before the transaction would post on Thursday.
On some cases, I would only have $1 in my account just to initiate the transaction.
It was like that for a while but as I progressed in my career and I began to make “more”, I realized that some of those habits didn’t change.
Don’t get me wrong, they are not all bad because some of those habits helped me save so far but sometimes the fear of going back to being broke prevents us from living.
We are so consumed with “what if it all goes bad?” and it prevents us from truly maximizing when things are going well.
I know some afraid to spend out of fear of being broke again. Life is about a balance, save and prepare for the worst but live for the life you want right now.
Expecting people to leave
I remember waking up one morning and my girlfriend at the time was not next to me. I checked the bathroom, the living room and the kitchen. Nothing.
I began hyperventilating.
I could feel my heart pumping out of my chest. I later found out she left in the morning without wanting to wake me up as she left to work.
Unpacking that feeling/episode, I connected it to the first time I feel abandoned.
I couldn’t have been more than 10 when my cousins who had lived with us in Nigeria for a few years were heading back to America. My parents told me I was going with them, so all day, I packed with them. One sleep later, I work up and they were gone.
I had been scammed.
I couldn’t believe that I was lied to on that scale. All I kept asking was why?
So as an adult, friends or lovers leaving would really mess with my head and my self-esteem.
Abruptly leaving or not saying bye?
I was able to recognize it and I have now shared it with friends and lovers, letting them know what my deep triggers are.
I understand that many of you may be able to relate to some of the personal ways that some of my trauma shows itself in my everyday.
I wanted to write this to validate US, I see you and I feel you.
Here is to seeing and addressing the situations and our realities.
Thanks for reading and please share with someone out there who may need it. Comment your thoughts below!
Til next time,
Written on the flight back from London to San Francisco.
Listening to Monalisa by Lojay. Someone walking around with their child in their arm is annoying me, I know I shouldn’t care but every time I see them creep up behind me, I freak out.
3 thoughts on “How We Show Up”
Hi Sanmi . Glad you are writing again. I could most definitely relate to a lot of the things you said. Especially the expecting people to leave one . Glad to know I am not the only person with this fears and triggers. Thank you for putting this out there .
It’s so good to have you writing again. We have missed your musings and how you can convey some of our deepest feelings.
This piece has made me reflect on how I show up and what impacts my current relationships.
I could heavily relate to the financial trauma, I didn’t even know I was traumatised until I was in therapy. People don’t understand why I plan my finances to a t, or cautious to spend and take awhile before buying things because I always fear having nothing again.
I am also guilty of self sabotaging and walking away from relationships. Particularly where I don’t feel wanted.
I will learn from you and actually let people know my triggers, so it gives them so understanding. Looking forward to reading more from you.
Omg! The way I can relate to everything you’ve written! Thank you for the sharing and letting me know that I’m not crazy and I’m not alone ❤️