One of my students recently remarked at how open I am. She meant it as a compliment, and was asking for advice on how to be more this way, but for whatever reason, the word stopped me in my tracks.
I think as a writer and artist you have to be able to show what lives beneath simply to survive. I don't argue with that. A lot of my most recent and current creative exploration exists much like so many of my childhood days: lifting up the rocks just to see what's living and squirming in the dark rich soil below. I love the real, the raw, the palpitating and visceral. I love the evidence that even in this sterilized technology soaked world, the muddy human condition still ives on. I love to feel less alone in my own imperfections, collecting the slivers of beautiful humanity and humility I find along the way, like scant breadcrumbs leading toward Home. And I share what I love with the world through my art and my words. And so, yes, I am somewhat of an emotional exhibitionist, I suppose.
But that word. Open. It made me so uncomfortable. I think mostly because I don't really want to be open. I don't really want to have a come-and-go-as-you-please policy when it comes to my life. That's never really been my thing. I married my second boyfriend ever. I've eaten the same breakfast every single day for five years. I know my mailman's first and last name and got him personalized dish towels for Christmas this year. I've always been a girl who'd rather dig deep wells than sow long, shallow fields.
So yes, I need to be who I was born to be, and share what I was born to share. But I'm now exploring ways of doing so without feeling so one dimensional.
One of those ways was changing my relationship with social media.
I wasn't going to say anything. And then I was. And then I wasn't again. But then I keep getting emails and the most fascinating part about them is that they all seem to ask, "Did something happen? Are you OK?" As if disallowing the public an open ticket to my personal life could only happen under dire circumstances. Why else would someone choose not to have 10K followers? Why else would someone not care about hashtags?
I have drawn the conclusion that I am 99. I knit, I sew, I cook soups all day. I watch QVC, pinch kid's cheeks and for the life of me, no matter how hard I have tried, I just cannot feel fulfilled by the overflow of technology these days.
But at the same time, I refuse to hide completely.
So here is my plan. And I grant myself full and unconditional permission to change my mind at any time. But for today, my plan is to be absent from some forms of public sharing, so that I can be more present in others. My plan is to focus on being honest, but not necessarily wide open. I don't really want to show you every single sacred corner of my world. Some things are just for us. Just for my children. They deserve that, and I think I do, too.
So, I promise. Nothing is wrong. Nothing happened. It's just that I'm trying my best to remain true to who I am, and not fall into the shoes of someone I am not.
I hope you'll continue to enjoy the work and musings I do share. Because now I am putting these out there with deep reverence and intention. I am mindful, and that's the big shift.
I also really and truly hope that if you feel extra connected to me or my work, you'll come visit the rivers with me and become a real life friend.
I hope that you can understand.
Maybe I'm not 100% exposed, but I am stubborn, and I'm determined to honor the voice in my heart that fights incessantly for the preservation of deep and meaningful well digging, even in the online world. And the art of holding the hands of a few really incredible friends, extra tight.
I am grateful. Always. For all of it. And I am finding my way. One breadcrumb, at a time.