If you’ve been reading my writing for any length of time, you’ll know I often start with a metaphor, anecdote, or story. And, while I enjoy sharing things I’ve done, places I’ve explored, and interesting people I’ve met along the way… sometimes I think I can hide behind them.
I’ve recently realized I like writing about the past because it’s safe. It feels messy to share when you’re in the throes of something. It's less vulnerable to share what you’ve figured out, or are far enough removed from, because at least then you can offer some poetic resolve.
But “poetic resolve” and “mid-twenties” have about as much in common as Paris Hilton and Socrates, something my therapist reminded me while on a phone call from a Manhattan subway station.
As wonderful and life-giving as New York has been the last month, all the street falafel in the world can’t bring resolution to your doubts, insecurities, and shame.
And so, slumped against the filthy wall of 42nd & Broadway, dry tears stung my cheeks. As Brazilian tour groups and slightly off-brand Marvel characters wandered home from Time’s Square, my blessedly patient counselor and I talked about shame.
Shame about my past or of having too many feelings – of being unemployed or lack of clarity – of my faith or who I love.
Brene Brown writes, “because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
I recently shared how my word for 2018 is “gentle,” accepting where I’m at and who I am; letting my story unfold organically rather than formulaically.
For me, the journey of the last few years has been about self-acceptance and New York, in many ways, feels like the culmination of that journey.
What I didn’t tell you was the frustrated tears about “what’s next” at the beginning of my call shifted to joyful ones by the end of it.
Because, in our last few moments together, I was reminded of how much I’ve grown. After all, nothing wholly embodies the old hymn “my shame is gone, I’ve been set free” like tears and expletives in a Manhattan subway station.
A month into this adventure and I’m still a New York freshman. There’s much I’m uncertain about, but I’m starting to understand I can be in the throes of something and still be confident in myself.
So, while “poetic resolve” seems like a strong word and there are still days I attempt to find sanctity in a halal cart, I’m honestly, dare I say, okay. I’m proud of the things I’ve done, but for the first time in a long time, I’m proud of who I am.
What would it look like if whatever shame you’re holding onto – whether you’ve been clinging it to it for two hours or a lifetime – wasn’t there any longer? It matters what truth you align yourself with and the truth is, I have nothing to be ashamed of, nor do you.
Let's be a little more brave. Let's feel a little more free.