Talking to new people about your loss is weird. There really is no way around it — it’s just simply weird. There is really no grey area when it comes to talking about my loss; I either want to talk about it or I don’t. But even on the days when I don’t want to talk about, my loss should never a taboo thing that can’t be a topic of conversation.
I recently started a new job. Starting something new is always scary and I am always focused on the social aspect: constantly worried that everyone will hate me. I know I’ll eventually learn all the stuff I need to do, but will people like me? I have a fear of being that annoying new girl that everyone talks about when I’m not around. I guess I just want to be a likable person.
I think recently starting new jobs has been more terrifying than usual. I have had a lot of new jobs recently. I am in a world of balancing internships with paid positions. However, with all the scary things that come with a new job I have to also focus on something else. What do I do when people ask about my family? How in the world do I tell people I just met that I don’t have a mom anymore? I’m always worried sharing about my loss will make me less likable. I’ve suddenly become that girl whose mom died. I now have “emotionally fragile” stamped on my forehead, a “stay away from me” sign if you will.
My approach has lately been to try and subtly work it into conversation. Because the truth is that they’re going to find out one way or another. An easy way for me is when people ask about my tattoo on my arm. It’s for my mom and I think it is clearly a memorial tat. I can just say, “This is for my mom.” People either ask or they don’t and both scenarios are okay. Other times I try to mention it when people ask about my living situation. I try to be casual so people know I’m willing to answer questions and they don’t have to be uncomfortable with it. If I bring it up first then it shows that I’m not uncomfortable with it.
Maybe if I show that I’m okay talking about it then other people will feel like it’s less taboo to talk about my loss.
I think I’ve learned a lot through sharing my loss. Whether I share my loss through answering a question or by sharing a post on a social media site, I learned that you can’t control how others are going to react to your loss. You can only control how you tell them. Yes, losing someone is a delicate thing. It should be treated with care. Starting that fragile conversation is scary and it forces vulnerability, but you never truly know what someone else is going through. Sometimes sharing about your loss can open doors for others to share about their losses. It can create a, “you’re not in this alone,” kind of feeling. It’s always a good thing to know that. I have learned that even when talking about my loss is weird and hard, it’s never a bad thing to reveal that part of myself.