This is going to sound very strange but a part of me would like to be invisible. No really. I don’t mean in a superpower kind of way so I can catch bad guys. I mean in a very real, don’t-notice-me-pretend-I’m-not-here kind of way. I don’t want you to pay attention to me or criticize me or cause me any harm. I’d rather slink against the walls and escape your gaze. Which, if you’ve met me in real life, you know that’s not how I act AT ALL. When I walk into a room I don’t hug the sides, I march up to the very front and center of everything because I want to be in the thick of things! And um, I blog about myself every week . . . So where does that desire to be invisible come from? I honestly don’t know. Call it a past life or a carryover from childhood because it certainly doesn’t fit who I am presently.
This evening I cried listening to a podcast where the woman said she wanted to be invisible because it struck a chord with me. I hadn’t realized that was simmering below the surface, but it was. Most of you don’t know this, but for the past three weeks my knee has been swollen – so much so it hurts when I walk. And it didn’t swell up because I fell but rather of its own accord. Metaphysically speaking, knees (and joints in general) have to do with moving forward in life. I’ve been resisting moving forward because I’m scared. I’m scared of what will happen when I do. I’m scared of what will happen when people see the real me. When they find out all my secrets and all the crazy lurking beneath my surface. Because that’s exactly what my book is all about. My real life, warts and all.
Ever since we raised $5,000 via kickstarter to get the book published a part of me has wanted to scrap the whole thing. Refund everybody their money, close the blinds, turn off the lights, and call it a night. Forget the whole thing even exists. Obviously I’ve ignored that impulse because many of you saw a proposed cover on facebook. And because I pushed forward without dealing with the emotional component, my knee swelled up in response.
On Friday I read a blogpost by Lee-Anne Peters called, “Come Out of Hiding” and boy did it resonant. The gist of her post is that it’s safe to come out of hiding. It’s safe to share our gifts with the world. It’s safe to be our true selves and let our lights shine. It’s safe for me to express myself and show up in the world.
I’ve been scared of the reception my book will receive, both positive and negative. But the truth is I have a gift and it’s like that saying, “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself if your gift to God.” Yeah.
Tonight I acknowledged the part of myself that’s been scared instead of pretending like it didn’t exist. And I apologized. I said, “I’m so sorry for whatever it was that made you feel like you need to be invisible. I’m sorry for all those things that happened to you.” Even typing that tears are pricking my eyes. And after crying I recognize the truth and the reality of where I am. That I am blessed to live in a world where it’s safe to express myself. Where even if everyone thinks I’m crazy there won’t be repercussions for it. (And in fact, there are probably people who feel the same way, and what with the internet I can connect with them.) The truth of the matter is I live in the United States where freedom of speech is revered. No one is going to break down my door and handcuff me for publishing a memoir about moving to San Francisco with no job, no place to live, and only $2,000 in the bank. They just aren’t. It’s safe for me to be seen these days.
I dream of a world where we all feel safe to share our gifts with each other. A world where we know our gifts are welcomed with open arms. A world where we know it’s so much better to be seen, accepted, and embraced in the naked light of truth than to skulk around in the dark of invisibility. A world where we allow ourselves to be who we are. A world where we allow ourselves to shine like the bright lights we are.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.