A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for. - William Shedd

Here's the thing.

I don't write anything too vital on here. Never have, except maybe (at points few and far between) in my weaker moments. Most times, however, I'm strong enough to remain aloof. Or maybe strong isn't the right word. I'm not really sure.

It was one of the first things I ever blogged about, actually - I realized very early on that if I started writing things out there on the internet, people would read them. And some of these people might actually be people I know. Worse yet, some of these people might actually be people who know me.

Knowing a person is a funny thing. At the end of the day, we all want to be known. Its the spiritual longing that has been placed inside of us and none of us can claim to be any bigger than such things, as much as we might like to. We all have it, and most of us in the same ways. We are inherently designed to be known, and to know. But in a cosmic irony of sorts, we're cursed with a self-defeating drive to not let ourselves be known. We run from that - truth and honesty and all the horrid vulnerability that sneaks in behind when you open up the door for such things. Community has become not a place where you can go to be really known, but a place where you can go to enjoy being around a lot of other people who all have the same struggle of wanting something they aren't about to risk letting themselves have.

And yet, sometimes (I have absolutely no idea if "often" would be an accurate substitute here), when real opening up does happen in the context of a community (or a person, I suppose) that is cognizant to the gravity of the revelation, there's a certain something that clicks. Its the mutual realization - experience, really - of the what I'll call the "Me too!" effect. People see the vulnerability and it touches that place in them that is yearning but so carefully restrained. And sometimes they even respond, in kind.

Of course, this isn't always the case. Take me, for instance. I could pour out my struggles and all the secret shames I carry around with me (just like anyone else reading this sentence does their own). No, really, I could. I know this because at least some of those are blog posts in draft form that I have already written. And as poignant and striking as some of these cobbled thoughts may be, most of them will likely never be seen by eyes other than my own. Because that is what keeps things safe. That is what will not rock the boat.

I suppose this is why psychology is an industry that remains constant. We all run around trying to pretend like we have it all together and we can handle everything the world is throwing at us. And sooner or later most of us reach the point where we can't even pull that off anymore, and the next thing you know you find yourself pouring it all out to some (relative) stranger that you're actually paying to act as if they could be the accepting form of community/person that you actually really need. I am certainly making a sweeping generalization of a field that has many noted merits, but the point remains. And, of course, counseling isn't the only alternative people turn to when they lose the ability to hold onto all the ropes at once.

I had a girlfriend who once told me that I'm a hard person to know. I remember not really liking the fact of the matter, but I liked the statement for the simple fact that I knew it was deadly accurate, even if I didn't want it to be. And, that sucks, because I'm like everyone else - I was supposed to be known, too. But we don't all get to have that, at least not in this life. A lot of people do, and sometimes it even works out for them, which is great. But not everybody. I do not understand why this is such a hard concept for people to accept.

I'm trying to accept it myself, but in different ways, now. I think maybe I'm a lot closer than I used to be, but every time I think that, I eventually find myself looking back and recalling in a way I couldn't have grasped then just how far I still was from it. Another irony lies herein - letting go is sometimes a hell of a lot harder than hanging on.

This year I'd like to get some more brutally honest posts up. I have no idea if I will, but at least this is a start.

After all, last year I said I'd like to go work in Africa.

And that's what I drew yesterday. I'll call it "alone" - I like how it was a place for people but there weren't any there. Its from the deck of the lodge I was at this weekend with the rent's at Kruger park. There was (and is, in the picture) a giraffe in the distance. This one was done as a gift too, for Hine, our guide while we were there, who showed us a great time and made some nice compliments on the sketches I was doing in my moleskine whilst there. I drew most of this in about 2 hours yesterday, which is still blowing my mind.


val said...

You could try practicing pouring out your struggles and secret shames to the One who knows you best and loves you most (anyway).

bethanylynne said...

I may not be as good as the Big Guy (obviously) but I'm always here for you for those rare moments you want/need to talk. Freal.