My #BeReal guest today is Dawn Daum.
This post is proof that the things we do and say really can matter. I continue to search myself every time I read a new #BeReal submission. I am finally realizing just how much of a work in process I am.
Thank you Dawn for challenging us to call ourselves out.
Who am I?
I suppose I’m still waiting on the universe to answer that one for me; although I can feel in my bones I’m inching closer to the elusive answer. I feel it when I disagree with someone unapologetically, when I say fuck it and wear the bikini anyway, when I keep eye contact and talk about being a survivor, and when I dare to do something that only a short time ago used to scare the shit out of me.
When I caught wind of Hasty’s #BeReal campaign, I fell in love with it, but if I’m being honest, it may have been a superficial love affair. Sort of one of those “Oh I love this!” moments that captivated my eight second attention span. I snapped a pic and threw it up on Facebook. Then, this short and sweet hash tag started to ruminate in my big beautiful brain. The idea of being “real” kind of held my mind hostage for a while. How would I behave or think differently if I was able to turn that part of my brain off that is always so worried about being judged, and that judges others based on my own insecurities?
What does being real mean to me?
Being real is calling myself out. I’ve spent my whole life piling brick on top of brick to keep people from seeing what is going on inside of me, and myself from feeling it. My brain got stuck on a groove as a child, causing me to put more value on thinking than feeling. It stems from having to disassociate in order to survive. I’m only just realizing this now, at 34 years old. One can only rationalize, instead of feel her emotions for so long before her reality breaks. I don’t have to protect myself anymore. I have real love, real support around me and I need to learn to trust in that truth.
Loving myself is being real. Allowing myself to feel whatever the hell is overcoming me and not minimizing my emotions for the sake of protecting myself or others is being real. Demolishing that wall I starting building at a very young age, so that I can authentically experience and share my life with the people I love–that’s being real
What do you think most people think about you by just seeing your picture?
I think I look young, in person and in pictures. Soft. Maybe even naïve. Mix that with my left-over southern twang from childhood and people often underestimate my fierceness, my humor and my insight. They think I only listen to country music and rode a horse up easy street to get where I am. Don’t let my delicate features fool you. I can be a scrappy little thang if you disrespect or treat me or someone I love unjustly. I may look young but my soul has out-aged most of my peers.
#BeReal–Understand there is more to me than what you see.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I’m actually pretty funny. I plan on jumping out of a perfectly good airplane some day–hopefully soon. I can totally white-girl rap to Tupac and Eminem. I dream in color. The dumbest jokes are usually the ones that make me laugh the hardest. I am tender-hearted, but not naïve. Despite horrific experiences I have had and the extensive loss I have suffered, I genuinely believe people are good.
I’m anything but simple. I’m complicated as fuck–for better or worse.
That’s me. My story is thick and sticky and beautiful. And is still unraveling. I am very much a 30-something year old work in progress. And if I’m being real, I’m just fine with that.
I fight with love
And I laugh with rage
You’ve gotta live light enough to see the humor
And long enough to see some change
Dawn is a thirty-something wife, momma to two, writer, dreamer, survivor and student of life. She blogs at W.T.F. words thoughts feelings, and is co-editor of the upcoming anthology Trigger Points: Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting. Her work has been featured on Huff Post Parents, The Indie Chicks, Elephant Journal and Scary Mommy. Dawn can be found on Facebook and Twitter.