A confident turtle is a dead turtle?

So… I’ve been watching my old videos back. Actually, not that many just now, but I don’t have to actually watch them anymore, I feel like I’ve seen them all so many times already that just looking at the thumbnail refreshes my memory.

It’s sad for me, right now, to go back and… watch myself get older, I guess? I feel like when I started, I had no real concept of what I was doing, that I still don’t. Like if… if my life before starting a youtube channel was a pond, that by putting myself in the ocean I changed myself, somehow, and I’m never going to be able to get the person I was before back. That’s scary.

It’s scary for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I might’ve tossed myself carelessly into the ocean, but I’m still just a tadpole. And I’m scared of being eaten even in the smallest possible pond. And like, I guess in this metaphor it’s more like I’m in an aquarium, or something, and the people on the other side of the internet glass can’t actually touch me, but… they also can. Especially if you take this whole youtube thing to its logical conclusion, which I guess would be… trying to be a performer of some kind?

A lot of people have gone crazy trying to be famous – not just, like, in the pursuit of fame, although that also happens, but being hyper-visible in that way is a lot for one human brain to cope with, and a lot of people who become famous, whether or not they intended to, go crazy as a result.

And I think if one thing is apparent from my blog/videos/life in general, it’s that I’ve been crazy since day one. But I also never wanted this, I just felt… cornered. I was so alone before Brandon came into the picture, and then Gina, my ex-roommate who miraculously found me… I really don’t know if I can explain, or if you would believe, the depth of isolation I was facing at that time. Which is funny because I don’t even know if you can tell from my videos, I was kind of in denial about it myself.

It’s a hard thing to try and get my head around, let alone make it make sense to other people… but anyway, I was just… youtube was my only social outlet. And twitter. They were the only source of novelty in my life. So I didn’t think twice, I guess partly because I didn’t think it would go anywhere and partly because I spent most of high school watching other people on the internet act like it was normal to talk to thousands of strangers online.

But it really isn’t. And I’m not saying I’m not grateful for that outlet, by a long shot, because I would literally not be alive without it, I don’t think. I don’t know how I could be, because the bars of my mental prison were very, very real. And I’m still terrified of being… physically… of putting myself out there in a literal sense, and not just a metaphorical one. Because in my experience, that hasn’t ever gone well. Brandon and Gina actually happen to be two of the few people I’m not physically afraid to be around. I have this fight or flight thing and I just… I can’t really…

I don’t know how to explain that level of distrust, because it’s not to do with the person in front of me in the moment so much as it is the person, or people, who’ve hurt me in the past, and how completely – COMPLETELY – blindsided I was by their actions. I think in a few cases, they were also completely taken for a ride by their own actions. But that doesn’t change the fact that now I feel this profound sense of distrust, not because I think that people are inherently bad or anything but because in my mind, I can’t tell anymore whether someone is a threat to my physical safety or not. I just can’t.

So my solution is to just avoid real interactions with people unless I’m absolutely certain that I will be safe, but no one is ever actually certain that they’ll be safe anywhere, under any circumstances.

But for me, that isn’t something I can just ignore. The biggest fractures in my sense of security didn’t happen on the edge of a cliff or a foreign country or whatever, they happened in my friend’s back yard, in my own home. My trust wasn’t broken by people I knew I should be afraid of, but by the people I thought I had no reason to doubt. You see? And so now, everywhere and everyone are equally threatening. Which makes it easier, I guess, to stand on the edge of a cliff, so to speak, but it’s not for the right reason. It’s not so much that I’m brave to do stuff on YouTube, it’s that I’m so scared of everything all the time that by comparison, it doesn’t carry the same weight that it would for a normal person. Every risk, big or small, to me, I think… sort of just feels the same.

That’s a tricky paradox to play with, and it’s one that I think a lot of “performers” have wrestled with, but it’s really very unsettling to not be able to trust the calibration on your own ability to perceive and react to risk taking and danger. Does that make sense?

I also just get so tired of running the same rat mazes in my head over and over only to find that some dipshit scientist has made some minor tweak in the layout again. I’ve been over this same problem again and again from so many angles and with so many people and I’ve tried to explain why it seems so impossible to get over but I really just think that some wounds don’t heal, at least maybe they don’t in some people, and that it doesn’t matter whether my wounds were deeper than anyone else’s or whatever because the fact is that whatever chemical reaction they caused in me, I still can’t get over.

I’ve never wanted anyone to think that I think my suffering is more important or more justified than theirs, I just want. I want. I want someone to understand that the figurative monsters in my closet are as real to me as the air I breathe.

It doesn’t even matter if they’re in my head, is what I’m saying, the point isn’t that I’m afraid of each individual person I meet or try to befriend – it’s that I’m afraid of the fact that all of my deepest betrayals, all of the people who hurt me the most, were people I thought I could trust, who I’d trusted for years, in some cases, who I never would have guessed could hurt me the way that they did in a thousand years, but then it happened. And yes, with at least two of them, I should’ve seen it coming. But “should have” is a pretty shitty and loaded phrase, and the point isn’t… let’s see.

The point is, if I’m a turtle and I have to decide under uncertain conditions whether to poke my head out of my shell, it only takes a few sharks trying to bite your head off to make a gal think “you know what, I think I’m going to just live my life from inside the shell, from now on.”

I always did like the dark, and silence. Getting migraines, I guess, made me associate those things with an escape from pain. So I kind of dig my shell. I’ve made it pretty cozy for myself in here.

I guess all I’m saying is that being a turtle who tried to protect itself from the predators in a pond by diving face first into the ocean… is a pretty ludicrous predicament to find oneself in, even if from my point of view, it seemed completely rational, at the time. So now, when I watch my old videos, I see a turtle who was not yet aware that where she ended up was, in fact, the ocean, not just a different pond.

But I guess maybe the other thing I’ve been realizing is that nobody ever really escapes from the ocean, anyway.

We just convince ourselves that we can so we don’t have to think about the predators we can’t see, so we can not just poke our heads out, but keep them out for long enough to do the things that make life worth living, presumably. Eating. Talking to other turtles. Looking at other sea creatures. Whatever else turtles do…

I guess. I guess my question is that it seems to me that a confident turtle is a dead turtle. You know? Have I taken the metaphor too far? I’ve honestly always related to turtles, so it felt like the right way to vent my frustrations with my current… stupid… life… predicament…?

Also here’s a fun image from this website.

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