I’m a habitual “just fine”-er.
It’s easier. It’s quicker. And it removes me from the lamplight of scrutiny much faster.
The other day, someone declared that I never look [this same someone] in the eyes. I actually didn’t argue, yet I admitted I never look anyone in the eyes. While this person tried to discount, thinking it was isolated, I truthfully exposed that no, it is anything but isolated. It is a fact about myself that has been practiced for decades.
There is a loophole to this behavior – if you (the other person/persons in a conversation) are speaking and I am listening, I am able to look into your eyes, listen, and show my attentiveness most always. (If the topic isn’t myself of course.) Yet if I am speaking, about anything usually – topic is insignificant – then I look anywhere but back into your eyes. It’s a compulsion of “non-action”, which I suppose is its own action nonetheless.
You see, if I look directly at you while I speak,
I’m exposed. I feel the full weight of that exposure deep into my skin, my bones.
I can’t escape and I can’t resist the feeling that you can see straight past every defense mechanism, every layer, between every line and role and gaze at the core of me.
Unmade, unpolished, deflection-aside me.
And nothing tremors my entire being more than unveiling.
Because (while I don’t mean this as an excuse – it’s unavoidable to point out) so enormously often, when that curtain has come aside revealing all things convoluted-me — the bareness, the emotions, the complexity and all things untidy and uneasily explainable — those who have had the misfortune to bear witness to the disillusionment quickly realize they had somewhere they were supposed to be and turn on heels.
I realize we all have our masks, our peccadilloes. With a few exceptions, I know that most take coaxing to show their colors. We as people desperately want to know our shades can mix with others and we can understand how beauty is multi-hued. How it’s ok to be us and still be desired company.
But I gave up revealing everything fully a long time ago.
I’ll show pieces if I feel safe enough (which in itself is no small order). Some trusted chosen-family have seen their share of honesty and showed remarkable grace and perseverance to stay. Yet I’m ashamed to say I still wear layers even they are not aware of. Holding out the chill of bare and clinging to shadows and hide-a-ways and breathing easier every time I draw back from exposure and find a corner of solitary familiarity.
I am a hypocrite. Singing the songs of freedom in the arms of my Maker, emphatically encouraging others (in complete truth and belief!) to rest in His love. Understanding that no truth of self, no sin, no scar, no deformity can repulse Him. He made every crevice and wrinkle of you and when the world and your sin taints you further than you can imagine and you think yourself beyond the scope of hideous into an indefinable category of lost-cause….even then…EVEN THEN He is begging you to run to Him and allow His embrace to smooth all tremors, balm all sores, reset all fractures. Because He can. Only He can. And He has promised to – over and over and over. And He has never, can never, will never break a single promise He makes.
Oh how resolutely I believe this for you!
….oh how inexplicably I cannot seem to wear the same identity I lovingly demand for you.
Still, even still, I know I am not a lost cause. Don’t confuse knowing it, from my declaring that I don’t feel it. I feel like a lost cause so very often. But I know it is not true. I know it. And He’s working with me every inhale and exhale I take towards my feeling it too.
<< This all began – this confession – because Lisa-Jo
sang a song of solidarity today. Speaking the un-fine sisterhood. Declaring that we are anything but alone. Begging us to leave the “just fine” band-aids behind. And it goes further. Spring announces a tangible united front of women
who want to be brave enough to let it go. Investigate the opportunity. Summon courage, though I fail at such searches far to regularly. Take pause and take time to hear voices other than your own. For rare is it for any other to be so harsh a critic than ourselves. >>