How can we risk it?
How can we show our soft underbelly in a world that is full of predators and serial killers and wife beaters and bullies? How can we risk being seen, when even those closest to us might decide one day to call it off, to walk off with a waitress, to ‘go out for cigarettes’ and never return?
There are plenty of reasons to build a fortress around yourself; and plenty more reasons to create an emotional bunker for your tenderness, surrounding it with landmines.
It’s terrifying to put it all out there.
It rubs you raw; at times, it skins you alive.
It’s excruciating to risk your heart — to tell a man you love him in your bones and soft tissue — and have the return message be a slow, brutal death, replete with blank eyes and something like, “I’m just not feeling it.”
However, we still have to risk love. We still have to find the chewy center of our vulnerability.
Yeah, it’s god awful to lose at love. To stand in front of a booing crowd. To look like an ass. To realize we’ve been stupid.
But what’s the alternative?
Do we calcify our hearts and sit in our rooms with the curtains drawn?
Do we miss all the best parts of life so we don’t get hurt?
Are we really such big babies that we cannot imagine getting back on our feet after we’ve been knocked down?
Life is messy. Life is beautiful. Life is excruciating. Life is hard.
Grow a pair. Thicken your skin.
Become willing. Become soft.
Become ugly and sweet and briny and sharp.
Try out all the tools in your toolbelt.
Don’t limit your life — don’t always be ‘on the verge’ — but never willing to arrive anywhere. Don’t miss your chance because you might slip and fall, or you might act like a fool, or you might love someone who doesn’t love you back.
That man I mentioned above? He told me once that he always walked away from what he truly wanted.
He was afraid. He was afraid to cross the chasm that might open his life up — that might make him wide, raw, and beautiful — inside and out.
And when he walked out, I felt like my legs had been chopped off.
But you know what?
I survived, even that.
And I survived the dude a few years later who wanted to scam me out of all my non-existent money.
And I survived the guys who met me through online dating sites and were clouded with disappointment when they realized I am a voluptuous woman, not a thin mint built like a ten year old boy. (Mind you, I didn’t post old photos or lie about how I looked or who I was.)
I survived. So will you.
I’ve learned that it is far better to be your true self, than to be what someone else expects.
I’ve learned I like this version of me. She’s curvy and hilarious and whip-smart and gifted. She’s kind; she’s a fabulous cook.
She’s a mess. She cries the ugly cry at the drop of a hat. She’s stubborn and sometimes selfish and sometimes a pain in the ass.
But her heart’s good. It’s made of seaglass and starfish. It recognizes true north.
And she’s open and willing to take a leap of faith.
Are you? Are you willing to risk your bland, safe, static life for one that is infinite and rich and true?
Ask yourself, why not?
© 2015 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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