People often tell me I’m brave for putting so much of myself out there, baring so many of my feelings and exposing my heart. And while there are times I write a post and say I can’t believe I said that out loud, there are times I feel I am still hiding, still scared to say it all. People tell me ‘If I want to know about you I can just check out Facebook’ but the truth is that I only let people see what I want them to. Authenticity is very important to me, so my social media persona is not falsely fabricated, it is entirely me. Perhaps just a more binary version of myself though, not as intersectional as I really am.
Tonight I watched the movie Love, Simon. It’s premise is the story of a boy coming out, but the plot is so much more. I’m often told that the posts I write apply to people in all walks of life, not necessarily those who are just divorced, but also those who are single or widowed or whatever. It wasn’t until watching this movie that I understood how loudly someone else’s truth can ring in your own world. The character Simon comes out to his family on terms not set by him. He is angry. He is hurt. He is isolated. He is pained. But mostly he is scared. Scared for the same reason any of us are when life throws a curveball; change. Better the straight devil you know than the gay one you don’t. It’s the reason so many of us stay in broken marriages, in relationships that cause us more pain than joy, in jobs that leave us empty and unfulfilled.
In this film, Simon took a chance. He took a chance on love but mostly on himself. He shared his truth in myriad ways with his world and that has pushed me to face my fears. The fear of sharing it with my world and having people look at me as less than the strong, fierce woman I so strive to be.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise to others to hear me say my biggest fears are all about love:
Fear that I don’t know what love is.
Fear that I won’t recognize love.
Fear that I may have already lost love.
Fear that I want love too much.
Fear that I don’t want love enough, enough to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Fear that that want will blind me.
Fear that I will make the wrong choices in the name of love.
Fear that I love myself more than I can love anyone else.
Fear that the love I profess for myself is merely to protect my heart from pain.
Fear that I push love away more than I welcome it in.
Fear that I won’t have love in the way Thomas Rhett sings of.
Fear of being that sad old lady seeming desperate for love.
Fear of wanting so much more in life than just love.
Fear that I don’t appreciate the love that already exists in my life.
Fear that love is not enough.
Fear that loving my children is not enough to compensate for the pain in their life.
Fear that I will die alone without love.
Fear that I will die with someone feeling alone without love.
These are fears I despise talking about. For the very fear that they make me seem lacking; they make me seem less than whole. I am so determined to show the world and myself that I can do this thing called life on my own, that admitting to wanting more seems like a failure somehow. Even just writing these words I fight the urge to plug my nose at the stench of desperation. But in my heart of hearts I know that not to be true. These fears are not mine alone, these are human fears – fears of the human race who simply want to be loved, accepted and respected for who they are.
Our fears can act as anchors weighing us down or they can act as the fuel for our hopes and dreams. We may not get to choose our fears but we sure as hell get to choose what we do with them. Today I chose to share them with you.