Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

| Comments

I’m writing this post as part of the “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” blog challenge from Ez of Creature Comforts. Inspired by this post from Jess Constable, it serves as a reminder that life isn’t always as picture-perfect as we may make it seem.

It’s not easy to write these things and I’m sure it’s going to be incredibly hard to actually hit the “publish” button. I’m fairly certain I’ll do a little freak-out dance, followed by a “WHAT DID I DOOOO?” Hopefully though, it can lead to bigger discussions, more open thoughts and posts, and less skimming of the surface with my writing.

Here are just a few of the things I hope I can be totally honest about:

I feel intense guilt sometimes that I don’t bring in much money. 

Rob is definitely the bread-winner in our family, and he’s totally and completely amazing in that he never gives me a hard time about my meager income. He lets me do work that makes me happy and doesn’t ever ask me about how much I’m making. In return I try my best take care of everything around the house and to tell him often how much I appreciate all of the hard work he does every day.

But I feel so guilty sometimes that I won’t even buy a cup of coffee. Our joint account doesn’t feel like it’s “my” money, and even if I really need something as simple as socks or a cheap pair of jeans, I’ll check and make sure it’s “okay” for me to spend the money. Rob always tells me it’s fine and assures that I have no reason to ask him or feel guilty. I don’t know how to let go of the feelings that I have to take care of everything single thing at the house (groceries, cleaning, laundry) before I’ve earned the right to spend any kind of money on the things I personally need.

I have body issues.

I think this is a problem for most women I know, and men (although it seems not as many men are willing to talk about it). I’m always conscious about the fit of my clothes, and I worry about my weight. During my freshman year of college, I came home and my Dad poked my side and made a comment about how I’d gained weight. I wanted to burst into flames right then.

I am also very pale-skinned, and my whole life I’ve had people call me Casper and a ghost because I’m so pale. You won’t catch me in a pair of shorts to save my life, because I grew up being told my thighs were too big and too white. Seeing pictures of  myself from 6th grade, I have no idea why anyone would have said that to me. But it stuck in my head, and when I put on a swimsuit and hear more comments about how I’m “so white!” it makes me want to don a burka.

My family jokes about it lot too, but it always stings, even though they say it with a smile and laugh. Why can’t I just be the color that I am? Is it really that horrible that I’m not some magazine-worthy bronzed beauty? I remember when my friend Amy told me that I had “the most beautiful porcelain skin”. It makes me cry even now to remember how she, for the first time ever, made me feel like it was okay.

I get very jealous of people who seem to find time to do everything they want to do.

People who get to travel, have kids, buy houses, sew awesome clothes, make crafts and post it all online like it’s no big deal. When I see someone who is able to sew a new garment every day or even every week, I wonder what the hell it is I’m doing with my time that I can’t seem to make that happen. I’m sure it means that they are giving up things, like date nights and days off to go to a giant tulip field, but it feels like they have some kind of intense time-alterating abilities that I was just not born with.

There’s a popular quote that I recently read that is helping me with this (though I still need to work on it). “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I need to be reminded everyone once in a while though, and it’s a reason I rarely get on Pinterest and don’t read blogs that make me feel like I should be piling more on my plate.

 

So those are just a few things on my mind that I’ve felt the need to acknowledge. Yes, there are more, and yes, I’ll probably write about them some day. But a girl can only share so much at once, you know?

If you are interested in this project and would like to see what other people are afraid to tell you, I’ll update this post with a list of links to other participants. You can also find the list on Ez’s blog post at, Creature Comforts.

If you found this helpful, please share or leave a comment below:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneBuffer this page
  • http://www.cookoorikoo.com shana

    i love this project and loved this post. thanks for sharing.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Thank you, Shana!

  • http://www.creaturecomfortsblog.com Ez

    Amy…what a lovely post to read. Thank you for sharing so openly. I found myself nodding “yes” to so much of what you wrote…especially the “pale skin” issue. I too am of the pasty white variety and have had similar comments and names applied to me because of it. Fortunately it’s something that I only have to think about once the weather warms up to the level where I’m forced to wear shorts and blind the world with the glare off my legs. ;-) From here on out, and from one porcelain lady to another, I say let’s celebrate every bit of who we are…pasty paleness and all. You are beautiful just the way you are. xo Ez

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Thank you, Ez! It wasn’t easy to write, but I’m certainly happy that I did it! I’m so glad to read that I’m not the only on who’s concerned about my skin. If I ever get to meet you at a blogging conference, we will have to compare our beautiful pasty legs! ;)

  • http://www.roomsandwords.com Chedva

    I just clicked over from Ez, and while I find the whole project amazing and genuine and touching, I was shocked to see that your fears are exactly those I would have written. That first point about not bringing in enough has caused me many sleepless nights (even though I have an amazing supportive husband). Will it be tactless if I say I’m glad I’m not alone in this?

