Hard Pass On Hiding 

Image credit: Dylan Spitz

Image credit: Dylan Spitz

“How’s the hiding going?” read my text in blue. 

She could have answered. He could have answered. I could have answered, if the text had been in white first. Because lately hiding seems to be the name of the game. 

We’re all choosing to be more ghosts than we are the versions of ourselves that we’re fighting to become. Some of us because shame is less present when we’re hiding in the shadows. Some of us because pain can’t find us if we just blatantly refuse to show up. 

All of us because we don’t sit long enough to realize that if we’re fighting to become these people then we need to find ways to minimize the hiding and to embrace the wholeness. I’m speaking not from a soap box, but from the muddy ground that I find myself knee deep in too. 

I’m so afraid to show up that I’m spending more time within the lines of pages than with myself and the relationship I say I want. 

“You need to start contributing to the life that you’re trying to build more than worrying about what others think about the life that was placed upon you.” 

Those words are screenshotted on my phone and they weighed heavily on the evening that I was drinks bound to, with a dress, a full face of makeup, and a lot on my mind. I had “More Heart, Less Attack” playing through the AUX cord and Jersey was to my right. 

I’ve gained some weight. I’m parting my hair a bit differently. There have been some new additions to my wardrobe, soon some new additions to my keychain. My boots are the same, but they’ve walked down Ohio dirt paths and may as well be forever changed, for the better. 

We drove down Route 33. I drove up Riverside. There are so many ways that I’ve showed up in my life, and that showing up has healed my broken bones and my scared heart. Why am I so afraid of showing up now? I laid on hospital bed after hospital bed and let myself be examined like a specimen. It was a new kind of bravery for me. There were purple lines on the side of my left boob for 2 weeks after they were drawn on by a marker that Dove couldn’t wash away fully. It was a battle scar I hadn't anticipated.

I’ve been colored in, erased, and colored back. So, why if I have a history of showing up and navigating my way through all the feelings showing up finds me in, do I doubt that I’ll be able to do it again? Flinches at my vulnerability, at any expression of my truth, they will feel deeply personal until I breathe them in and remember that it says more about the other party than it says about me. 

Hiding is convenient until you realize that all the work you’ve done on yourself, all your dreams — the reality of little families, home, big dreams — they’re all at the other side of showing up as who you are. It’s on the other end of genuine belonging, the kind that doesn’t require you to pretend that you’re doing fine, when you aren’t. The kind that doesn’t require of you, but that instead asks what you need of it. 

I am the furthest thing from perfect. I have no filter and expect that just because I know how to vocalize my feelings concisely that it will somehow make it easier for another party, maybe one who isn’t used to feelings being expressed, to internalize and react to them. It won’t. We both have learning curves to adjust to. 

Day in and day out I am pouring into a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. She understands how much of her happiness lives within her and is not anchored to anyone or anything else. But she also knows that there are things she’ll never be able to learn about herself alone. Sometimes it takes a mirror being held up to you by someone you love and trust for you to realize all the ways you’re still in the middle and all the ways you can keep on growing. 

“How’s the hiding going?” 

If asked, I would have answered, “Not well, so I think I’m going to stop. Working my way to a full life with a hard pass on hiding.”