Since I was a young child, I learned that when people know you…
And I mean really know you…when you share your heart, your desires with others…When you’re silliness comes seeping out unbidden…When you cry because a song touches a nerve…When you laugh out loud at an awkward moment that maybe, also, a little bit funny…When people know you, they can hurt you. So I learned to lock away those parts of me that left me vulnerable to hurt. I learned to never let anyone know me.
I learned to quiet my laugh. I learned to hold back my tears. I learned that not everyone understands my particular brand of humor, so it’s best to just keep it to myself. Sarcasm can be misinterpreted, and off-the-wall wit leaves people confounded and thinking you’re weird. I learned these things the hard way.
At thirty-four years old, what I’ve learned since is that I don’t have to make those people like me. Those people don’t have to understand me. And it’s okay to be weird. Because weird just means different, and different is good.
I’ve learned more recently that when I find something amusing and I laugh with all the vivacity I have within, I am doing something good for myself. Laughter is, indeed, like a medicine. I am also doing something wonderful for that person who is standing by wanting to laugh, but afraid to do so. I’m giving her the freedom to laugh – out loud and with gusto.
When I love those I encounter to the point of tears, because people are beautiful and made to be loved, I am giving someone a kind of love they may never feel from anyone else. I’m giving someone else the freedom to see the beauty in others and love unhindered.
I learned that tears are healing. When a song moves me to tears before the one who wrote it, I am sharing their grief, their joy, and I am letting them know that they are not alone. When I hug my daughter, and the love within moves me to tears, I am giving her the freedom to cry – cry at beauty, cry at change, cry with sorrow and joy.
For years, I spent my life desperately hiding who I am. Now, I am desperate to show everyone who I was created to be. Who are you? Who have you been hiding. Don’t hide anymore. The you you were meant to be is desperate to be known.