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Thanks, Chedva! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels that guilt as well. It really is a huge relief that I’m not just being a crazy neurotic weirdo! Let’s both let go of that guilt, eh? SPEND ALL THE MONEY!!

      NO, don’t do that. But let’s GET RID OF THE GUILT! :)

      • http://www.roomsandwords.com Chedva

        Sounds like a plan ;)

  • http://aholeistodig.blogspot.com/ hannah singer

    amy, this was so brave. and what a special blessing that your friend encouraged you in such a way! i am super pale, too, and struggle with that as well. and? sometimes i fight that same jealousy, because i hardly find time for my basic things, much less my fun desires and projects.
    we press on. so grateful for this post!

    xo

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Thank you, Hannah! Like Ez said, let’s celebrate the paleness!

  • http://www.teawithmeblog.com Heather Mulholland

    I can definitely relate to the jealousy. Sometimes I look at people and think, “That’s what I want to do, why can’t I do that? They seem so carefree and loving every minute of what they do, why can’t I just toss of the constraints I have and go off and do that.” to the point where you are so consumed by jealously that I never seem to actually work to get where they are.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Totally, Heather! I get sucked into reading blogs about what everyone else is doing instead of doing my own inspirational things DAILY. I need to be better about setting a timer for myself or something, so I don’t get so sucked into the imagery of the “pretty” lives everyone else has.

  • Pingback: Things I’m Afraid To Tell You. : :: plurabelle calligraphy >> a blog

  • Pingback: things i’m afraid to tell you – the movement | Makeunder My Life

  • http://www.thesavoryandthebeautiful.com Candice

    Thank you for this very honest post. I’ve never read your blog but was steered over by Creature Comforts. I just started my own blog a few months ago and to read this quote “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” made my whole being jump into perspective. I guess in the last month or so that feeling of comparison has been creeping up on me and has actually been adding stress, so thank you for your honesty!

    -Candice
    http://www.TheSavoryandTheBeautiful.com

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Isn’t that a fantastic quote? I swear, I need to write that in big black bold letters and hang it above my desk so when I’m feeling jealous of someone’s book deal or European vacation, I can read it and smack myself. Thank you for being encouraging!

  • http://wordpress.oilandgarlic.com oilandgarlic

    This post resonated with me. I thought of Oh Happy Day, a blog I love, but sometimes it causes envy because it seems like she is always planning or thinking of fun parties. (though in truth, I don’t like party planning anyway)…Thanks for sharing.

    I always wanted fair, porcelain-like skin!

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Ha! I love Oh Happy Day as well, and am constantly pining to also be on an awesome Paris adventure. Jealousy can be incredibly hard to let go of! And don’t be too jealous of my pale skin, okay? I fry in the sun after five minutes, promise! ;)

  • http://littlegrayfoxblog.com Tsuki

    I think it’s brave of everyone who is joining along in posting these. And it’s really interesting to see just how many fears we all have in common

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      I agree, Tsuki! I have read some really incredible posts from everyone today. I think jealousy and a fear of failure apply to almost all of us. Now the question is how to let those things go…

  • http://www.peachlings.com Bec Nolan

    Just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing! And for the record, I love pale skin – the paler the better, I just think is so beautiful.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Thank you, Bec! I am doing my best to learn to love it as well, and your positive comment helps!

  • http://www.ellebydesign.net Lauren

    I love your post, Amy, thank you for sharing! I am also super pale, and instead of feeling self-conscious, try to remind myself how much more gracefully I’ll age because of it. But no shorts for me either… ever. :)

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Ooh! Yes! I forget about that. We pale ladies will look like we’re 50 when we’re really 75!

      I actually bought a pair of shorts last year. I told myself, “Okay, this is it. It’s fine. My legs are fine. I can do this.” I still never wore them, but maaaybe this year?

