Too Long Behind the Curtain

The secrets of the universe: Silken threads th...Of late, I’ve wondered about some things.  Then as if the Universe was speaking to me, answers to the questions I’d been asking myself keep appearing.

Of course, a lot of what the Universe tells me seems to come from blog posts.  Yeah, I need to get out more.  🙂

So what are some of these revelations?

Somewhere down the roads I’ve traveled, I made a wrongheaded choice.  I always thought so, but I didn’t know what the choice was.  I had some suspicions, but I needed proof.  It came from reading this post on Seth Godin’s blog.

I watch too much, and I participate too little.  I don’t act.  I don’t step out.

Sometimes I don’t because I really am not interested in the activity–that’s okay.  We shouldn’t all be interested in every little thing.  But in another way I make the wrong choice…  because I don’t want to look bad.  It’s silly of me, I guess (I use that word, that silly word so casually, but it’s not silly; the word is the right word, but it’s not too), but I cringe at the possibility of humiliation.

When there is a risk of being humiliated, my head and stomach roil, a ball of grade school and high school memories that I have to drag myself out from.   Alive once more come the days when I felt I had nowhere safe to be, days I would hide in my parent’s car when the bus went by, even though I knew what would happen when my parents found out I would skipped school because the thought of going there hurt so much.

I have a story of a knife-shaped letter opener, the Hudson River and my dog that I might be able to tell someday.  I’m not there yet… it’s as much because I find my failure that day nearly as humiliating and painful as the reasons that brought me to that place.

Last week I read this article from the New York Times online magazine…  Some of the research in it was eye-opening.   I thought about the people I still knew from high school, about the things they posted on their Facebook statuses, how I was afraid to even post the link to my Writer Page for fear I would draw their attention to me and who I was–who I was over 25 years ago.

Yes, it’s been that long.  It’s been that long, and it doesn’t take more than a few status messages to remind me of something:  I managed to get through high school with little more than a missing letter opener and some visits to those nice people in the clean white suits because I had a few “people who didn’t know me for me” experiences.

Being around people who didn’t know my past allowed me to be myself and didn’t laugh.  A summer camp, a chorus filled with adults who were well past the high school “fluff” (though at the time I believed they knew all my horrid secrets and were humoring me)…  I had a mostly amazing experience at NYSSSA between grades 11 and 12 (mostly, because it was also my first “real” experience with a boyfriend beyond handholding and some kisses…and it ended badly).

I’m not complaining.

In the grand scheme of things, I have a wonderful life that I never could have imagined (well, beyond childhood fantasies of being a queen who ruled the world and lived in a department store where all the jewelry and pretty clothes were there for me to enjoy…).  Yes, life is in general good.  But it’s only as good as I have allowed myself to avoid letting myself be a risk taker.

I need to take risks if I want to actually be more than just a homemaker, just a wife and a mother.  Those things are good things, but I’ve always wanted more.  I want more for me.  My husband wishes more for me.  He knows that I am not doing things that make me feel fulfilled.

So doing matters.

Baby stepsFor the moment, it’s about writing this blog post.    It’s about admitting things that scare me about myself and the future.  It’s not about waiting for someone else to say they accept me before I act.  It’s about finishing Release and publishing it.  It’s about putting my photos out there for the world to see.  And it’s about doing it…again and again and again.

I don’t actually know where the future will lead me.  I do know that my journeys in challenges such as the ROW80 and the2013 Goodreads Challenge are steps along the way.  I know that trying things like the Facebook 365 Project where I must post and take a picture a day offers another way to step out from behind the curtain.

I’ve made progress in all three of those.  Perhaps I haven’t reached all the bullet marks on my goals list…  I did plenty.  Plus I’ve taken out my drawing supplies and tried something new.  I’ve committed to joining a writing challenge… tomorrow.

More than just baby steps…

And that leads me to close with this post by Kristen Lamb about feeling overwhelmed by Social Media and how we can survive it by being honest about our limitations.  I haven’t figured out all my limitations, but I am starting to learn how to plan things better, to check before I commit, to say yes with confidence and not hope and uncertainty…   I’m even learning how to say no on occasion.

Photo credits:

  • The secrets of the universe: Silken threads that knit heaven and earth together part 2 (Photo credit: pb photoworks)
  • Myself
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18 responses to “Too Long Behind the Curtain

  1. What your post reminds me is how much we gain from reading what others have written. Your blog post today shows you are someone who takes action and risks and who is willing to face down those fears with courage, tenacity, and perseverance! I don’t often or easily share my fears. Kudos to you. May the coming week go well.

