Since Lent began, I have felt this almost spiritual urgency to write. To write about life. To write about truth. To share. To write in such a way that would enable understanding. For myself, of myself. And for others.
And yet, I haven’t.
There are a million different reasons why I haven’t. Time. Fear. Guilt over the mixed motivations I have for blogging (for myself? for affirmation? to be heard?)
Its not for lack of material. Oftentimes, I have thoughts come to mind where I say, “oh yes..I could write about that.” And yet. And yet. I do not. I’ve been afraid that my motivations for writing are not pure enough…that the mixed-up-ness of my motivations taints what I have to write. And thus, I hesitate, I wait. I freeze.
Blogging/facebook…all of it…its such an odd thing to me. Motivations are so mixed. I do it for myself- to express myself, to share my story. And yet if I were writing for that alone, I would write in a journal. So then I spiral to guilt– do I really have to share to feel like my thoughts are valid? Is the very act of a blog/a facebook post…frankly…much of communication in general, does it all come down to a selfish and fear-driven desire for affirmation?
But that thought doesn’t settle well with me. Seems too simple. Too shame-induced (that is my mode of operation, of course).
Certainly, I write for affirmation. I write for understanding. But as I’ve been thinking about all of this, I’ve begun to think about how my reality becomes different when I share it. How vastly distinct it feels to have a thought siloed in my brain versus to share a thought. Ultimately, we share our thoughts not simply because we feel we have something worthwhile to say, but rather, because we want to connect. We desire to be known.
Our lives become real when they are shared.
Something happens to our sense of being when what we have thought and felt, be it explicitly or implicitly (sensed within ourselves) is articulated and received- and even more than simply received, understood.
When I share, I share because I am hoping that in sharing, I will be “gotten”…that my experience…that me, myself…would be understood and received as I intended it.
Sometimes when I share out of anger, when I rage and yell…blame and hurt those around me (hurt people hurt people, isn’t that the phrase? Certainly is true in my experience)..I do it because ultimately, I want someone to see the threads of myself that are quickly unraveling and I want them to care enough to catch them and help me sew them back into myself…or rip them out and help me start anew.
Other times, when I share out of joy, when I overflow with glee…when I glow over a sweet LO moment (for instance, her constant singing of “My favorite things”-my favorite verse to hear her sing is “doorbells and sleigh-bells, and schnitzel with noodles” she says schnitzel so hilariously!), I do it because it spills out of me…it feels natural and right to share–as if the act of sharing such joy is a gift to myself and to others (what…you don’t want to hear about my two year old all the time?! Seriously? : )
But there is something that feels transformative in the act of sharing. Without me knowing it, I think I often share because it feels right to invite someone into the goodness that exists.
And if I’m really honest with myself, the things I don’t share? The information I control…the things about myself that I don’t let others in on…I don’t share because of shame. Because of fear. Because I, more than anyone else, don’t want to see those parts of me open in the light because I, more than anyone else, don’t want to see them.
Because to share it would be to invite others into the dark places of myself and that voice of shame tells me that if others were to see, my hidden stuff would disgust them (shame again!) and they would leave. That if I acknowledged the extent of my brokeness…if I shared my broken self truly, and not just bits and pieces, my darkness would overwhelm. I don’t want to see those places…why would I want anyone else to as well?
But here’s the thing…ironically, just as those places of lightness multiply with attention, these places of darkness multiply with inattention. If I don’t invite others in, those pockets of shame…those areas of struggle that I have…the ritualistic actions I take and hope no one will ever really notice because if they did, they would see them as the coping mechanisms they truly are…they don’t get better when I don’t pay attention to them. They get worst. They procreate and proliferate in darkness.They aren’t like a plant…they don’t go away or even die simply because they are not given light. Instead, they are like mold. They thrive in the dark and the damp crevices of ourselves. They grow and grow until in some way, they spill out into our lives, disrupting us in ways that are far more out of our control than our lack of transparency ever intended.
And so it seems, perhaps even more than or at least, just as much as we *need to connect* in areas of light and joy…we also need to intentionally take steps to connect and relate in our struggles, our dark parts– because inevitably, that which we hide, from ourselves and from others, shadows us from others…it blocks our ability to connect– not just with those around us, but ultimately, with ourselves.
In sharing ourselves, truly, we can receive the gift of freedom– freedom from fear of being found out, freedom from shame, freedom from our many layers of self-protection…and find freedom in how we view ourselves and others.
Because it is in the act of sharing that our realities are shaped. About ourselves. About others.
For light to spread through those cracks of ourselves and spill out onto the other.