#Reverb15: Day 16 (I relish skipping some days–and, apparently, not paying attention to a calendar)
If we were to peek into the book of your year, what might we find?
What magic do you carry that people need to look a bit deeply to see?
The difficulty in trying to be part of an end-of-the-year set of writing prompts is that inevitably, one’s life interferes with one’s free time, a.k.a. writing time. That very outcome befell me. The problem is that there were a few more writing prompts that sincerely interested me. So although I can no longer post to the archive of these prompts, I decided to proceed with these few anyway.
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. Class, internship, work, a wedding in Boston, a new niece, family, friends, a promotion, too little sleep… a lot was crammed into 365 days. But in the middle of the insanity, there’s been a surprising amount of reflection and analysis. I’m introverted. It’s what we do. Perversely, we almost live for it.
And truth be told, a transformation started about six months before I threw caution to the wind, quit my job, and moved out west (it sounds more dramatic when you say it this way).
I’ve always been ridiculously emotionally reserved. I’m not ridiculous–at least, not in this area of my life–but the level to which I’m emotionally reserved is a bit ridiculous. By nature, I don’t let people inside my head. I don’t share what’s going on. And I most certainly do not cry in front of others. But about six months prior to making some pretty momentous changes, the emotional dam broke. It turns out you can only bottle so much up before ugly crying happens. Whether you want it to or not.
On one of these occasions, I was talking to one of my dearest friends, Jackie, on the phone. I doubt we’ll ever live in the same county, let alone the same time zone, so we have a lot of phone conversations (one memorably took place in the middle of the night her time when I got the time zone math mixed up and called her at an obscene hour). We got into the trajectory of my life and the ways that I hurt deeply.
I’m very good at soldiering through, but that doesn’t erase the pain. It just shoves it down the bottle’s neck. But the thing about bottles is they can only hold so much before they overflow. If you apply enough pressure to what you’re cramming into the bottle, it’ll burst.
And that’s exactly what happened. A seriously ugly cry. Whooie… Seriously. Ugly. Cry.
Jackie is incredible, though. As we continued talking, we got to the part where I felt led to state the obvious: I hate crying! (Everyone is entitled to a Captain Obvious moment in the middle of a breakdown.) She mused that it might be the Lord helping me get comfortable with sharing my emotions. And I think she was right.
I have a lot of emotion. Far more than someone would think considering my previously stated reserved nature. I’m at home in the cerebral, the logical, the rational. So that’s what’s most visible. I’m not the least bit comfortable with vulnerability so the hurts and dreams stay bundled up inside where it’s safe and secure. But that’s not practical in life. Not when relationships grow and thrive in mutual vulnerability.
Part of who I am, who I was designed to be, my essence… it’s rooted in the emotion that I like to hide. Over the past two years, I’ve taken baby steps outside of my comfort zone. I try to let people inside a bit more. Granted, not just anyone is allowed to see my vulnerability. Let’s not get crazy. But the people who matter have seen more of my inner workings over the past two years than ever before. It’s by no means easy, but I do think it’s necessary.
I’m an introvert… I’m relational. And for my relationships to grow and thrive, I have to continue to grow and become more comfortable with my emotions and vulnerability. They’re part of who I am. Part of what makes me me. And I’m a pretty awesome me, if I do say so myself. And that’s what I want people to continue to see. Those who know me well won’t be caught off guard by what they see. They already know me and love me for who I am. But as I continue to let my guard down one iota at a time, the relationships I cherish will strengthen and deepen.
Because what’s inside of me is the magic that is me. And I am just as I was intended to be, on purpose, and wonderfully made:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14