Today I officially decided to ‘live out loud’.
I don’t want people to know me only after I am dead.
Then again, no one really seems to care until you are dead. True? I never cared so much about my grandparents lives until they were both near gone. When my grandma started slipping into Alzheimer’s, I started panicking. All those letters I meant to send, all the flowers I never sent, all the conversations I thought I’d have with her one day. The letters, the flowers, the conversations never happened.
One day… what a foolish concept.
By nature, I’m a very reserved person. I have social anxiety in rooms full of people. I can find out one’s life story in 45 minutes of talking with them, while they will walk away knowing nothing about me. I like it that way. I script it that way. But this space, this wonderful space I have found that only the whole world can read if they wanted to, is like a vacuum that has managed to penetrate my soul and give me the freedom to be. me. It feels safe here, though I am most vulnerable.
I don’t know why I’ve never been very comfortable in my own skin. It’s something I see and envy in others often. How do they *do* that, I wonder. I remember being very conscious of this curse for the first time when I was in Kindergarten. It was the first day of school and it was lunchtime. Well, I didn’t know a soul, probably most like everyone else. But somehow kids clustered together or formed pairs and found comfort in each others company. Not me. I sat alone. Wishing I could join a pair. But I couldn’t.
How does such a young child feel so unworthy at such a young age? I don’t know. But it’s a battle I still fight today.
There is a song by Fiona Apple, a favorite since the first time I heard it when I was about 17. I was at my boyfriend’s house, upstairs in the loft. I had just bought the CD. It’s called, Never Is A Promise. Here is a sample of the lyrics:
You’ll never touch – these things that I hold
The skin of my emotions lies beneath my own
You’ll never feel, the heat of this soul
My fever burns me deeper than I’ve ever shown – to you
17-years-old and I could feel this song in my soul as if I had written it. I could have felt it at 13-years-old. I have always been an old, sad soul. I feel mine and everyone else’s emotions deeply. Sometimes I cry just seeing the pain on a stranger’s face. This can be one sad and lonely world.
So what is the point? The point is, that I’ve lived so much of my life – all of my life, really – with a certain shame. Shame for feeling so detached and different, for feeling a foreigner in a strange land. Shame for deep yearnings for connection and often not finding it. I guess I don’t want to feel apologetic for who I am anymore. I guess I just want to live out loud so I can live at all in peace.
I want my posterity to know me. I don’t want to live in vain. I don’t want to live a fabrication or a shadow of myself. Alanis Morissette has a song called “Fear of Bliss”, about being afraid of your own ‘bigness’. I get it:
Sometimes I feel more bigness than I’ve shared with you
Sometimes I wonder why I quell when I’m not required to
I’ve tried to be small
I’ve tried to be stunted
I’ve tried roadblocks and all
My happy endings prevented
Sometimes I feel it’s all just too big to be true
I sabotage myself for fear of what my bigness could do
And lastly how I feel, is this way:
I have found so many sides of myself in the diaries of others. I would like it if I someday reflect future readers to themselves, provide them with examples, warnings, courage, and amusement. In these unedited glimpses of the self in others, of others in the self, is another of the covenants posterity makes with the day-to-day.
If I can assist just one person with the courage to just be themselves, in all of their bigness, I would be happy to know it.