Looking over my millions of post it notes with ideas scribbled here and there or sayings I’ve read and want to remember I came across this one
We create ourselves to hide the pain
Now I don’t know if I thought of that or if I read it somewhere and jotted it down or if someone said it and wala it landed in view, but it got me thinking about how we hide and why we hide.
The first time I learned to hide was with the game hide and seek. I’d run around my grandmother’s house for a couple minutes and then remember my favorite spot: in the laundry room under a couple loads of dirty clothes.
I liked being under clothes, desks, beds, and even behind bushes. To think no one could see me was kind of this miraculous feeling – almost like I didn’t exist.
Hiding was like an eraser. Now you see me. Now you don’t.
In a way it makes sense that as we get older we mask what we don’t want others to see by hiding.
Because of the pressure we feel to be something other than we are.
The pressure to be better than we are.
It’s easy to say we’re fine when we aren’t.
It’s easy to smile and laugh when inside we’re hurting.
It’s easy to look the part when inside we’re falling apart.
It’s easy to create a fictionalized version of ourselves.
But here’s the thing … If we’re hiding how can anyone see us? How can anyone say, I understand where you’re at. I see you. How can anyone let us know we’re not alone?
On Ann Lamont’s Facebook page yesterday she posted about her 29th recovery birthday. In the piece she writes, “I couldn’t imagine there was a way out of all that sickness and self-will, all those lies and secrets …” But she shows up for a meeting and goes on to write, “There were all these other women who had what I had, who’d thought what I’d thought, who’d done what I’d done, who had betrayed their families and deepest values, who sat with me that day, and said ‘Guess what? Me, too. I have that too. Let me get you a glass of water.’ Those are the words of salvation: Gess what? Me, too.”
By hiding our hurt we create more and more of it. We let ourselves drown in our thoughts. We think we’re the only ones.
But what if we saw our pain as generic – detached? What if there was no shame around the pain we feel? What if we saw our hurt as universal? As something others have experienced and could potentially relate to?
What if instead of hiding the pain we exposed it? To say to others and to ourselves, guess what? Me too.
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