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    • Thank you, Beth. I am trying more and more to step out of my comfort zone. It’s a process… But it’s happening slowly. The blessings of a great week to you too.

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  2. I’m chastened and embarrassed to say that, although I was maybe safer than most, I was also no doubt, at times, also the cruelest of all, because I had the most powerful of weapons, and, sometimes, a need to damage my own safest haven – you.

    But, from all of that…all that anguish, all that love and hate, that place where the bushes covered the old tree, or the old church, or that little forgotten corner at Yaddo, the months old stale Meister Brau in your bedroom, the night of the pitcher of wine where it all went horribly wrong….

    Look where you are, and where you’ve been.

    Breathless and amazed much, Sys….?

    Because you should be – and you are.

    Amazing, breathtaking…

    YOU.

    And, as you slip back that curtain, a little, and a little again, as you peek around the edge, I’ll be smiling, watching you claim your life in new ways – fulfilling ways.

    You made me cry and smile with the good tears, tonight…

    Because I love you, and I have had a lifetime to know the utterly unique type of brilliance you carry within.

    And, when you’re ready, if you are, to reflect about any of it, I’ll be here.

    Till then, just this.

    I love you.

    Namaste!

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    • I took some time to reply to this in part because of some of those experiences and memories were taking me to places I was not ready to deal with. Not so much because there were times that you were cruel (there were, you were, and the reverse was true on occasion as well–we were young people using the tools and experiences we did have and knew how to use in the tools we had in our sights, and many of them were very poor tools indeed)…

      No, I needed time to just “be” with things as they are. It’s a good place really, and maybe that’s why I wanted to spend as much time there as I chose to spend. But it is also a very complicated spot, lots of things to do, to think about and contemplate and just consider for some time. Time to just be within without trying to express anything without…

      And yes, I needed to hide behind the curtain just that little bit longer… perhaps even more so with you than with anyone else here. You do know me, you know my weak points, you know my strengths… you know where I struggle the hardest, and how filigree-thin this self-made web of support really is. Not spider silk… more like dandelion fluff. But… given the right breeze, I will fly. And like a dandelion, I’m really good at growing wherever I manage to settle down, even when people try to uproot me. 😀

      There is a lot to say, or at least a lot to consider. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the next step in such a way that satisfies my inner perfectionist, but I’ll keep trying. And there is a chance that really that’s all I want to do… Just try my best and keep trying.

      It’s not a bad goal come to think of it.

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  3. 2:30am I had just closed my laptop… A long night of writing..too long for normal office work the next day.

    Overdue and ready for bed I plugged my phone and went to set my alarms… Bling! I see the heading come into my email, ‘Many Worlds From Many Minds’ Eden…. For a second I debated to open it “Read it tomorrow Natasha, you need to sleep” I didn’t wait- and I’m glad.

    You reminded me what sharing ones experiences, feelings, fears and joys can do for a person… For me. Not feeling insane with fear. Not feeling isolated as some of us struggle with our past all the while pushing forward in our present. It reminds me how at times it may be painful to take that chance and risk giving your heart, your love… In the end i believe it was and is worth it. I try to own that and believe it.. Not everyday i do. But im trying. Thank you for reminding me of these things.

    I’m glad I stood up to read your post and not wait until my busy day tomorrow… sitting at my desk taking a few glances at your words
    between 7 other open tabs.
    🙂

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    • Dear Natasha! What a sweet and thoughtful comment. I’m humbled by the fact that you were able to take so many good things from my post. It was a very hard one to write, and the fear that you speak of… it’s still there. I spent hours trying to finish it, hours trying to say the things in my heart and still be the “good girl” I thought I should be to not attract the wrong kind of attention. I even had considered removing this post and all mentions of it this morning…. I probably would have if I hadn’t received comments. Yes, the fear of failure, the feat of acting and making my presence known is still there.

      And I think of you and the story you are writing, the places you’ve gone. It’s odd that we both are about the same distance away from that same river. And I suspect that our personal stories are too.

      Much joy to you. I’m personally glad that I took the day to reply to this so I could answer it without hurrying from one place to another. 🙂

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  4. I can totally relate to where you’re coming from. And you’re right. Doing matters. There’s nothing wrong with having fear. That’s human. But moving beyond that fear is what is important. And you’re doing that. Kudos.

