If I’m being honest…

snowy night in Nevada
Snowy night in Nevada

Anyone else notice this phrase infiltrating most conversations? “If I’m being honest, I really prefer this restaurant.” Are we starved for this level of honest? But I’ve caught myself saying it, if I’m being honest.

Seriously though, it makes me wonder. What is it about our current psychological state that we feel the need to convince others, or ourselves, that the next words to escape our lips will be truth? I have a theory, but first a story.

Once upon a time, in a town buried in snow, there lived a woman. If her life were to be measured in Facebook posts (of which she never actually makes), they would likely garner lovely comments, and small hieroglyphic responses. She does not find herself struggling with hunger, or bombs exploding, leaving a haze of dust, debris, and chaos. She plans trips, enjoys her job because she works with amazing people, is happily married, has children who call and text her and friends who reach out…Webster might define her existence as nearly idyllic. 

But as in all good stories, there must be a villain—a force to test the mettle of our heroin and give rise to the triumphant. There have been villains that have crossed her path. She has woken from a routine surgery only to find herself in an oncology ward. She has started and failed a business, damaged her children and generally struggled with her identity and existence. She has crossed oceans and swam in grief. But if she were being honest, there is one particular villain, perhaps even a nemesis, who, like her shadow, cannot be truly vanquished. It has followed her for nearly half a century. 

Perhaps the power it wields lies in its shape shifting essence—frequently transforming and donning a clever disguise veiling its true nature and confounding at every turn in her story. But she finally recognized this menace, after months of turmoil, and to vanquish or at least send this threat back into the subtext of her life, she bought a treadmill. 

***

I think the whole “if I’m being honest” thing gets to be me because unless you are a sociopath, or just icky, your goal during engagements of conversation is to be honest. And in a world inundated by half-truths, media hype, and tortuous levels of advertising, we have to wonder if we ever hear a grain of truth in the course of a day. On top of that, I think honesty is like onions, and parfaits. It has layers. We want to be honest, but do we want to be totally, brutally honest about where we are and how we are feeling? Can the world handle our own brand of naked transparency and vulnerability? Can we handle our own truth(s)?

Here’s my onion (at least some of it regarding this topic). I bought a treadmill (spoiler alert, the woman in the story was me) because I don’t like being cold and apparently Nevada is having an identity crisis and it thinks its Alaska. And one should exercise. Layer one.

I bought a treadmill to attempt to shed the poundage delivered by the bitch menopause, and attempt to fit back into my clothes again. Layer two.

And if I’m being brutally honest, the kind of honesty that deflates justifications and sears through self-righteous nonsense to reveal the vulnerable, if I’m being that kind of honest, I bought a treadmill to hold at bay the familiar foe of mental illness. 

A perfect storm of normal changes and new life adjustments knocked me sideways recently, and experience has taught me the consequences of not recognizing the familiar signs indicating I’m headed down a dangerous path. If I don’t acknowledge the indicators and fight back at the onset of these signs, a thick presence of indifference will settle in around me like a soupy fog, blocking joy and love, and isolating me until I begin to believe there is no way out. Then a spiral of despair and depression begins…therefore I bought a treadmill. (I’ll get to the connection between spiraling and treadmills later but for now, you’ll just have to go with it).

In a conversation with a friend recently (we were making jewelry so of course the conversation went deep) she pointed out I had written a book that highlighted my husband’s struggle with PTSD and the reverberating repercussions, several posts about marriage as it relates to horses (shameless teaser), but seldom have I (if ever) gone deep into my own mental illness struggles. What the hell is that about? (She didn’t say those exact words. She’s not a monster).

But it got me thinking. Why am I avoiding? And, it seems the best chance of finding out would be to just stop avoiding and start writing. Hence, this prologue post to a series on mental health. (EEK! The word “series” makes my palms sweat a bit, which means I cannot promise a consistent release of posts. But I’ve started at least. And maybe you feel this is simply a self-indulgent, narcissism fueled attempt to garner sympathy and attention. You can tell me that as long as you start with, “If I’m being honest.” Because then at least there will be a bit of irony, which will make me chuckle and it will be easier to absorb your opinion).

