I wear my heart on my sleeve. Anyone who is even remotely observant can tell how I'm feeling within minutes of seeing me. Sometimes I wish this wasn't the case... sometimes I'd like to be able to tuck my feelings inside, out of sight, and go on as if everything in Life was always tidy and neat.
But I can't.
Life isn't tidy and neat and its chaos shines out of my expressions and my demeanor and my words the way the sun shines in July.
If you've been reading here for the past month (or the past several years), you've seen it. It's not pretty. It's not always pleasant. It can make people uncomfortable.
Someone from my 'real life,' who began reading my blog recently, remarked about how open I am here. And I told her that's true... to an extent. There are, of course, things I will never discuss here... or I don't think I will, anyway. I guess I don't know yet just how brave or open I'll be willing to be down the road.
And I'm sure there are people who think I'm too open; that I share too much; that I should hold some things back. And maybe they're right. I don't know.
But here's what I do know, right here, right now...
When I open myself up -- my heart and my head -- and I tell you things about my life and its chaos and how I deal with it all, it makes me feel a little less crazy... a little less chaotic. Very often, you come back to me, by way of comments or emails, and you let me know that something I've said has affected you; it's resonated with you; it's made you feel not-so-alone; it's given you a new perspective; it's made you want to reach out and open up to me...
Makes me feel good. It makes me feel validated. It makes me feel visible and necessary.
And I think we all need that.
Today, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about a friend hers -- a friend who committed suicide on her 41st birthday. I didn't know this woman, though it turns out we have a few mutual friends. But hearing about suicide naturally makes us wonder why... so I looked at her Facebook page and through her photos, wondering why; wondering what about her life might have been so terrible that she felt the need to end it on the day commemorating its beginning.
When you look at my Facebook page and my photos, I think you probably get a fair picture of my life. As you know from reading here, I'm pretty much an open book. Pretty much. I'm sure that's not the case with everyone... maybe even with most people... and probably not with this woman...
Because her life appeared to be perfect.
Let's change the emphasis there, shall we?
Her life appeared to be perfect.
She was stunningly beautiful. She had a handsome husband and a beautiful home. She traveled often, to spectacular places, and, indeed, spent her birthday on a boat in the Virgin Islands. It was clear that she possessed a spirit of adventure. She had many friends, who seemed to simply adore her, and beautiful nephews, who looked ridiculously happy to be photographed with her. Her posts were creative, her words captivating, and she had a smile that lit up whatever space she was in.
Her life appeared to be perfect.
It was not, of course.
No one's life is perfect.
And I wondered if, in her 'real life,' she wore her heart on her sleeve; if the people who loved her knew that her soul was troubled. I wondered if she felt it necessary to tuck her feelings inside, out of sight, and go on as if Life was tidy and neat. I wondered if she was ever able to open up, to share too much, and to lay herself out and just say, "This is me -- in pain, fucked up, sad, weary, and broken open."
I can't begin to imagine the pain she must have felt. My heart breaks for her and for her family. I know how fortunate I am to have never felt pain to that degree. I know how fortunate I am to have always, always believed that no matter how messy Life gets, it will get better.
And I am incredibly fortunate to be able to open up, to share too much, and to lay myself out and just say, "This is me -- in pain, fucked up, sad, weary, and broken open."
It's not pretty. It's not pleasant. And it sometimes makes people uncomfortable.
But it's so necessary.
And I wish it for everyone.