Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thick Skinned

...I am not.

And because I am not thick-skinned,
my heart is swollen and raw right now.
Because I wear it, not only on my sleeve,
but through every pore of my skin.

And right now,
my heart hurts.

Allow me to introduce myself,
I am Translucent Woman

I feel like everyone can see through me--
through my skin
past the muscles
and beyond the bones,
straight through my chest, to my heart.

They can see it
Because I have put it out there
They can Scrutinize
Make assumptions about my heart
and about Me.
(sometimes it is hard to tell us apart)
Because I have put us out there.

And, I guess that just comes with the territory.
I'll take the judgements and questions and assumptions
as they come.
And keep my heart out there,
on my sleeve,
seeping through my pores

I am not going to go back.
I am not going to lock my heart up in my chest

I did that for a season of my life
I got to a point, where I could hardly feel it beating against my ribs
I lived for a while with it buried 
and hidden
(I have done this with a clock before...smothered it under a pillow because the constant ticking pounded in my ears, and kept me from sleep)

I have emerged from that time
that time when the aches
and truths
and music
and love
and losses
of my heart, we too hard
for me to handle

I have left behind that darkness
that place, that valley
where the shadows and fears
of facing the deep disappointments of This Life
were too intense to acknowledge
or experience openly.

Here is what I learned during that time
Here is HOW I emerged,
Here is WHY I am no longer afraid:

I discovered that
keeping it all hidden,
keeping the sadness
and failures
and worries
and hurts
and grief
Led me to an even deeper,
darker place
where hopelessness
and depression
were my primary companions.

When I hid my heart,
covering the darker, uglier,
messier, muddier parts--
I ended up feeling like a fraud.
I ended up feeling like a failure.
I ended up feeling like Mr Hyde.

Hiding my heart,
Hiding the realities of WHO I AM,
Left me more isolated
and broken
and hurting 
with each passing year

Here is what I realized
Here is what I know

I am a fraud.
I am a fraud as much as I am sincere.

I am a failure
I am a failure as much as I am a success.

I am Mr Hyde
I am Mr Hyde as much as I am Dr Jekyll.
Perhaps, even more so

I am a mess
A beautiful mess.
I am His mess.
And I need Him.

And that is the whole, entire point
Of. It. All.

I spent most of my life, not wanting to be a mess.
Not wanting to admit, that I was a mess.
Surely, not wanting ANYONE to see, that I am a mess.

But, the evidence cannot be argued.
I am a mess.
A beautiful mess.

And there is freedom in being a mess.
There is true, pure, freedom in 
and accepting
that I am a mess.

Because, NOW
I don't have to hide it.
I don't have to smother the truth anymore
I don't have to put on a show
or pretend
or try to please
or fake my way through Life

I am a mess
and I declare it boldly.
I am a mess
and I screw up all the time
and make messes in my marriage
and with my children
and in my friendships
I am a Major Mess

And because I KNOW it
about myself,
point out

I was really good at that
I was really good at pointing out other people's messes.
Because I denied I had my own.

Now, I know the darkness
that place, that valley
where the shadows and fears
and deep disappointments of This Life

I have been there
I return there,
some days.

Like today.

But now, today
I am willing to do so openly.
Because I know I am not alone.
Yes, I know I have Him
I know you are there, too
I know you don't want anyone to know.
I know it is scary
and you feel like a failure
you are disappointed in yourself
you are struggling to keep a grip
grasping to hold on to your heart, lest it push right through your chest
you are ashamed and hurting and angry with yourself
because you have Faith
and you are Strong
and it's not that bad
and there are people who are much worse off than you, right?

I know you are right there, too.
And I know, you need to be told
that it's ok.
It's ok to be a failure
and to be Mr. Hyde

Just don't be a fraud

We are all messes
Beautiful messes
and we are loved
and we need to come clean about ourselves
and quit trying to have thick skin.

I don't want thick skin anymore.
I want to stay tender
and fragile
and sensitive
and open.

It's how I know I am alive
It's how I know, it will be better Some Day.
It will never be all better here.
But it will be better Some Day.


Days like Today,
when my heart is swollen and raw
and my very pores are
aching for relief,

I know

that I am loved
that I am known
that I am understood
for the Beautiful
Dr Jekyll 
Mr Hyde 
that I am.