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Hiding Is Exhausting
A mixed bag of contemplations about staying true to ourselves and our visions
Hiding is exhausting. Pretending, minimizing experiences, constantly editing ourselves, performing, and surviving, take a toll. These are all examples of a larger reality we've all learned to live with, hiding our whole selves from others.
We've been taught to always present our best sides, our highlight reel, and conceal the rest. The fear of not being presentable, not being enough, and not finding acceptance or belonging drives us to put on this facade.
But the act of hiding is draining. Constantly wearing a mask weighs us down. It disconnects us from our true emotions and from genuine connections. We long for authenticity, yet we hold ourselves back, afraid of judgment and rejection.
We're starting to realize this shared experience as a collective. We recognize the deep conditioning that has shaped our behavior. Showing our true selves has the incredible power to unlock the floodgates of creativity, forge deep connections, and create a sense of belonging that nurtures our souls. Embracing authenticity paves the way for a beautiful journey of self-expression and meaningful human connections.
For the longest time, I've learned to live my life behind the screens. As a sensitive person shaped by experiences of abandonment, I've created a safe space for myself. That period in my life, perfectly safe and necessary, has facilitated healing, growth, and a foundation for more profound creativity and connection with the elusive, otherworldly, and spiritual realms of existence. However, now, two years later, after becoming a mother, I find myself in a different season—a life that is more clear, grounded, and ordinary, yet more deeply embodied. I've let go of the constant search for something extraordinary and beyond my grasp. I'm focused on what's here, available, alive, breathing, and fully engaged with me.
I'm writing to remind you of the inherent importance of our seasons, both the enchanting and the challenging. It's a gentle nudge to embrace each moment with a sense of non-attachment because every fleeting instant holds significance.
I think about the ideas we create about people, especially online, ideas that keep us distant from one another. It's fascinating how we tend to assume that individuals with a substantial online following are automatically affluent, accomplished, or leading more fulfilling lives than our own.
I think about how we often make assumptions about someone's personality solely based on their curated online image, neglecting the complexities of their lives. How easily do we fall into the trap of judging someone's worth while overlooking the nuances and realities beneath the surface?
And I think about the depth of our shared yearning, the unspoken longing that resides within each of us—to be seen, truly seen, for who we really are. Because all the judgment we hold against others is our inner voice longing for love. We all yearn to be seen and acknowledged in the fullness of our being, embracing our ever-evolving, multifaceted nature. We long to be free from judgment, liberated from confining labels and comparisons to others. What we truly desire is to be celebrated and accepted for our unique essence––one that we're still growing into.
And this judging of others, not wanting to be judged, and listening to external voices can so significantly affect our trajectory in life. If we don't know or don't learn how to listen to the intelligence of our bodies and our intuition, we can be led away from the magnificence of our own unique journeys in life.
I'll tell you this: I always knew deep down that I would create, have my own business, follow my own path, enjoy the freedom of managing my own time, and engage in creative pursuits. I needed to figure out how to make it happen. I lacked training, quit school, and disregarded outdated family expectations. But I was determined to live my life authentically, how I imagined it, no matter the difficulties I encountered along the way.
When I lived in Brazil, I discovered the art of Thai massage. Even before studying it, I would frequently massage my friends. I talked about it incessantly and made it clear to myself and others that I would study and work as a massage therapist, even though it seemed like mere thoughts in my head. And true to my word, when I returned to Toronto, I pursued Thai massage studies, worked in the field for two years, and landed the first job I applied for.
When I worked as a buyer for an independent baby store, I had the privilege of interacting with artists and creators of all kinds. During this period, I realized I wanted to be on the other side of the exchange. I desired to create, work for myself, and share my art. Despite feeling like an imposter and doubting my skills, one thing remained unwavering: I had an unshakeable belief that I would carve out my own path.
When I started teaching myself to draw, and now when I'm focusing on writing as my primary choice of art, my practice is gaining momentum. Although eight years later, I'm still navigating the twists and turns, figuring things out as I go. But one thing I've always known has come to fruition: I now possess the precious gifts I always envisioned – the freedom to create and live according to my own rhythms and schedule and, most importantly, the ability to be present with my son daily. All of this has been made possible by the difficult choices and decisions I made earlier in life: to be guided by my own internal compass even when I didn’t have the answers or the means.
I often wonder where I would be if I had heeded the advice of others. What if I had let my fears and doubts paralyze me? What if I had allowed others to define me or sought permission to be an artist / writer? I never waited for life to grant me things; instead, I wholeheartedly believed in the realities and paths that called out to me. And over time, I proved to myself that I could walk those chosen paths.
The key to finding my path was trusting in life's natural cycles and understanding my place within them. It's a simple yet profound realization: by engaging in dialogues with our bodies, we can live in alignment with their wisdom. Take a moment to sit down with a pen and journal, and ask yourself which cycle you are currently in and where your capacity stands. This reflective practice can offer valuable insights and guide you on your journey.
Deep within your heart resides the north star. The society has been structured to divert us from natural rhythms, sow doubt in our intuition, and convince us that abundance, connection, creativity, community, and health require constant struggle, effort, and competition.
P.S. - Authenticity is not about indiscriminately revealing every aspect of yourself for the sake of attention or societal pressure. It's about understanding your own capacity and discerning what feels truly meaningful to share. It's a delicate balance between protecting yourself and freeing yourself, at your own pace and in your own rhythm. Embracing authenticity means honoring your boundaries and sharing what aligns with your values, allowing yourself to be genuine without compromising your well-being.
In the realm of these contemplations that wanted to come through today, take what works and know that you're loved.
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