I am a Superwoman, yes I am
Even when I’m a mess, I still put on a vest with an ‘S’ on my chest
Oh yes, I’m a Superwoman”
~ Alicia Keyes

I Am A SuperWomanAre you a Superwoman? Or a Superman?

Do you go around wearing a vest with an ‘S’ on your chest, instead of being honest about how bad the situation really is? I know I do.

Even writing about this is hard – because I’m having to admit that things aren’t always as rosy as I try to make them seem.

During the worst time of my life so far, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I couldn’t bring myself to tell my family, because I felt they already had more than enough to deal with. I think I believed I could sort it out without them having to know about it.

I eventually I told my dad and my sister 3 months later, the day before I went into surgery – because I couldn’t avoid it any longer.

I’ve always seen my job as bringing joy to people – cheering people up. So it’s very hard for me to tell people about the dark things in my life. Where’s the joy in that?

I was talking to my dad on the phone the other day. He still misses my mum, so we generally have very silly conversations, trying to brighten his mood. When, at the end of this particular phone call, I realised he was still feeling very low, I felt as though I had failed.

I know it’s not up to me, really, to “make” other people happy. Nobody can “make” someone else happy or unhappy – it’s the choice of each individual to feel happy or unhappy.

Nevertheless, I find it difficult to be truthful about the pain in my life, because I know that my friends and family tend to worry about things more than I do, and I don’t want to cause them anguish.

I don’t think I’m unique in this. I think, when we’re having a tough time, we tend to hide the truth of the situation, because we’re afraid of two things: looking like a failure or a victim, and making other people feel uncomfortable.

Whereas perhaps, by telling our story, we are giving others permission to be honest. And by telling the truth, we show our strength, and that we are not a victim of our circumstances.

Please feel free to leave a comment below, on Facebook or on Twitter (#30DWC). You can also follow my progress on Facebook and Twitter #30DWC.

6 thoughts on “I Am A Superwoman!

  1. Gill How

    What I like best about your posting is your analysis of our fears – of failing, of being a victim, of making others uncomfortable. I guess without these things though, and somehow taking the risk anyway, we and others will not grow! I’m also confident that deep sharing does allow us stronger connection with others too, for those who want it. More like this please!!

  2. Julia Barnickle

    Thanks Gill. I think you’re right, that deep sharing allows us a stronger connection with others. It’s still difficult to do, though!

  3. I used to be a hero. I now call myself ‘a recovering hero’. My way was to pretend I was OK, that I could handle it. It was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer (yes, me too) that I had to (a) ask for help (you have no idea how hard that was for me!) and (b) admit I felt scared. I used to tell myself exactly the same things you tend to tell yourself – ‘they have enough on their plate’, ‘I don’t want to worry them’ and other things along the same lines. But what I discovered was that, when I let myself admit my sadness or fear, it allowed people to give me support. People love to feel needed and it gives them permission to feel all their feelings too.

    I’m really glad you decided to put this blog up.

  4. Julia Barnickle

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Sue. I had been feeling very raw and unsettled, after posting this particular blog, and I was starting to ask myself: “What’s the point of me sharing this with people? What does it achieve?”

    You’ve just answered that question. Thank you. x

  5. Thank you, Julia, for sharing your honest perspective, doubts and vulnerability. I love Gill’s concept of deep sharing and I agree that it gives permission for others to express their vulnerability. I grew up in a family where humour was an answer to everything so I do empathise. Regarding your desire to bring joy, I thought of you when I read this quote in Michael Brown’s brilliant book The Presence Process: “Achieving the frequency of real joy requires that we become inclusive, not exclusive. We confuse joy with the outer changing experience of happiness. Yet joy is not about feeling good; it’s about feeling everything.”

  6. Julia Barnickle

    That’s a very interesting perspective, Beverley – thank you. I shall have to sit with that for a while. There’s probably another entire blog post in my response to the idea that “joy is not about feeling good; it’s about feeling everything.”

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