  • http://secondhandwithstyle.blogspot.com Beth

    Thank you for sharing, Amy! As a fellow shorts-avoider (mine due to knock knees) and having been blessed with pale skin as well, I very much relate to this post! It’s insane how some comments carelessly thrown our way can just stick with us, isn’t it? But yay for your friend praising praising your beautiful porcelain skin, because it’s true! How tanning ever went from a sign of the “working class” to something that’s sought after, I don’t know, but I’ll take pale any day and be proud of it!

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      It is insane how I still remember every time someone made fun of me for my skin tone. Why are the bad things sometimes the most memorable?

      I don’t understand tanning either! Why would you want to increase your chances of CANCER just so you’re not pale skinned? I’m rooting for everyone’s love of Downton Abbey to bring back the mass appeal of fair skin. The day everyone walks around with parasols again is the day I say, “I WIN!”

  • Auntie L

    Isn’t it sad that offhand comments have such a lasting place in our memories and self image. When I think of you – from day one – I think of an adorable, bright, talented girl who has been a bright spot in our lives and who is now a beautiful, talented, amazing woman that I am proud to call my niece!

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Thank you so much, Aunt L! When I think about the words “bright spot” in relation to my childhood, are you sure you didn’t mean “pain the ass who never shut up”? ;) I appreciate your love and support so much. Thank you for always being encouraging!

      • Auntie L

        Meant what I said and said what I meant (to steal from Dr. Seuss). To be honest Lauren reminds me of you in many ways – smart, active, inquisitive and always entertaining:) Encouraging you was and is easy – there is so much there worth encouraging!

      • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

        If Lauren’s like a little Amy, then I feel for both Erin and Mom! Thanks for being so encouraging. You’ve always been one to give me the confidence to go for it! :)

  • http://www.a-life-in-progress.com Heather

    Thank you for your inspiring words. I am grateful for your honesty. I feel like I just said to a friend the other day how my life looks nothing like some people’s blogs or Pinterest. It is really refreshing to be reminded that I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in anyone’s day-to-day life. We all have struggles and triumphs. And the comparison between mine and what I perceive to be true for someone else only robs me of my joy. Thank you again.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      It’s true, Heather! Everyone sits around in their pajamas eating jars of Nutella while staring at last night’s dishes, but we’re all afraid to admit it. I believe, like you, that comparing ourselves and our lives to the imagery put forth by others is almost never a good thing. Here’s to more real and true beauty- honesty!

  • http://www.camp1899.com tiffany of camp1899

    amy.. first time to your blog and i just have to say, you are just about as cute as can be!! i love your haircut! and that you participated in this project (which i am just learning of..) and kudos to you for going after your dreams of teaching and the courage to let someone help you out along the way (sweet husbands!) that’s courage in my eyes… xo, t.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Aaaaand I’m blushing. Thank you for your encouragement, Tiffany! It’s sweet comments like yours that set an example of being supportive and positive in blogland, even if you don’t personally know someone. :)

  • http://www.modishblog.com Jena

    I feel ya on everything- guilt, body issues & jealousy! It’s funny, I remember being jealous of my pretty pale friend cause her skin was so flawless- like porcelain I’d tell her too! I ‘m mixed race and feel like I don’t quite fit in with anyone’ else’s skin & am covered with freckles & birthmarks & have big curly hair that’s bright orange! I’m ok with most of it now but it took a good 29ish years to get there :) Happy to have discovered your blog!

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      It’s so funny- I think that women with freckled skin are ADORABLE! And big curly orange hair? HOW FUN IS THAT?! I think you’re super cute! It takes us so long and so much work to be able to accept ourselves, and to allow ourselves to believe that other people to accept us as we are. My husband has taught me so much about learning to love myself, but wow- it was hard! Here’s to your beautiful cute freckles and bouncy, happy, curly hair. :)

  • http://owlintherain.blogspot.com Jennifer

    I’m LOVING this project! I want every blogger in the world to do it! Thanks for your candor. And ditto, absolutely, on all three.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      I want everyone to do it too, Jennifer! It has been amazing and overwhelming to see the support and love that’s come out of this project. Makes me tear up just sitting here! I have done so many fist-pumps in the air, because I’m so proud of everyone admitting some really really hard stuff. We all kick-ass and just didn’t know it yet. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • ally

    Amy – found you through Creature Comforts blog and I just wanted to thank you for sharing! Your honesty is so refreshing. I can relate to ALL the things you posted, and from reading the comments, lots of other people can, too. It’s nice to be reminded that all of us aspiring creatives are also just human and we can only do so much! Best not to be too hard on ourselves and focus on the beauty in our everyday lives. And not spend all our time reading blogs! :)

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      AMEN to not spending all our time reading blogs- I am so guilty of that! I’m glad you can relate to everything I posted. It’s been quite a funny 24 hours, realizing that I’m feeling insecure, when I have no real reason to be. EVERYONE has these same fears and feelings, which just means I’m NORMAL. How ironic. ;) Thank YOU for sharing, Ally!

