Friday, April 24, 2015
Where I'm coming into braver skin (#fmf)
If I could describe my insides these past seven months or so, probably longer, I'd say they resemble a house torn apart on every floor. Like a tornado passed through, but instead of a natural disaster, it's more like The Spring Cleaning of Spring Cleanings. You know what I mean? No item - in the closet, the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, the laundry room, the garage - left unturned. Every piece of furniture examined, every item of clothing, every decoration and scrap of paper and household product. Piles everywhere: what to keep, what to donate, what to toss, what to store away, what to fix, what to finish, what to hang. And the empty spaces that open up, where art is re-imagined, re-assembled, re-created, or created for the first time, or left empty.
Except, it's not a household. It's my life. It's me. Who I am in my guts, in my soul, in my beliefs, in my relationships, in my skin.
If you're nodding your head, you know what I'm talking about. You know, too, how utterly exhausting this process is. How it takes, most often, everything you have and maybe a little more than you thought you had. It's equal parts invigorating and terrifying; mourning and healing; chaos and peace; clarity and fog.
It's a death and a resurrection.
* * * * *
In this season, I've harbored a strong instinct to hide away. To let the work happen in the shadowed places, for they've been too fragile to withstand the glare of light quite yet. To allow myself this space to wrestle, to know myself, to grieve, to heal, to transform, to become. I'm learning how much judgment I've passed on myself throughout my life and how pressing it is that I learn to be gentle and kind with myself. To love myself, if I am to love others from my truest self.
Yes, I'm learning many things, too many to unfold here and many beyond the scope of this post. But one of those things I'm learning is that I'm just beginning to allow myself to need. I've written of this before, but I had yet to know how to go there in practice. How to even identify my needs, let alone learn to accept and express them. And to express them, I'm learning to be brave in ways that stretch me far beyond my comfort. To take risks. To stop apologizing for my needs. To allow myself to need something other than what I'm given. To not annihilate a need if it cannot be met. To not automatically take what is offered me if it is contrary to what I need. To say no. To face off with guilt. To listen to my own discomfort more than I try to perceive someone else's.
In my faith, in marriage, in friendships, in offers of friendship, in work, in rest, in play, in the invitation to live wholeheartedly, I am learning to step into braver skin. Even when I'm hidden away, to be hidden there in brave authenticity, not fear or shame. This is where I live these days.
Linking today with Kate and the Five-minute Friday community of writers, to the prompt of: Hide.
Joining also with Kelly and the community of Small Wonder, for the learning I've expressed here seems to fit well within an experience of wonder.