There is a peculiar thing that happens when people I know, but have met me more intimately through my writing, want to talk to me. I freeze. Cripplingly aware that I am much more comfortable hidden in prose, I am always a little bit sad leaving a conversation. I’ve disappointed them, I often feel. They wanted something more. They wanted this profound experience and I’ve shown up less wizard more man behind the curtain. I’ve been working to let that go. To not judge myself against a presumed expectation and to simply hold myself accountable for being present.
Over the weekend I saw a former classmate of mine from college. She was a freshman the year I graduated, but remembered her because we were in an organization together. The power of social media kept each of us abreast in each other’s lives, but quite honestly that’s never really enough for me. I saw her at a party and went to congratulate her on a recent (major) accomplishment and somehow we slipped into a serious conversation complete with truths, tears, and an exchange of numbers.
The connection I had with her in that moment was perhaps one of the most important moments of the weekend. It reminded me of something, of myself. Far before this blog or my journaling or any wedding with words I spoke. I talked to EVERYONE. I spilled my opinions as if they were lined in gold and offered advice like tea cakes. I loved telling people how great they were and could be. I loved it even more when they believed me. This very real connection between myself and others is actually what started everything. So why had it become so awkward for me?
I’ve spent a lot of years telling myself I was a writer. I am a writer. And recently I am an artist. The last two years in particular I have also been trying desperately to remember my voice, even going so far as to carry a microphone around in my purse two Lenten seasons ago. The same gift I have in writing…it’s not just in writing. This gift, my purpose, my plan is to connect. I chose my medium. I crafted I worked I toiled at becoming proficient at writing but I do not want to limit myself there. Here.
It is okay to speak your heart. It is okay to do so when the time feels inappropriate and the moment is stolen. It is permissible to tell people all the magic you see in them. To do so without the need for reciprocity. It is encouraged to be kind whenever it is possible (and as the saying goes, it is always possible). It is admirable to gift others with love and to have them cling to the impossibly enormous yet intangible parcel with all their might. Allow yourself to be courageous enough to forge connection without fear of rejection. Allow yourself to be courageous enough to accept connection without fear of abandonment. You are stronger and will outlive any and all discomforts, if you choose. Say it with your whole being but don’t be afraid to also say it out loud. I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a MOUNTAIN not shrink into a grain of sand.
I told her never to go into hiding. To be grateful even for the things that felt like mistakes because they were carving her. I told her I was with her and I was so proud of her. I told her to reach out if ever she wanted. I meant it. I mean it for anyone. It is a reminder to myself of who I am and what I am capable of being. I used to tell myself I couldn’t hold it all. I had to shut some of it off and out because it overwhelmed me. But I have grown and I am different now. And now?