  • Amy Studabaker

    And I still think you have the most beautiful porcelain skin. This post was so touching. It made me cry. Love you :)

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Well I was definitely crying as I typed that out- it really did mean so much to me! Your words are what I think about when I’m feeling insecure about donning a summer dress, and it always makes me feel better. I love you!

  • Pingback: I Can’t Say It Enough

  • Peggy

    Thanks for sharing. First of all, when you reach your 40s, 50s, 60s, that white skin you dislike so much will pay off because your skin will be like porcelain – creamy white and smooth – while all your sun-loving friends will be gaining wrinkles on a daily basis! You will look 20 years younger than your true age – really. As for all those over achievers, my boss used to use an analogy that I love: some people are able to spin twelve plates in the air while others can only spin two or three – any more than that and they will all come crashing down. I am a member of the latter and I have no problem with it. I just try to put my all into those two or three things.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      That’s what I’m counting on, Peggy! I have to say, even at 27, some of my peers who sunbathe a lot are showing signs of it. Also, I agree with being the best at a few things rather than only being good at many!

  • Maggie

    Amy,
    You are one of the most beautiful young women I know. All of the Things you are afraid of ring so true for me too. Except the skin issue, I’m on the opposite end of that spectrum. My skin coloring, (being of Asian, Sicilian & Scottish heritage) is a shade darker than my Brothers and my sisters skin is fair. When I was very young my father would yell at me to scrub my knees because they always looked like I had been kneeling in the dirt, until the day he scrubbed them so hard they almost bled and he finally realized it was just the way my skin looked. Since then I wanted to be as fair as my sister, but now I’m finally accepting ME and all that entails.
    Love you always Kid,
    Maggie

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Oh Maggie- I MISS YOU! Your father scrubbing your knees sounds like a memory that would be hard to erase. I love your skin color, and I”m glad you’re learning to love it. I hope to see you sometime this summer!

  • http://www.barkingmad.net.nz crispin korschen

    Thank you so much…….I feel the same way as your No 1 about not bringing in enough money. i have a fabulous partner who looks after me and feel I have to keep everything else running to hold up my end because I don’t contribute that much money.

    I agree with your friend pale skin is very beautiful and you should cherish it.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      It’s really interesting to me to see how many of us feel that way. I couldn’t do the things I love without Rob’s support and his hard work, but I end up not doing the projects I want to because my guilt tells me to take care of things like the laundry and dishes, leaving no time for my endeavors. It’s a terrible cycle that I’m going to do my best to break out of by not spending my working hours on household chores. Easier said than done (I can’t ignore a sink of dirty dishes)!

      And thank you for loving pale skin- I’m doing my best to love it too!

  • Carolyn

    After stumbling on to this post, THANK you for so beautifully expressing the fears and concerns so man of us, if not all, share. It was especially meaningful and refreshing to read your thoughts on guilt about not bringing in “the big bucks” of the household, fears many feel but probably very few speak openly about.
    Last week, I made the decision to leave a career that wasn’t the right fit, and can do this because of an amazing fiancé’ s support and encouragement, both financial and emotional. The level of guilt I feel from not contributing to our household expenses has surprised me, and I consistently worry that I am being so selfish. It is an enormous relief reading about others experiencing similar.

    However, what I encourage you to remember (and I’m sure you know already) is that a partnership and a family is not a “who owes what” type of game. There may be a time in your life when you are the huge breadwinner, and your partner/spouse will need to rely on you. It’s the big picture support and the long haul that counts.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Good for you for leaving a job that you didn’t like, Carolyn! I”m so glad you too have someone to support you in finding what makes you happy! It makes all the difference in the world.

      I also worry about being selfish. I try to combat that by making sure I’m also putting Rob’s happiness in first place, because if he’s not happy, then I also won’t be. It’s a hard battle some days, but it’s so worth it! It’s hard to not play the “this is mine” game like you mentioned, and every time I feel myself doing that, I combat it by giving up something. For example, if I am feeling possessive of “my” money, then I have to put a large chunk of it into our savings account. I try to hold myself accountable to not being selfish!