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    • Slowly and steadily, Ryan. Slowly and steadily… But yes, I’m getting there. I think we’re all getting there as our society changes. (ooh! story ideas merging with the video game Alpha Centauri and the concept of a Self-Aware colony building….) Thanks for the inspiring words and thoughts that followed them! *dashes off to write*

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  5. Cate Russell-Cole

    Eden, I was laying in bed last night thinking “I need to write a blog post about getting over being shy as a writer, and putting yourself out there.” Reading your check-in today seems to be a message from the universe to me! Thank you. 🙂

    After 25 years everyone has changed. Never let the past hold you back. I have enjoyed getting to know you. You have a lot to offer. Tell the world. You may be surprised how few of your old associates read blogs or move in the same circles. The world may be a safer place than you thought.

    Take a step out. We’re right behind you!

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    • You’re right, Cate. After 25 years everyone has changed, and yet… everyone has also stayed the same. Or it seems to. Maybe it’s because people fall in to patterns. I know I do. And the people I “fear” are no less human and imperfect as me–they probably do too.

      It’s time to break out of patterns. And yep, time to stop being shy and put ourselves out there as writers and artists and creators. Because that’s what we are. Writers and artists… We build worlds. We create. We give. We give to the world at large and we give worlds at large…

      Pretty damned cool, eh? 😉

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  6. Eden, this is a very thoughtful and brave post. I relate with that fear, standing out or asserting myself. Even for things that seem like they should be easy–like taking photographs in public. Last week I wanted to take a photo that would require me to walk to the front of a very crowded room and stand in the middle. I got close, but not as close as I would’ve had I been alone, but baby steps, right? 🙂

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  7. Wow, sounds like a lot of people here are pretty unhappy with their kids. I count my self lucky to stil like and love my 4 adult children. We still get together a lot and play games, watch movies and such. They all have keys to the house, know where the spare car keys are, and even where we hide the cash. I think the best things I ever did to earn this was to apologize when I was wrong, and to let them know that I was growing up along with them. We gave much love and really tried to focus on the end-game: a relationship with them when they were adults- we always told them that’s what we wanted, because they will be adults a lot longer than they are kids.

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    • I’m not sure how you managed to interpret this as my being unhappy with my son, Kaitlin, but while I’d be remiss to say that every moment of our lives is filled with super happy “nothing ever goes wrong and no one is ever sad, angry or frustrated”, I would also be wrong to suggest that we are not happy, at peace, cheerful, etc…

      I agree that it’s good to admit when I’m wrong with my child. He learned how to treat others through his interactions with people now after all. And I agree that we are always growing… and that our kids should know that adulthood is just another mark on the timeline of life, just as birthdays are. We don’t stop learning or growing until we die.

      But, as I’m confused here, perhaps you’d be so kind as to explain where you gathered the idea that we’re unhappy. And I do hope that your wonderful relationship with you kids continues. It’s a great place to be.

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  8. Eden,

    We can be our own worst critic or our own best friend. Everyday we breath and live is nothing more than proofing to ourselves that we are alive. I like to believe one of best things I have ever done for myself is not worrying about what others think. My granny used to tell me, if someone did not like me…it was there loss. I find a lot of truth in her philosophy.

    I remember high school and how difficult it could be. I look back on it now and think to myself that it was just a moment in time. All of those moments made me the man I am today. I wouldn’t trade anything for all the things I have learned on my journey.

    Aaron Brinker aka DadBlunders

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    • Sometimes it takes a bit of time for the wisdom of our elders to sink in, doesn’t it? My mother was big on the “hold your head up, smile, greet people politely no matter what they may have done to you–you’ll be the better person for it”. It was hard to do in school and even harder to accept at the time that my mother seemed to be “taking their side”, but like your grandmother… she was right.

      And like you, I wouldn’t really trade any one it, not really. I think I came out pretty darned awesome, all said and done. I would like to figure out a way that we could make the world a bit more peaceful and understanding to all people than it is now, for my son and yours… For the children my son might have someday if he’s so inclined. For humanity’s sake…

      I know an awful lot of wounded people who don’t think they can forgive or forget… some of them can’t even accept.

      I’d like to find a way to make things better for them too.

      Thanks for stopping in, Aaron. Have a great day on your journey… 😉

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  9. I simply want to tell you that I am all new to blogging and site-building and truly liked you’re blog. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog post . You certainly have awesome stories. Many thanks for sharing your web-site.

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    • Well, thanks for the kind words. I really am just learning how all of this works by trying things as I can. It’s pretty much how we all learn.

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