When I was in 7th grade, my friend Ryan Fivecoat told me, “Never write anything you’d want the whole world to read.”
That was a heavy load to drop on a 7th grade skull, but I kept it close to me, because it resonated with me. I wasn’t like the other kids. I wouldn’t write notes that I worried about the teacher finding. I wouldn’t commit my serious thoughts to paper, because God only knew who might find my writing and judge me.
Honestly, given the judgmental nature of the city I grew up in, and how quickly people were to pounce when they caught a whiff of weakness… it was probably the best advice anyone could have given me.
Fast forward 20+ years. I live in a different state, with different values. I’m a grown woman, have a child and a husband, and a slew of petty past infractions such as imperfect ex-boyfriends and wonky career paths. I should be beyond that feeling that I need to protect everything I have to say, to sanitize my words for others comfort. I should be comfortable in my own skin, revealing these truths that are self-evident.
I don’t though. To this day, the words of my friend still rattle around in my skull. “Never write anything you’d want the whole world to read.”
Except, who am I to determine what that is? Who am I to know how you’re going to take these words?
I had a hell of a summer. I was torn free from my anchors and dropped down on the shore, left to find new points of stability. It wasn’t one large pull from a storm wave, but instead the gentle, insistent tug of the tide.
I had to watch my kid all summer long. I wasn’t prepared for his proximity, he’s been in daycare since he was 3 months old. I love my kid but anyone who’s had an uncouth roommate can tell you that even if you care about the person, there are habits that will drive you to biting the heads off of nails. I lost faith in myself at some point, I wasn’t sure I could do it. Fortunately I pulled myself free of that defeatist notion, and kept on going.
I had to confront my trust issues. Certainly a girl whose mantra is laced in paranoia couldn’t have trust issues, but I am a poster child for it. Obviously there are those whom I do trust, who have spent years whittling away at my armor to get inside the shell. They are few, they are far between, and up until now I didn’t even recognize my problem.
So, I did a little renovation over the course of the last few months. I’ve started to peel away some of the layers that don’t suit me. I’ve started to confront those demons that we all collect on a long enough timeline. I don’t know how to verbalize some of what I’ve accomplished… but even saying what I’ve said is a considerable amount of putting myself out there that I don’t do.
Hopefully this work will continue, and I can tell you more of my story soon.