On that note, I realize perhaps I’m only adding one more strained note into the cacophony of voices shouting into the ether. I have no ideas of grandeur that what I have to say will be anything new or revelatory. But, what the heck. Nothing ventured nothing gained. 

Perhaps I have painted this blog with enough self-doubt for now. Until next time, when I either discuss crippling abandonment issues or postpartum depression. Either of which sound equally riveting, I’m sure. 

P.S. I am not a trained professional. I’m just a woman, who appreciates sarcasm, sharing a story. This post is not a plug for treadmills nor is it a claim that treadmills are a cure for depression.  

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10 Comments on "If I’m being honest…"

  1. Teddi Deppner
    19/03/2023 at 3:41 pm Permalink

    If I’m being honest, it gives me a thrill every time I see your name in the “From” field on an email. It doesn’t even bother me that it’s a post written to the whole world (or at least all your subscribers), it just makes me happy that I’ll get another update on how Rebecca is doing and experience pleasant memories from our times together in person.

    If I’m being brutally honest, I suppose I would add that if you were writing these posts every week I might grow tired of seeing your name, but that’s more about my overstuffed to-do list and lack of “free time” than about you. 😉

    Looking forward to hearing more, whenever you get around to it. Even though social media and digital communication have their downsides, I love living in a time period where I can make a friend and then stay connected with them from a long ways away in time and space. Best wishes for your treadmilling success!

  2. Rebecca Qualls
    20/03/2023 at 9:18 pm Permalink

    Thanks Teddi! For taking the time to read, for responding, and getting to experience the same thing when I see your name! Miss you and have always appreciated your honesty!! I hope you and your family are well!

  3. Diann Tipton Fischer
    19/03/2023 at 6:11 pm Permalink

    Rebecca,
    If I’m being honest, I love this! Both hysterical and true life!! Thanks for being honest!!!♥️♥️.

    Diann that went to school with David♥️

  4. Rebecca Qualls
    20/03/2023 at 9:20 pm Permalink

    Thank you Diann, and I remember who you are! Though I’d like to think of you as she who reads Rebecca’s blog. Why live in the past! Haha! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! ❤️

  5. John M.
    20/03/2023 at 8:08 pm Permalink

    I great read. I laughed and felt like I was inside your head for a minute. Basically you are freezing in the Snow and your treadmill you bought might help. However, it’s almost Spring! I think in just a few more weeks things will warm up and a little vitamin D and warmth might be the best thing the thaw you out. Hang in there!

  6. Rebecca Qualls
    20/03/2023 at 9:21 pm Permalink

    And the comment made it through! Thank you John! I’m doing okay since I’m actually using my treadmill and since we’ve had snow in June before, I think I’ll appreciate it tear round!

  7. Cathy Pagano
    22/03/2023 at 10:46 am Permalink

    If I am being totally honest …..I have been saying to Craig “what ever happened to the Quall’s, wonder where they are these days”? And then there you were in my email. It is good you are back in the US of A. I will be thinking of you when I get on my treadmill also!! Just celebrating today with our oldest grandson, Corey’s son, his 13th birthday. Nothing like being a grandma. 8 grandkids and loving it It is the greatest thing to look forward to. We thank the good Lord every day. Keep well my friend. Stay warm on that treadmill.

  8. Rebecca Qualls
    25/03/2023 at 7:03 pm Permalink

    So great to hear from you! Hope you and Craig are well! We miss you! Congratulations Grandma and enjoy your treadmill! Hope to see you soon!

  9. Margaret Heim
    04/04/2023 at 6:25 pm Permalink

    “And maybe you feel this is simply a self-indulgent, narcissism fueled attempt to garner sympathy and attention.”
    I have this notion whenever I make a quick shy comment on a FB post. Then I erase it and scroll down.
    So, Rebecca, bring on the series. Talking about this stuff helps us all.

  10. Rebecca Qualls
    18/03/2024 at 9:49 am Permalink

    Hi Margaret! I just found this. Thank you and seeing your name pop up brought a smile! Hope you are well!!

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