I had a dream the other night that someone broke into my house, took pictures of me naked, and posted them online. The dream had some weird twists and turns, but the basic consensus of the other people in the dream was that I had asked for it. Upon waking, I realized that that is completely true. Before you get your feminist panties in a bunch to try to argue my also feminist conclusion, let me say that I realized that this dream was symbolizing my blog. This is me living naked, baring my heart, to anyone who wants to read it. I am asking for it.
I don’t ask to be seen all that much in life. I’ve actually spent a lot of years perfecting my invisibility, until recently. However, I admitted a hope and a fear to my best friend earlier. She just accepted both about me. I thanked her for seeing me because I hate being invisible. She said she loved being invisible. I specified hating being invisible to those who mean the world to me. (I was meaning a specific person… and it’s probably not you, dear reader, so don’t feel like I’m trying to manipulate attention, I have a point!) She said, “I sometimes wish you were the only one who saw me, which on the deepest level you are, because everyone else who does see me, they pick and choose when and how much to see.” That, that right there, is why I love her. She doesn’t pick and choose the parts of me to see. All the parts of me are valid to her just because they exist. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all me and she loves me and is willing to see me and the beauty in the whole mess that is me. I know no other way to see her.
*My other best friend, my mother, isn’t a reader. I know that about her. She’s way behind on reading my blog. I’m not surprised. And I honestly am not bothered because I am under no delusions about who she is or that she knows who I am. We just see, love, and accept each other as is. We don’t pick and choose parts that suit our current attention or needs. We don’t try to erase and rewrite the parts that we don’t understand. We just acknowledge that we don’t understand and move on.
**My inner Catherine Tate/Lauren Cooper voice is screaming that I should change the above to “but am I bovvered, tho?” Since none of you, save maybe one, will get that, moving on…
As painful as it is to be seen sometimes because it opens us up for ridicule and hate, rejection and judgement, visibility is also the key to freedom. Whatever you think or feel, own it. Whoever you are, be it. What you like or don’t like, you’re entitled to those and you shouldn’t really have to hide them. I’m not saying rent a banner and fly it over the city every Wednesday at 6, but don’t hide it. If someone else doesn’t like it, so what? It’s true that the right people in the world will accept and even love you. Taking a stand about something and being the only one doing so is scary, but it is also invigorating and empowering. Being the odd man out for whatever reason, not being one of the group; it is an incredibly vulnerable experience. But, it is a character building and strengthening experience.
Sometimes, deciding to live naked becomes the catalyst that gives others the courage to do the same, to claim who they are and stop hiding. Whether your audience is international, local, or just the you in the mirror every morning, dare to live authentically as you because your freedom is worth it.