“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Everyone loves lists. So, on this the 30th day of #31daysoffrailty, here’s the list of things that I did not write about this month. The un-crossed off topics I’m left with from the big list I made for myself at the start so that I’d know that there were at least 31 things I felt frail about. Things that scrape the chalkboard emotionally for me and most people. Things I thought I’d write to explore with anyone willing to join me, in hopes that we would all get braver.
Sure enough, I had more than a month’s worth!
- my mother
Did you just wince? I sure did. These things are pretty universally ouchy. They don’t come up in new relationships, except if we are making self-deprecating jokes. Some people don’t have anyone they would openly talk about this stuff with. I skate around these topics. And so do most of us.
I had the most peculiar experience this week, though, in which all of these but one (food) actually did come up in one evening — with 3 people I had never met in my life. And I lived 🙂 And since we were eating, I guess even food was “on the table”. The occasion was a new study group I get to be a part of, and the women, all incredible, were gathered to be introduced before our group begins. Little did we know that we’d be guided gently by the one person we all knew into a safe circle (we already have named ourselves The Embers), or that we’d leave already friends. I thought of them all today and I can’t wait to be together again, because some of the hard stuff is already over; we got real, without any pretense of pleasing.
Pleasing happens when the currency of a relationship is the exchange of my performance for your acceptance. And it’s probably why I chose not to blog on those topics listed above. So you’d like me. But here’s what I’ve gained and it’s huge. Why was I able to open a vein this week with new people when I’m frankly not looking for any more bloodshed this year? (Check SEASONS to find out why) Because I’ve learned to sit with my frailty for 30 days I am feeling pretty fierce about it. I found that out on Monday when I was ready to sacrifice pleasing for the prize of common ground. And a month ago I would have just dissolved at the thought of it.
I remember talking once to my friend Colleen and telling her, “There’s never a good time to fall completely apart.”
She disagreed. “Yes there is,” she said, “there can be a good time.” Because being real, shedding defenses, is the most connected we get to be in this world.