Monday, 12 September 2016

The Sharing Rules (or, "I'm broken, not stupid")

I posted an abbreviated version of this on a secret facebook group I am a part of. A tribe of people who are there because they value change and growth and understand struggle. People who seem to be on a journey towards vulnerability, belonging and worthiness.

A journey to truly discover and find bravery to reveal their authentic selves.

These are my thoughts on sharing... 

On being vulnerable. And I posted them in a safe place first, a place where I keep folks are already abiding by the rules.

But then I realized, I am applying these rules in my entire life, with everybody, and they deserve to know the rules of the game.

I had a conversation with a very dear friend the other day and she said to me, "The only difference between us is that you like to open up and share, and I do not". She was being honest. I love this.

But here's the truth, I don't like to share. I like people to think I'm perfect. I like people to see how "together" I have it.

I'm a wife, mom of 4 and business owner.

But I can do this. I can run 2 businesses, keep my home in relative order and keep my husband satisfied by being a wildly sexual woman after a day of snotty noses, spaghetti kisses and the toilet that ALWAYS has poop in it (this is a story for another day).

No. Problem.

But that is a big fucking lie. And you know it.

You know it because you're here, reading this. You are desperately searching to find some flaw, some loophole in my neat and tidy marriage, happy kids and cute, but acceptably crazy life.

You are dying inside to know that you are not alone.

You scan your screen for little hints that might slip through the cracks .... maybe she doesn't have it all completely together ... you know, just like me.

But lately I've found myself committed to cutting the crap. I am done. I am so tired and so depressed and so exhausted of feeling so, so very alone. And I have thrown myself into this, under the bus, at the altar so that maybe I can help one person, even just one, know that they too are not alone.

My motto has become: BE FEARLESSLY AUTHENTIC.

I used to be pretty certain that everyone would appreciate this.

I've gotta tell you though, my new commitment to "authenticity" has brought about some strange and surprising reactions.

Sometimes I walk away and laugh.

Sometimes I cry.

Sometimes I think I will quickly determine how accurate my right hook is.

I am not sure why or exactly what provokes it ... but I cannot stand when people feel fake.

Fake empathy, fake enthusiasm, fake interest.  

It literally makes me crazy.

I understand that there are times in life we need to feel and be something we are not yet. I understand that sometimes we need to put on a brave face when we're scared or a smile when we are falling apart.  These are emergencies.  Times when you can't afford to lose it.

That's not what I mean.

What I am referring to is people who are in such deep denial or disregard of their actual feelings or state or experiences that they can no longer inform their face of the lie. They have convinced themselves they are "fine" or "strong" or "together" .... but the gig is up.

It seeps out.

In word, in tone, in gesture. In feigned empathy or concern. 

True colors are shown in bold, bull-like confidence. In cliches and phrases that tell you they are not connecting with you, they are "handling" you.

I am done with being handled. 

I am broken, I am messy, I am complicated. I am authentic and broken open and willing to share what is hidden deep inside.

But this does not ...

I repeat, THIS DOES NOT apply to people who are NOT ALSO willing to break open and go into their own dark places.
I will not discuss my brokenness with someone who thinks they are whole and can fix me.

I will not share my most vulnerable, real self with someone who hides their flaws and scars and preaches at me. My heart and my spirit are too tender and I've worked too hard to open that up to the scrutiny of someone who is afraid of their own inner self.

Not a chance.

I am broken. I am not stupid.

So it's not that I entirely enjoy sharing. 

I actually kind of LOATHE it ... but I know I have to. 

It was only through people who shared that I was brought "back".  They drew my clunky, broken messy life back through a tiny sliver of light that shone through the darkness. 

And please understand, the reason I write, the reason I do this public display is because the people who saved me are people I HAVE NEVER MET. 

They saved me from afar.  Through blogs and books and virtual communities.  They saved me because they were brave enough to share, to put their stories "out there". 

And so now I too share.

But those who I invite to share back with me must pass the initiation rules. 

They are (basically) as follows:

You must be willing.  You can be terrified.  You can even be silent, but you must be willing to yourself be authentic.

You must tell it like it is.  Not because you are whole and correct. But because you too have hurts and scars and unspeakable joys and can share from a place of deep empathy.

You must be able to keep it real. I can smell falseness from a mile away.  I want nothing to do with that.

You must be journeying.  You must know there is a "journey" to begin with.  You must not believe you have "arrived".

And that is it. 

I do not care where you are on your journey.  But if authenticity and vulnerability and finding a sense of worth and belonging in this big, scary and messy world is something you value, we can share.

If not, that's fine, but you will meet my "outer self" at the door. 

She will show you around the main room, I think you'll find it quite nice.  I will be kind and courteous and polite and I will mind my language and manners and keep my life quiet and orderly for you here in this bright and well-ordered room.

But you do not get to see the basement or the attic or the closets or the dark corners. 

They are off limits for now.  

A day might come where you find yourself looking into the dark corners in your own life.  

At that point, come to me.  Drop everything and run.  Barefoot if you need to.

I will be waiting and we will sit, share, and open up ... we will let small cracks of light into our broken places, together

Bravely forth, 

Jac :)

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