As far back as I can remember writing and drawing have been my outlets. The written word offered a sense of connection with an unseen reader, while drawing allowed my emotions to gel into visible images that I myself could scrutinize. During particularly difficult periods in my life, I sought after temporary relief through these vehicles because they transported me beyond my ‘self’.
However, baring oneself to others is a difficult, risky undertaking. By choosing to be completely transparent a person puts his/her life under a magnifying glass where personal judgment and motives are dismembered. You risk being misjudged, ridiculed or labeled. And, you are certain to be given unsolicited opinions that will shock you or may even break your heart. Like the time I shared an art project with my father, who took the drawing in his hands and, after studying it for a while, said “Honey, I never realized you were this disturbed”. Hurt, insulted and feeling very misunderstood I took my drawing and hid it from view. It was then I decided not to share myself in this way with anyone else until I was emotionally prepared to handle spontaneous criticism. Then after years of keeping myself to myself I decided to take another stab at vulnerability, and shared my innermost thoughts with another family member. The results were no different.
It astounds me that no matter how much effort I expend in expressing myself correctly, my meaning may still be misconstrued. This is the main reason I’ve procrastinated for so long. For years I’ve asked myself what benefit there would be in exposing myself to any more hurt and rejection. It would be safer to keep all tactile proof of who I am hidden in my private little treasure chest. Didn’t someone once say that some things are best left alone? Yes, it is safer to leave those things in the dark, secret places where no one else is allowed entry. But, fear of rejection and fear of criticism are the main reasons so many of us do not go after our hearts desire. And, I’ve discovered that some things fester when they are covered up and left in the dark.
Each time I’ve attempted to expose my soul—each time I entertained the thought of helping someone through my experiences—something would stop me. My mind has battled with insecurities, inadequacies and misgivings. It has told me that someone else has conveyed a better message, and has done it more effectively than I could ever dream of doing. Yet, in spite of my misgivings, in spite of the fear of criticism, the yearning to share what I have learned through my experiences has lingered on. You would think that time would snuff out this desire. Instead my desire has gotten stronger.
Daily for the past 10 years I’ve asked God to disclose His will for my life. The answer came suddenly and without fanfare. There were no bolts of lighting or audible voices. No visions of any kind were seen. My heart simply told me that I was to stop fighting this yearning and stop making excuses, because this mission is not really about me. Yes, these are my stories, my feelings and my life. But, nothing I’ve experienced is unique to me. The remorse I’ve felt after my shameful decisions is not mine alone. I’m not the only one who has been rejected, manipulated, used, abused, lied to or harassed. And, who has not suffered physical torment after an overwhelming loss? We all travel the same road. I am willing to bare my soul to prove that no one travels this road alone. I am willing to face criticism and embarrassment if this effort will make a positive difference in someone’s life.
Most of my life was spent running after an elusive something that would fill an invisible void within me. My fruitless attempts to find fulfillment in all the wrong places is what this self-revelation is all about. It took half a lifetime for me to realize that nothing in this world can satiate what the human heart craves. This is a treatise to my personal exercise in futility.
My simple purpose is to touch hearts and lift spirits through my writing. I hope to encourage and uplift those who are losing hope, and motivate those who are striving to reach their goal while battling against all odds.
Life is hard. No doubt about that. But, I have discovered that life is also full of beauty and wonder—if you know where to look. Perhaps together we can pause a while to take it in.