I am withholding; I am not withdrawing


In order to thrive, I have to subscribe to the belief that I do not owe everyone, everything. I am withholding; I am not withdrawing. Just as I am not sharing all of the bad stuff, I’m also not sharing all of the good stuff. The best stuff. I don’t want to curate a shiny social-media version of my life […]. But I also don’t want to write long, broken narratives about various issues I face because I do not want to invite conversation into what I am still figuring out. It’s delicate. It’s fragile. It’s mine. Because I know now that what I choose not to share are my most precious truths of all.

I Don’t Want to Convey Perfection Online, But Must I Bare My Soul? by Pandora Sykes

Last Friday, I had the opportunity, the privilege, actually, to read this article by Pandora Sykes. She is a British journalist, co-founder of The High Low podcast, brand-new-mum, and owner of an enviable closet, and boy, am I obsessed with her!

In the past people have used the words private and mysterious to describe me —and with good reason too. I have never been the over-sharer type of person. In fact, I gravitate more towards the never-sharer (yes, I know it’s not a word, but you get it, right?) end of the spectrum. I often feel the need to be cautious when sharing because my protective instincts want me to guard my most delicate feelings and passionate dreams as the sacred things they are.

I am not selfish in my desire to keep some things to myself and I am not mysterious when I do not share every thought that goes in my mind. Believe me, there are so many things that I wish I could share but that I feel unable to. I think it is because these things I cannot share are things that have marked me in a significant way. It is not the car I bought, the out-of-state move I made, or the too-good-to-believe job I landed that I cannot share. It is everything that sits behind a pretty picture and a perfect post. It is how much effort was behind it, what was sacrificed for it, how much some things hurt —and still do. It is how each one of this even has changed me, molded me, and defined me forever that I cannot share. Not yet anyway.

And that should be okay. Each one of us has the right to decide what to share, who to share it with, and when to share it too. But then why do we feel the obligation to share with others what is most personal to ourselves? Probably because our human nature demands to know that we are listened, that others feel what we feel, that they experience similar things, so that in a way, we feel less alone in our joys and less lonely in our sorrows. And this is okay too! Perhaps the hardest part of it all is deciding for yourself what you want to share and what you want to keep for yourself. So decide, and then understand that this decision, just like everything else around us, will and should change, adapt, and evolve.

Make peace with the all the things that you do not feel like sharing yet, and be happy knowing that you are only withholding, not withdrawing.

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