Invisible Wo(man)

Life-Lesson #8

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 I have always thought of “transparency” as a really wonderful thing – being so genuine that you always give other people the “real you.” There are no walls to hide behind, no pressure to embody something or someone – all you are is you.

I’ve found that people long for transparency – in their lives, in personal relationships, and even in the working environment. Transparency can be defined as ultimate honesty. We often live our lives invisibly. We move through the world without people ever really seeing us. We control how much of ourselves we want others to see and often “ration out” parts of ourselves, never truly giving people the “whole” us or the real us.

To be “visible” to another person is to allow that person to see you for who you are – every color, every shade, and every detail that makes you you. Often times, we wear masks, put up facades, and even take on completely false identities in an attempt to either find who we are, or hide who we really are on the inside. Rather than hiding who we are, we should seek ultimate honesty. Albeit, it is extremely difficult to be brutally honest with yourself and with another person. In fact, being brutally honest in any area of your life requires much vulnerability. We run from genuine communication with other people because of our own shame and fear – we do not want to be truly known for who we are because we don’t even like who we are – sometimes. On the one hand, we might understand that ultimate honesty with ourselves and others is important, but I relate our understanding of this notion to one understanding the importance of literacy, but never picking up a book to read. We might know that confronting our real selves can be beneficial, but we often never do it. It seems much easier to hide behind the walls and partitions we set up in our lives.

We often think:

“I cannot open up to another person – he or she will hurt me.”

“If he or she gets to know me, this person might reject me because he or she will not like me for who I am.”

“I do not want another person to know who I am because I am not worth knowing.”

All of these thoughts only add up to one conclusion: we like to disguise our pain. We feign strength by acting arrogantly, we exude confidence to mask our insecurities, we crave attention from others to assuage our issues with self-worth. My point is simply this, if we could learn to peel back the layers of hurt, shame, guilt, anger, resentment, fear, and bitterness, by fully accepting the notion of ultimate honesty, our lives could be richer, fuller, and more meaningful.

Nowadays, we live as if the truth does not exist. The truth is that we are so blind to the reality of our human condition – that we are broken and are in need of love. As a result, we find ourselves hungry for a truth and an honesty that we forget exists. This is where transparency comes in. We long for honesty – it is an elixir with a horrid taste, a vaccine with a brutal delivery. In other words, honesty, transparency, and truthfulness are most often the things we dread, but are ironically the things we need. Being transparent helps us navigate the world with a sense of hope. There is hope in being honest with yourself – being honest with yourself leads to self-acceptance and even healing of the inner-self. Further, being your most honest, most true, most genuine self with another person gives that person the capacity to do the same. In living out the idea of “transparency” you help others move toward being more transparent. Essentially, it becomes safe to be yourself (whether you are weird as all get-out, as off-kilter as Jackson Pollock, or as wonderfully strange as Edgar Allen Poe), when other people are being themselves also. With as many people as there are in the world, it is a guarantee that there is always someone stranger than you are, quirkier than you can be, and in the same respect, it is guaranteed that someone will be just as weird as you.

In essence, a transparent lifestyle is multifaceted. Transparent people come to grips with their emotional wounds, are vulnerable enough to seek help in mending those wounds, and live out the idea that other people are just as wounded, and just as broken, and just as in need of honest, truthful communication. I encourage you to be one of those people. Be a person that is willing to share your scars, your insecurities and your regrets – those are the qualities that remind us of our humanity. Being transparent and accepting the truth about who you are allows you to hope, moves you to love, and guides you to change.

Move from fake to authentic,

from hurt to healed,

from ashamed to a c c e p t e d.

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At the Jousting Match

Life is a game we play:
A tossed ball, a forgotten frisbee.

Memories fall out of a set like broken toys,
Chess pieces topple over into dust.

Life is a monopoly board, abandoned.

Figurines in a set,
Marbles in a box,
Dolls on a table…

Life:
Our magnetic tug of war.

J.C. – NOT J. Cole

Life Lesson # 6

In all my years of living, the best gift anyone has ever given me has been their friendship. My luck with friends has been spotty. If I listed all of the ways that I have been wronged by the “friends” that I have had, it would be pointless. I’d spiral into a frenzy of anger and unforgiveness; I’d be a wreck. The people in my life who have been real friends to me, the genuine, loving, listening friends have indeed made all of the trashy ones worth the pain. In all honesty, it is hard for me to talk about relationships. I spend a lot of my time giving my time to other people – people that I care about. I have had to negotiate the benefits of silence during times when all I could think of were hurtful, poisonous words to describe the way I felt after a broken friendship. There have been times in my life when I literally could’ve spit venom into someone’s face after enduring the hurtful remarks, the selfish attitudes, and the envy spewed at me from a person who I identified as a “friend.” As I reflect on all of my past relationships, I cannot help but think to myself, that graceful restraint has been a downfall. What really, do you say to a person who you consider a friend, when they begin to belittle you, admit that they are jealous of you, and fueled by their own insecurities, mock you?

What do you do?

As far as I know, there seem to be few remedies for emotional scars from broken relationships that actually heal those scars. In fact, there are so few remedies that I have determined there is only one elixir for the emotional turmoil that breeds from brokenness…

LOVE.

Yes, I will sit here, type this long, drawn-out post, and tell you that the only way I have healed from the wounds other people have caused, and wounds that I have allowed them to cause, is by taking a heavy dosage of love. I practically bathe in it – and saying that is an understatement. I mean, I really could just sit and around and spit fire all day about how I feel people have wronged me – I could claim my victimhood like a virulent infection and say, “Hey! Look at me. I am a broken mess because I have been mistreated by a number of awful friends.” As ugly as that sounds, many people live their lives with the armor of victimhood wrapped tightly around their hearts and minds. I tell you today, that even though I have been wronged,

I

am

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victim.

And neither are you. It might sound a little harsh, but understand, harsh intentions are completely absent from this post. Because of my life experience, I can openly say that I do not wear the mask of victimhood. Although I have scars, and some deep wounds, I am more than a conqueror because of love. Yes! The “L” word that we often misconstrue, jumble up, and even believe does not exist. Love exists, friends. And it is powerful. Essentially, I am a testament to this: the good friends that I have had, the real friends, have loved me back to emotional health. The real friends that I have had have wiped my tears and listened to me drone through my most painful stories about low self-esteem. My real friends have loved me. Though far and few between, my real friends have loved me out of the bitterness, out of the unforgiveness, and out of the sarcasm I projected. Friendship has been the best gift given to me; it’s value is immeasurable, precious.

I would be remiss if I did not give all credit to the best friend that I have ever had. His name is J.C. and he’s such a nice guy. His dad sent him to me from a very far place. You see, his father saw the best in me. He literally loved me so much that he sent J.C. straight to the doorstep of my heart. When I first met J.C. I was wretched! I was so surprised at how much he cared for me, even when I abused his love. I cursed his name many times, told him him that I would not be able to trust him, and even turned my back on him time after time. But, in those moments he held me with such gentle tenderness that my heart had no choice but to melt in admiration for him. He has known me for all the years that I have been alive – our talks at night and our sweet conversations in the morning revive me. He has not only loved me back to life, and out of all of the sick mess that I’ve endured, he is love itself. Clothed in grace and rich in selflessness, Jesus Christ has been the best gift of love and friendship that I have ever received.