Ever wonder why we hide? Why we cover-up, fear exposure, and live in the shadows with the blinds pulled? What influences us to screen, conceal, and close the blinds to our true beautiful selves?
Experiences in our lives chase us into the shadows, into safety. Hiding protects us. We feel secure knowing that we’ll never be hurt again. So deeply hurt, traumatized, or wounded, hiding blankets us with relief from the terrors of exposure: relief from shame, vulnerability, from ever feeling that way again: safe, secure, inaccessible from that which scares us the most; we know what we hide from.
Perhaps we hide from ridicule, embarrassment, or humiliation. We experienced an event in our past where we were laughed at, mocked, teased, bullied, or taunted.
Perhaps we hide from pain, trauma, or agony. We were treated, touched, or spoken to inhumanely, cruelly, heartlessly, or violently.
Perhaps we hide from grief, anguish, or sorrow. We were abandoned, deserted, or left behind.
Perhaps an encounter, interaction, or event ended so painfully that we vowed to never put ourselves in such a position again. We swore to never date, marry, or leave the house, risk, approach, try, move, or “do that” again.
The light of living stings our eyes and burns our skin; we seek refuge in the shadows of our own personal prison, convinced that concealing ourselves will ensure protection, safety, and security. We close the blinds.
I once dated a man that said to me one day, as we were walking out the apartment we shared, “You’re not gonna go outside without makeup on are you?” Vividly, I recall the embarrassment, humiliation, shame, and fear that washed over me. I wanted to crawl into a hole, which I actually did because at that moment, I faded into the shadows and applied the makeup. I chose to hide. I closed the blinds. I didn’t own my story. Instead, I owned someone else’s and allowed it to chase me into the shadows.
I’ve chosen to hide more than my face and body over the years. Growing up in an environment where a price was paid for using your voice, thoughts, views, and opinions were risky. The shadows provided a camouflage; I lived as a chameleon, safer, but at a cost. Once again, I didn’t own my story and chose to give it over to fear.
I experience people hiding daily from themselves and from others. I feel, see, and hear them giving their stories over to fear and seeking refuge in the shadows. Daily, I witness beautiful individuals hiding their bodies, their voices, their dreams, their gifts, their love, and their deepest desires.
Over the years, I’ve owned my story and chosen to move out of the shadows. Is it scary, “Yes!” But one thing I’ve discovered about fear is that it reminds me that I am alive. Fear, as uncomfortable as it is, gets my attention and motivates me to take action. It’s a signal to move into the light instead of into the shadows. It’s a sign to own my story and proclaim, “This is scary and I’m not hiding!”
Sure there’s times when I need a little shade for reflection, contemplation, or meditation. The difference is, I choose and I’m not hiding.
You see, the light can’t reach us in the shadows or with the blinds closed. Without the warmth of light on our minds, bodies, and spirits, we can’t grow, bloom, and flourish, nor can our relationships. We’ve been gifted with unique and beautiful minds, bodies, and spirits to carry us through our lives. Hiding in the shadows with the blinds closed is not how we’re meant to live.
If you’re living in the shadows afraid to own your story, yet ready to move into the light, know that it will take practice. Life is a practice. We get up every day to the practice of life and we have a lifetime to rehearse. Some days our practice will go well and show progress; other days, we’ll retreat to the drawing board wondering if we’ll ever figure it out. But here’s the thing: there is no destination. There is no end, until the end. One of my favorite writers, Jeff Goins, views “our life as more of a journey than a destination.”
Some practices that you can experiment with on your journey include journaling, meditating, prayer, faith, and mind-body practices, counseling, and coaching. I highly recommend seeking support and companionship on your journey out of the shadows. I feel the warmth of the light when I own my story and share it with others.
[tweetthis]Own your story, feel the fear, and move out of the shadows. Throw the blinds wide open![/tweetthis]
From time to time, I revisit my hiding memories. You might think, “Why would you want to revisit such painful memories?” Because revisiting memories periodically affirms how far I’ve come and how grateful I am for the person I am and the person I am becoming. Today, I smile at those memories; they hold no power over me anymore. I live in the light with the blinds wide open. You can too!
Sending you inspiration,