So much of our daily life revolves around the image we project to the world. And I understand that. We are all trying to survive and we are doing it in ways that we were taught. We are looking for safety and we have all been trained from birth that the only way to be safe is to be what is expected. We have also been trained that the only way to find safety is with people and in order to be with people we feel like we need to be like them. That last part is also biology so, I mean, we can’t totally blame training. Regardless, we go through life feeling like we have to be a certain way in order to be accepted but our inner knowing tells us that there is something more. We spend a majority of our time feeling off, doing something to either numb ourselves to fit in or simply ignoring the warning signs to be accepted all while we know something doesn’t feel right. We hide facets of who we are.
I had a conversation the other day about conspiracy theories. I don’t subscribe to all conspiracy theories, but there are a few that have always piqued my interest and it just so happened that this conversation was about one of those things. This was an unusual moment because it was with one of the last people in the world I would have thought believed this way on the matter but I felt myself lighting up. Any stigma I had in my mind either about sharing my beliefs on the matter or about this person’s ability to believe those things as well went away. The words flowed and I exposed a side of myself that I don’t normally share. We all compartmentalize our behavior, but I will tell you that unleashing the whole me was the most invigorating feeling I’ve had in a while.
So, the topic of the conversation honestly isn’t important, but what I got from it was. The moment I shared this side of myself in an arena I normally NEVER would, I felt real. I’m normally very careful about what I project to that side of my world but I felt bold enough to let my guard down and it hit me: I need more. I need more output of who I am. I need more joy. I need more movement. I need more of THAT energy, the energy that aligns with me, not the idea of me. It felt like finding a well after wandering through a desert for years. Suddenly I was genuinely animated and not putting on a show. And holy crap, aside from when I’m writing, I don’t feel that in person very often. I can forgive myself because that is something we all do. But that feeling of being seen for who I am was like a drug.
I felt more alive in those moments than I have in 20 years in my career. I felt more alive than I have at the completion of any project I’ve done and it was all because I shared a component of myself. If all it takes to feel alive is acknowledging who we are and letting that person flow, then count me in. Now, I will not discredit the absolute joy I’ve gotten from sharing my story here—in fact, the feeling is very similar—but there is something different when it’s in person, when you’re feeling your energy flow face to face with someone. It’s an exchange you don’t always get behind a computer screen. So I highly recommend it. Even if it isn’t someone you think would accept you that way, they may be putting on a show as well—because we ALL do it.
As fate would have it, I drew a card after that and it was “Behind the Mask.” Naturally I believe in signs from the universe and that to me was absolute validation for what I was feeling. The card talks about being more authentic at all times in order to let your light shine through. But the interesting part of the interpretation was the part about letting go of the false condemnation and hatred of self. That’s when the other light went off. The only reason I’ve never tapped into that type of in person energy before is because of the hiding and I have been hiding (we all do) because we are trained that showing our real selves isn’t safe. I’ve been the recipient of that before, ridiculed and mocked for being who I am. But I never considered that I internalized it to the degree of condemning and hating myself.
We don’t like to admit who we are because deep down we feel like we aren’t worthy of being accepted as we are. We feel like we are worthy when someone tells us we are worthy. The secret is, we ALL feel that way. Some of us are lucky enough to have a moment like I’ve described where the feeling of letting ourselves be seen is validated. The truth is it took 37 years for me to have that moment. The other truth is it took that long because I’ve held back that side of me for over 20 years. So the most important lesson aside from needing more of that output, more of that connection, and more of that self-acceptance is to do it sooner. Do it now. Don’t hesitate. There will always be the risk that you make a “fool” of yourself, but you may be surprised. Your ability to share may awaken that in someone else too. THAT is what we are here to do: wake up!