      Best of luck, Carolyn!

  • http://fortheeasilydistracted.blogspot.com Rhianne

    This is a beautifully honest post. I too have really pale skin and I hate it when people mention my white legs, I always have different colour tights on as they tend to look more pasty than porcelain.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      I used to be told that I “had” to wear hose or tights just because of my legs. It made me really ashamed of the color of my skin and I was petrified of leaving the house without them for the longest time (I still don’t like above-the-knee skirts). Mine aren’t exactly “porcelain” either, since I have cellulite, lovely little blue veins and always a bruise or two! But, these are my legs and my skin, and no one is perfect! The next time someone mentions your white legs, I’d say to give them a defiant explanation about how it’s the way you were made, and if they don’t like they can SHOVE OFF! ;)

  • Pingback: Things they are afraid to tell you | Blogstar

  • Pingback: Things I’m Afraid To Tell You: Wave Two | Snapshots & Secrets

  • Pingback: Things I’m Afraid To Tell You — Wave No. 2

  • http://coffeeandadoughnut.blogspot.com simply stork

    wonderfully put…thank you

    ~simply~

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Thank you, Simply!

  • kat

    Beautiful post. I am crying as I read it. I also have pale skin, AND freckles (both of which I don’t really mind, until I am reminded that I am some sort of horrible mutation). People don’t know how self-conscious they can make me, when I am constantly listening to how white I am (I was also called Casper!), and how “ugly freckles are…oh, but not yours!” yeah, makes me want to be seen in public :/

    Thanks to all the lovely blogging ladies sharing. This is amazing, and renewing my faith in blogs. I have opted out of pinterest & reading blogs for months now, because the shallowness was becoming too much.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

      Hi, Kat! I hope that you were crying tears of happiness, having found myself and other bloggers with the same issues! I never understood why anyone wouldn’t like freckles- I happen to find them to be quite adorable! :) I’m very glad to hear you’ve got a renewed faith in blogs. I only hope everyone starts to show a little more of the truth of every-day life online. Thanks for reading, and keep your chin up! Your skin and freckles are beautiful!

      • kat

        Thank you! It was tears of “someone else has this problem!?” I usually don’t let it get to me, but sometimes it’s too much. Ha, now you are becoming a therapist :) But seriously, thanks for being brave and sharing. This whole movement has been really uplifting!

      • http://reallyhandmade.com Amy Alan

        No problem, Kat! Sharing a few of my issues has been more therapy to me than anyone else! :)

  • Pingback: CONNECTION IS EVERYTHING. | kelleerich.com

  • Pingback: Things I am afraid to tell you | Pencil Shavings

  • Pingback: L'élephant Rose

  • Pingback: Things I’m afraid to tell you – Part 2 | Design&

  • sewobsessedmama

    you seem like a truly genuine deep hearted person and it truly does show in your demeanour (at least from what i can tell on a few videos i’ve watched recently). you seem like a beautiful person both on the inside and out. Don’t worry to much about not making a lot of money right now….you will achieve great success one day….it just might take a little longer because it doesn’t sound like you are cut throat, especially in an industry/society that is. The sewing industry could really, really use a compassionate and encouraging individual like yourself. You are a true gem. Don’t let others bring you down because of their own insecurities – the people in magazines that are “role-models” for what the perfect person should be are fatally flawed….they may possess what is deemed beauty but majority will never be as beautiful as a caring and compassionate person like yourself. you are beautiful on both the inside and out. I am a stay at home mom of 4 young kids – hubby works shift work and i totally understand where you are coming from about earning your keep …i can’t even remember the last time I bought something for myself – quite offend the things i buy for “myself” are intended to be made into something for my family. I am also a non-pratising nurse, so i know that I could bring in more money for our family but i love being a sahm – more money won’t buy our kids happiness ( sadly this isn’t any opinion for the majority in todays society – i am blessed to have this opportunity). If your wondering how people “get everything done” its a balancing act and pr to make it seem like they are super women or man….should i do laundry or make an outfit? or they have a ton of extra help. Don’t worry about what others are doing…. Not everything is as it seems and everyone’s situation is different.

    • http://reallyhandmade.com/ Amy Alan

      Thanks so much. You are amazing for being a SAHM. It’s the hardest job in the world, usually with no vacation or days off. I agree that “not everything is as it seems”, especially in the online world. Will I be brave enough one day to actually share some struggles that are close to my heart? Maybe. But for right now I am careful to remember that not all is what it seems.