I have had several friends tell me lately they are surprised I share as much of myself as I do through my writing. They know me to be a fiercely private person with firm boundaries and trust issues. So the raw moments of my life that I share so publicly through my writing is a stark contrast to the friend they know. I take great care not to disclose parts of myself and my life without first processing through the events and emotions and implications. I take great care to share only the stories that I believe unite us all and hopefully lift one or two hearts and souls. I do not overshare to be provocative or for attention. I share because storytelling is powerful.
I used to think my thoughts and lessons learned were good and smart and had value, and that others could use my sage wisdom. Now I realize my thoughts and lessons aren’t right, per se, or extraordinarily brilliant and life changing. I understand now my words are powerful because it is my voice that I share. I understand now the power of showing people that one voice matters, and that it takes courage to speak up, and that we can all do this, and we ought to. Because this is how we take care of ourselves and each other, by owning our soft spots, and showing them without shame. I want to show people that if I can be brave, you can be brave too, because I am no different than you.
I am not the only one…the only one who has felt like a failure. The only one who was afraid of looking like a fool. The only one who felt like a fraud in a new job. The only one who was scared he would leave me when he discovered all my flaws and quirks. The only one who didn’t really enjoy reading Goodnight Moon for the 379th night in a row to my son. The only one who believed if I had the right skirt or weight or haircut, then I’d be invited to sit at the cool lunch table. The only one who was insecure or frightened or broken-hearted, or just plain tired and grumpy, or mean or bad-tempered. The only one who has made some very unwise decisions. The only one who has hurt others, both on purpose and inadvertently.
It is in the collective Nodding of Our Heads, and the “Oh Yes, that totally resonates” and “Ah-ha!”s that we realize we have all been a bit scared and feeling not enough and a bit broken and bruised. It is this collection of battered souls sitting together that is powerful. And we can all be brave in showing up to sit in this crate of broken beings. And these pieces of us create a lovely mosaic as we help each other patch up and take turns hopping in and out of the crate. Knowing all the while someone is keeping our space there, and we’ll each be back at some point to rest amongst kindred spirits. Knowing that we can, and have, survived difficult moments, and painful hurts, and long, drawn-out moments of discomfort.
So I share because this is my current contribution to the world at large. I used to give voice to my psychotherapy clients in various ways. I helped them sort through their stories, taught them skills to tell their stories in their own words and craft different endings to their stories, sat with them as they found their courage to face their demons, and sat with still more of them when they decided now was not the time to do so. These days I share my stories using my voice and courage because I know the power of process and connection through honesty and authenticity.
I know the power of telling your truth. And I want to help someone else come out from the dark and isolating Cave of Shame and Not Enoughness so that he or she can own his or her truth. Even if for a few moments at first, and realize we had been sitting together in that crate in the cave. Once you know, you can’t un-know. So I know once you read, and connect, and walk away from the shame, even if for a moment, you’ll do it again later. And each time, you’ll spend more time away from shame. So I give each of you pieces of me to hold on to, in the hopes you’ll join me out here in the open for longer periods of time. What is your truth?