I went to a concert the other night with two girlfriends.
It’s been ages since I’ve done anything like that.
Life gets crazy—especially with a busy toddler—and I can’t believe it, but sometimes I almost forget what makes me tick.
Thankfully, though, I have an amazing husband and child, beautiful parents, a loving sister, plus my husband’s fantastic family and a handful of pretty stellar friends—these are the people who often remind me of who I am when I’m seemingly lost or gone astray.
There’s something indescribably comforting about being surrounded by people who know you—people who care for you even though you’re flawed and sometimes unpolished. These are the people who help reign me in and bring me back to center—back to my true north—when I feel lost and alone in the woods.
Still, in order to have others like this in your life, you have to also be willing to be vulnerable.
You have to be willing to share your flaws—to be unpolished—because otherwise people are only seeing a shiny veneer that isn’t really you—or anyone actually—because all people have sensitivities and soft spots that make us feel fragile and exposed—and these are the spaces within us that, ironically, when put on display for a few lucky, chosen souls are also our sweet spots.
Those gooey, yummy, deliciously ripe parts of you that wrap up your human blemishes and tender wounds—in with your battle scars, your naturally sunny joyfulness and your brilliant secrets—into one perfect package to make you who you are—here is your center—this is you.
And who knows you?
How many people can you call at three in the morning when you get a flat tire?
How many friends will you call when you’re extremely depressed? (Forget fun and ready to party—you can try anyone then.)
Who do you let in to the space within you that makes you cringe, that makes you feel ugly and unlovable, and that makes you feel more naked and exposed than any amount of clothing could ever cover?
Because there, well, that’s the spot where your real friends hang out—with the real and complete you.
And why do we need to let people in to witness all of our horrors? (I mean, Halloween’s coming up, and we all have a beauty and a beast.)
Why do we have to show off this crap when we can much more preferably present the world with our beauty—and our quiet rainbows—and offer only bouquets of roses?
You have to let at least one person into the real you—the real all of you—because this is who will remind you of the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow when you’ve been so clouded in by thunderstorms that you’ve forgotten what sunshine even feels like on your hungry skin.
And people who love you, and that love you for exactly who you are—flaws and everything—are the only kind of people worth calling when you’re feeling amazing, too.
My friends and I had a blast at our “girls’ night out”—these are two ladies who now how to have fun. Yet these are also two ladies who know how to ask me what’s wrong because they can tell when I’m acting a little off—and they know what off for me is.
They know me well enough to laugh with me—and occasionally at me.
They know the secrets of my brain that I rarely let escape—yeah, the ones that don’t even make it into cyberspace. (For those of you who don’t regularly read my writing—or who haven’t read my bio—I’m not shy about sharing.)
Still, these are also the ladies who can tell me when the argument with my husband was my fault, not his.
They can suggest a new approach for handling my child’s boundary pushing without my getting offended. (And they wouldn’t care if I did anyways, because they love the biggest part of my heart—my daughter—too.)
In short, these are what I call friends.
So I guess that’s what this article is all about—a tale of how you can become wholly yourself.
It’s a small reminder that if you want to have people to dance with—and to sing in the rain with—then you have to be willing to wade through the flooded-basements together too. (Yep, I’m looking at you, citizens of Boulder, who are not helping out where you can.)
Actually, that’s the entire reason that I blog: to share myself—with the hope that you’ll be open about who you are in return.
And although I’ve decided that I won’t over-share when it comes to, specifically, my daughter—I feel, as a mama bear, that this can be both inappropriate and sticky territory to walk into—instead, I’ve decided that what I can do is show my child through my own example that we don’t have to harden, close up, get crotchety and be assholes as we age.
Nope, we can let life smoothly weather us like a velvety river rock.
Screw being quiet—I was never much good at it anyways—and screw being open with the world only when it works for us.
And, yes, I’m aware that “be the change you wish to see in the world” is an abridged version of Gandhi’s real words, but it doesn’t matter to me—it doesn’t matter because, of course, we need to unify and work together if we want to create real and lasting change, but I also believe in the power of one.
We are individuals born to live alone yet work together in a society—and it takes being strong, capable and loving solo-artists to create a strong, capable and loving group.
Never forget that what you feel in your own heart is likely felt in at least one other heart too—but how will you ever know if you go through life pretending to be someone that you’re not or, worse, pretending to be only half of a person?
And that’s a funny thing about being open with those closest to you—this authenticity has a way of leaking out into the rest of your life’s nooks and crannies, allowing you to become you everywhere, regardless of your surroundings.
So be you.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise