Once again, I don’t want to post because this isn’t ready! But I made a commitment this morning to my coach that I’d post before I go off with my crew to our Onesie party. I’m a woman of my word, so here it is.
What I don’t want you to know about me is that I’m a warrior who is terrified of intimacy. I can fight for justice, and I will put my neck out for you. I can hold space for people in massive conflict and build a bridge between them. I can walk into a room where a child has just died and be with that child’s grieving parents. I can be present with anguish and trauma, with anger and fear. Sometimes it’s scary but I’m undeterred. I will fight for you, I will stand for you. For me? Not so much.
I’ve realized that while I’ll tell you truth about the challenges I’ve faced in my life, I’ve hidden my shadow, hidden my body, hidden from the possibility of being loved for all of who I am. I come by it honestly, having experienced physical violence by some teachers as a child, inappropriate sexual contact and rape. As a girl growing up I internalized that parts of my body are disgusting, that my pleasure is not important and that I need to be in control to be safe. Surrender? HELL no.
To survive my adverse childhood experiences I mastered the survival skill of hiding in plain sight. In romantic relationship I’ve typically chosen people who are okay with a generous giver who can’t generously receive. And in all other relationships I spend tremendous energy to behave in such a way that you won’t see my shadow – my anger, my impatience, my judgment, my pettiness, my humanity. In hiding, my ego keeps me safe, impenetrable.
Up to now I’ve found that you really can go through life without having to confront being deeply, nakedly seen for exactly who you are at your core. The problem here is that if you want to become real (the core hope of one Velveteen Rabbit) you’ve got to be willing to be seen, to surrender. I told my wise friend Mandy that I felt like I was hanging on the edge of a cliff and people were around whispering for me to let go. Imagine for a moment that you’re hanging on, would you let go? Remember that you’ll fall a thousand feet to a painful and grisly death. Would you? Could you? She smiled and told me, “You know either way you’re alive (we are speaking metaphorically, of course). Would you rather expend all of your energy hanging on? Or explore the possibility letting go?” She asked me what I might feel if I released the edge, and the first thought that flooded in was, “relief.” Can I live that? I’m not sure, but there’s a crack in my armor now that wasn’t there before. In fact, Adam, Bay, Kendra and I did a FB Live chat and something they said blew my brain open: The level of fear I feel (in doing intimacy) likely mirrors the level of pure potential that awaits if I can lean into it. Pow.
How many of you are warriors, keeping your armor on in all but the most isolated moments? What are you holding yourself back from? What scares you to death, that you avoid at all costs? What lies do you tell yourself when you’re acting out your highly practiced survival skills? Are you willing to try something different? Are you willing to play full out?
Tic toc my friends, this isn’t a dress rehearsal. How about we try jumping all in, to quote my friend Garrison, “this fucking moment, right fucking now.” Let’s go.