Psychological Seams

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When a good friend of mine re-carpeted her small cottage a few years ago, the carpet company couldn’t get it right. On the first attempt to lay the carpet, the installers measured incorrectly. My friend shook her head and chocked it up to an easy misunderstanding. When the installers returned the following week and STILL had the wrong sized carpet, my friend started to lose her patience.

The floor was ripped up and exposed and bare feet were not an option. Even wearing slippers was risky. All she wanted was to wake up in the morning and put her feet down on some cozy carpet. Instead, her floor was covered in sheet rock dust and splintered wood.

On the third try, the installers still couldn’t get it right. But they laid it anyways, claiming that the overlap between the two pieces of carpet in her bedroom was merely a “psychological seam” that only she could see. The installer told her, “no one else will notice it.” Of course, the seam was in her bedroom, so no one else would ever notice it; because they wouldn’t see it.

Still to this day, it is only my friend and her husband that notice this “psychological seam.” Life can be like that sometimes.

Others can’t see them, but you know they’re there. These are the seams, the places where our confidence overlaps insecurity. Or where our public image and our private self overlap. I’ve been working on my public image lately. Having come from a mountain life at the end of a dead end road, I realize that the world has changed. According to Ingrid Backstrom, more people now participate in the world of skiing. Thanks to social media, even those with real jobs and city lifestyles can live vicariously through pro skiers like her.

The simplicity of the mountains is where my psychological seams disappear. I’m glad I wrote a book. It’s a new chapter in my life. Yet self-promotion and publicity have proved harder than the actual writing. I’m an introvert at heart—one who prefers to craft phrases and sentences carefully at her keyboard, rather than adlibs in a public place. But I’m learning.

Being an author forces me to get out there and bump up against my psychological seams. I have to be out there in the world, raising my arm–no emphatically, desperately waving my arm–asking for attention. BUY MY BOOK, READ MY BLOG, WATCH MY REALITY SHOW (that last one hasn’t quite happened yet; I’ll let you know when Oprah calls).

Sometimes I want to crawl back into anonymity; but then I get an email or meet someone that actually paid money for my book and tells me it CHANGED THEIR LIFE. Whoa. Didn’t see that one coming. I recently met a guy in Aspen who drove all the way to my book signing after he heard my interview on Aspen Public Radio. He told me he had to pull over onto the shoulder when the interview aired on his long drive home. It meant something to him, and he’d driven all the way back to buy my book.

Old seams that I thought only I could see are now open and raw. My story is out; my secret insecurities and fears exposed. I suppose we all have our own psychological seams hidden somewhere between our real selves and the one we portray on Facebook. While sometimes I long to just put my feet down on an unblemished span of cozy carpet, I’m glad I’m more exposed now.

What about you, dear reader? What seams have you exposed or found when least expected them?

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13 responses »

  1. Nice post Kim. I had to laugh. I, too, am an introvert at heart, but blogging and writing have forced me to become outgoing – not only via a keyboard, which is easy, but in person and on camera (yes, I’ve expanded into a weekly skiing segment on our NBC affiliate). Suddenly, I am an extrovert. And while I find it tiring, it’s also rewarding to know that I (like my best four-legged friend) can learn new tricks.

    BTW, I met a woman this weekend who had read your book. She only had nice things to say. So no matter how difficult the self-promotion can be, you’ve done a good thing.

    Cheers!

  2. Enjoyed the post. I like the part about us all having our own psychological seams hidden someshwere between our real selves, and the one we portray on facebook. I try very hard to always “be myself” on facebook, but must admit to editing my “posts” or “responses” to posts, or just plain not writing anything when I know it will be controversial.

    The real funny part – I AM EXTROVERTED by nature – but apparently still have my own psycological seams.

    Thanks again for the good read.

  3. Kim, Yes, Yes, Yes. I can relate. My writing is often very intimately personal – and that is the point of it – so that people understand that we are never alone on in our challenges. But in stretching out to reach others, I leave myself exposed. Recently, a post I wrote on my blog about body image elicited great anxiety — I obsessively peaked at both my FB and blog site to see if I had been unfriended because I was seriously in need of psychological help. Instead, I got nothing but support and a couple new friends for my bravery and best yet – touched hearts. I believe that speaking our truth is the most important thing we can possibly do to change the world….it is a matter of necessity, not indulgence. Bravo on pushing at your own seams! Yes, you are changing people’s lives in your writing and your work. It is not comfortable, but growing pains never are.

    • Aha, I get to mostly show the seams I want to, but every once in a while one appears that I thought was for my eyes only. And since I have a blog, of course it comes right out here onto the page.

    • Thanks Heidi. Yes it was very cool that he turned around–especially in Aspen where he probably lived an hour away. Glad you liked this post. It was hard to get perspective on it, so I’m glad it spoke to the voices in your head.

  4. This really, really spoke to me. It is so true about psychological seams–it is a big deal when you expose them to the public & share that intimate space that has always been reserved only for yourself. You are brave and through that bravery you are touching other people’s lives. Pretty amazing.

  5. Great post Kim. So many of us writers are in the same boat, wanting to write real and honest, but also afraid of the unknown that comes with the exposure. It’s been a big growth process for me as well. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Pingback: The Inspiration of New Experience | Lorraine Wilde

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