Often before posting a revealing blog piece, I will run it by my husband to see if I’m saying too much. I do not seem to hold the concerns that others have about sharing too much information about myself.
On first glance, it would seem I am far too willing to tell my deepest, darkest secrets and fears to anyone who will listen. Does this make me self-absorbed, egotistical, navel-gazing? When a recent draft was quietly ‘rejected’ by my editor-in-chief (the guy I married), my defenses showed me something I hadn’t seen before.
I don’t think my experiences belong entirely to me. I feel responsibility for them. I think I have power over which way they go and how I react to them. But my life does not belong to me alone. I live on a planet with billions of other living things of all shapes and sizes be they human or bug and we interact daily whether I like it or not. Forces that nobody has any idea how to name, let alone control, are constantly at work. Even inside the universe we call the human body, chemicals are firing at rates that would astonish and overwhelm us if we were conscious of their doing.
As such, I don’t think my emotions belong entirely to me. I am a product of my environment. I am the summary of all these chemicals firing under my own skin and in my interactions with other beings. I conduct this orchestra with the small bit of brain I use but I don’t control all of the inputs and outputs.
If you believe in the theory that we are all One, as I do. That God is a thread that holds us all together, it is impossible to believe that everything you do belongs to you alone. That your ideas, feelings and thoughts are unique. It seems egotistical to me to assume others haven’t experienced the same.
I truly believe it is selfish NOT to share our perceptions with each other. One of the largest concerns of mothers that I know today is that they feel alone – they aren’t doing as good of a job as other mothers. One of the worst things I can do as a farmer is compare myself to another farmer. Every woman I know wishes she had another woman’s body, brain or life. Every living space (be it a family, a body or a piece of land) is so different that to assume one could expect or force the same results into all systems is ludicrous!
Yet in tiny ways, every day, similarities show their little heads. The basic truth of who we are and how the world works reveals itself and sets us free. I think this is what we call ‘seeing God’. Suddenly the world makes sense. Suddenly the notes we play on our instruments are crystal clear. Suddenly we are finding just the right thing to say. Suddenly the tomato plant is 6 feet tall. Suddenly a child is laughing so loud you swear you can hear angels singing or fairy wings flapping. For a tiny moment.
That’s all we get to keep are the small moments. A friend recently shared her husband’s excellent view of happiness. How we find it only in small windows, glimpses that make the whole picture more beautiful. Our lives are not meant to be the stuff of wedding days. Even your French fries can get cold at Disney World where our troubles are meant to disappear. We must steal these important moments and hold them as our own.
On the other side, we must also own the scary moments. And be willing to open them up to the world, I believe. Let some light in on them. Not flippantly. Not dangerously. Share them carefully in the right places at the right times so that others may know the most important thing we are meant to know in this world. We are not alone.
In the words of Ani Difranco in her song ‘Joyful Girl’: “The world owes me nothing. We owe each other the world.” Not to treat the world as a dumping ground for our negativity. But to belong to the world in the state that you are in – good or bad. And let the world hold you in it – as you are.
So, I do not believe in keeping things to myself quite like others do. I do not believe that the things that make me human are ‘private’ and best kept to myself. It isn’t because I lost a filter along the way. With as much heart as possible, I have the intention of holding up this one window to the world and maybe just maybe it will act as a mirror for someone else. This is the same kind of mirror that others have so generously held up for me – directing light on the dark places - for most of the years of my life.
Thank you to all of those who offered tiny glimpses of their lives in writing, in song, in their artistic creations. I see you. And you have made me feel more human.
And far less alone.