Some people say that I’m shallow, consumed by trivial things. Partly because I am one of the easiest people to shop for in the history of, like, ever. Ask me for gift ideas and I can give you a 5-page list – mostly of items that can be bought for $20 or less. Another reason would be the fact that I am a packrat. Things that have no value to anyone else are special to me. And then, too, I tend to chatter on mindlessly about anything and everything – but seldom about the deep stuff. I don’t open up easily. Very few people have ever bothered to look past my trivial exterior to see the soul beneath.
And yet, the pieces aren’t too hard to put together. I find pleasure in simple things because of my joyfully exuberant personality. I attach value to certain things because they belonged to someone I care about or because they are associated with a treasured memory. I ramble (almost incessantly) because it’s hard to talk about the things that I really care about. Triviality and a certain roughness in my demeanor serve as my armor, a protection against feeling too deeply. And when that doesn’t work, they do a fair job at playing levee and holding in a flood tide of emotions.
But this is not a healthy way to handle deep feelings. Enjoying trivial stuff is good, a natural extension of an abundantly alive soul. But building a wall between my emotions and the world around me – that’s not good. Deep emotions are a blessing, not something to be ashamed of. I admire people who wear their heart on their sleeve – that takes a special brand of courage. The more deeply we love, the more agonizing the pain when that love is betrayed or rejected. And yet, if we turn away from experiencing the good to avoid the bad, are we truly alive?
So this year, I am resolving to work on that. To strip away the tough façade I’ve built for myself and to learn what it means to be truly vulnerable. It’s a scary thought, you know? That others will see the real me, the girl behind the mask. This will no doubt be a process, however. It would be absurd to think that I could drop the mask overnight, but I’m sure enough going to try. Maybe you’d like to join me and be your real self? Be abundantly alive?