So my book is finally out. And by that I mean it’s been sent to reviewers, friends, and family. All day today I’ve felt uncomfortable because I’ve been nervous about how the book will be received. I thought it was because I worried about whether people will like it or not, but in truth that’s not what’s bothering me. In truth, I’m scared. I’m scared that once people read all my personal details, once everyone sees how my mind works, that my friends will decide to disassociate with me. That once my true self is revealed I’ll be shunned.
This is an old story for me, one from childhood. I’ve believed I didn’t have friends as a kid because once my peers found out how weird I was they decided not to have anything to do with me. That’s how I viewed things through my childhood lens. But as an adult I can see a fuller, more accurate picture. That’s really not what happened. I had friends. Nobody shunned me. Really I was the one rejecting them because I didn’t feel a connection. I chose to spend time by myself rather than with people I didn’t share anything in common with. It wasn’t because I was a weirdo loser freak that scared people off. It wasn’t because people found out about “the real me.”
As an adult I also know people like learning about vulnerabilities, they LOVE hearing about the deeply personal stuff because that’s how we connect with one another. I love it when people feel like they can confide in me. When they want to talk about what’s really going on. My book is an opportunity of sorts to have the same thing happen, to allow people to connect with me. Instead of keeping others at arm’s length, I’m letting people in. I think that’s what’s so scary. I don’t get to pick and choose who I’m letting in, it’s anyone who’s interested in my story.
I also think about how people have shared with me things they were ashamed of, things that are not widely accepted or approved of, and my response was not to go running from the room. My response was not to turn up my nose in disgust. Instead I felt compassion for the person, for the pain that drove them to act out in such a way. I’m hoping my friends will react the same way. Instead of cutting off all ties because they found out some things that happened years ago, they’ll react with compassion and with love. Because when I’ve been my most vulnerable that’s all I’ve ever received.
I guess I’m saying I can look at a story that has shaped my identity and how I move about the world with a different lens. These days I get to see the reality of what happened to me instead of just the pain. I get to heal my childhood trauma and recognize I wasn’t as powerless as I led myself to believe. That I had a choice in things. That I co-created an experience for myself.
As far as my book, no one will turn me out because they suddenly find out I’m human and I have feelings. They won’t say, “Sorry Rebekah, you’re not the person I thought you were,” because they learned more about me. But if they do, is that really someone I want in my life anyone? I choose to know it’s safe to be me, that it’s safe to express myself, that I can view my life’s events from another lens and thus experience some peace.
I dream of a world where we know it’s safe to reveal our true colors. A world where we feel comfortable sharing our raw and honest emotions. A world where we examine our past with a different lens acknowledging things were perhaps not what they seemed.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.