Why do we hesitate and hold back instead of taking a chance to talk and open up? We reach out then stop; an avalanche of words held back by a breath of doubt, a reluctant pause of uncertainty. For with the tumble of words comes the unstoppable rush of emotions, the release of which leaves us vulnerable and weak. We long to share the burdens we carry, to have their weight slowly eased from our back and replaced by a gentle, calming hand.
Perhaps we are practiced in the art of selflessness, and so we chose to take on the burdens of others before acknowledging our own. Or maybe we have taken that first cautious step toward trusting another, but stumbled when their back was turned. We search for trust, but are sometimes blinded by deceit. Whatever the reason, it is a daunting endeavor for those of us who struggle often with this.
If you are holding on to your own set of troubles, unable to find the right time or person to share them with, please know that you are not alone. Many of us feel this way. And if you are someone who sees the flicker of hesitation in the eyes of the person next to you, consider asking them to share with you. We all worry that we will inconvenience one another with our problems, but if we each take turns holding out our hands, we can share the weight together so that no one feels that they should struggle alone.
I struggle to write. I approach it the same way I do life; with caution, hesitation, and a handful of second guesses. Rarely do I just let the words flow; agile fingers flying deftly across the keyboard, effortlessly writing sentence after sentence. It is more of a slow and tentative approach. Thoughts rush forth, ideas swirl, dip and twirl, then pull up short, stuck in a thick, muddy puddle of doubt. I type, erase, rewrite, erase, repeat.
My words are my deepest thoughts presented to the world as a gift, and I want them to be perfect. I want to wrap each blog post in the most delicately beautiful, stylish paper I can find so that my readers will take pleasure in slowly unraveling each piece before finally savoring the richly crafted work within. My hope is that each person will do more than just skim over my words before moving on to the next post, because they are not just words. They are a small pieces of me; whispers of my soul that long to reach out and connect with the world, to travel and wander with each reader that passes by.
So, if there are times when my blog posts seem few and far between, please know that I have not given up on writing. It is more likely that I am wondering how to present the next piece of me in a way that will be most meaningful to you. So thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, and thank you for being a part of something that is bigger than just words alone.
Not the story that you share with acquaintances whom you haven’t seen in a while; practiced lines exchanged like trading cards in the school yard. Simple, yet interesting; exciting, but safe. Not the story that you have built up in order to please your family, to pacify your coworkers or to reassure your friends. Not the story that you tell yourself as you push forward, image built up, smile bright, head high, ready and waiting for the world to see you shine. Not those stories. Those are the pictures that you hang on your walls, the paintings on display for all to see. Beauty, creativity, dedication and talent; your presentations and offerings to the world.
No, I want to know the story of your soul. The story of who you are; the brushstrokes upon your canvas. I can see who you are now, but I want to know how you became this way. I want to understand what can’t possibly make any sense when you put it into words, but I want you to say it anyway. I want to know you in that messy, beautiful way that is raw and uncensored. I want to see you, but not just with my eyes, and hear you, but not only with my ears. I want to figure out how you work until you no longer need to explain it. That is when I will finally know you, and that is how I want you to know me, too.
This is what I want to say to people, but can’t, or won’t, because this kind of intensity is frowned upon. It’s outside of our comfort zone, as it leaves us vulnerable and exposed. It’s what I need though in order truly know you, and to feel comfortable with you. It’s a compliment of sorts, for if you are someone I like, then I want to know you as well as you know yourself. A dazzlingly disheveled kind of friendship; a breath of honesty, a sigh of relief.
The simple truth is that painful memories, regret, and even flashbacks don’t just go away. They are always there. We just learn to manage them better when they come rushing back to us.
We are like boxers who train to take a hit. It hurts like hell until we figure out what we are doing. We learn to manage pain, to block it out. We learn to breathe. We become stronger. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we can sidestep a memory and avoid the agony of being hit hard enough to drop us to our knees; other times, the times when our guard is down, we aren’t so lucky.
We carry these sorts of memories like slow healing bruises, and we hope that the smiles we wear are wide enough to cast those bruises into the shadows where they can be seen only by those who take the time to look closely enough.