Out of Hiding?: A Coffee and Conversation Post

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own.

A week or so ago, I blogged about a question that’s been whirling around in my mind for months, maybe a lot longer…why do I hide when I’ve accomplished something that holds deep personal meaning. Why do I tuck that moment of glory away, rather than sharing it?

I explored a few answers – mostly surface things. And I proactively decided to stand up, at least a little, and lay claim to what I’ve done – not so much for myself, but to honor those who helped me to do it, and to stand for messages and purposes in which I deeply believe.

But, even while I was doing this, I was doing it – well, a little sideways, I guess. Looking at it peripherally, rather than directly. Staying toward the top, rather than delving the deeps, which is more my nature.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…sometimes, seeing the outer shape of something, or even just the shadow it casts when I shine a light on it, is necessary before I can even start to plumb its depths.

It was scary, doing even that much. Saying, in even that convoluted a way, “Look at me. I do things, and sometimes they’re so damned brave and awesome that I scare myself. I can be brilliant, amazing, strong, and naked before you; I can show you this tiny little glimpse of my vulnerable places.” is a big, Big Deal for me.

Because, once I’ve shown you me – even fifteen-years-ago me, with strategic digital foliage acting as a fig leave of sorts, a shield still to cover my secret places (not just nipples and vulva, but the deeps I’m not yet ready to delve myself, let alone expose to you) – well, there’s no “un-showing”.

If you’ve seen me, that way, it’s now a part of your experience of me. You’ll never again see me totally clothed in my fabric suits of armor or my skin or my words.

You know me better than that, and there’s no hiding place….

And that’s A Big, Scary Deal…

I’ve been living with that, ever since. I know I’ve changed something, given something to the world, to you, and to myself that I can’t take back. There’s no Do-Overs, here. It’s Out There, in the world, even if I have moments when I might rather it wasn’t, that I was still digging my big toe in the dirt and “aww-shucksing” my way out of taking or sharing credit for my sparks of incandescence….

But, when I take a deep breath, I see that something’s happening. It’s a Big Deal, too, this something.

And it isn’t all mine – because what happens when you give something away, offer it up to the world at large, is that people can use it however they want to, however it moves them. I can’t control that, and I don’t want to…

It started with comments. Friends of long standing and more recent, acquaintances, and even a stranger or two, dropped me a line to say they were touched or moved, and sometimes even to share their own experiences. There’s something deeply gratifying in that, in knowing that, from my own home and my own soul, I was able to reach out, share, and connect in a way that was relatable to others…

And then something wonderful happened. Someone who matters deeply to me took that post, and made it her own, blending with other ideas to create something new, something that’s hers, and not mine. It inspired her to grow and shift and look at her own life a little differently, and, by doing that, she began to find new truths and uses for them.

That’s always a little thrill for me, and, if I write these posts to work through my own emotions and life, I share them for this – for the alchemy of how what I experience, think, and feel can affect someone else, be a part of their self-examination, their life. It’s even better when it’s someone who is dear to me.

And better still when that loved one shares a bit of that with me…

And maybe the best when that growth circles back, and catches me up again, and I find myself growing more and more deeply as a result of it.

Now, with the interaction of others, I’m starting to go deeper, understand a little better what I offer, to myself and my beloveds, to my readers, and those I encounter by chance. How none of this could have happened, in this way, if I hadn’t first opened, and shared.

Does this mean that I’m going to share all my accomplishments easily and fully, from now on? Well, probably not – growth is an uneven and often unpredictable process, and everything I achieve isn’t meant to be shared that way. But it does mean that I see more benefit to sharing, now, see more clearly how it stretches and shapes not only my life, but others’, as well.

How about you? Are there things you’ve dared to share that have fed deeper growth, for you and others? Things you’ve considered sharing, but haven’t yet felt ready? I’d love to hear your input; I’ll get you a fresh beverage and a tasty virtual treat of your choice; let’s chat!




  1. While I was very open and detailed about my religious journey on my old Angelfire site, I’ve chosen not to go into any real detail on my current blog. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my family and religious background, just that I don’t want any of my Orthodox friends to potentially read such a post and suddenly doubt my identity or sincerity.

    I felt similar misgiving about outing myself as an Aspie on my blog, but I finally did it awhile ago, and mention it every so often. I’m not ashamed of it, and none of my readers have called me damaged, broken, imperfect, soulless, less than, or any of the other ableist things often said about those of us on the spectrum. Some of my readers even said they had no idea I’m an Aspie. I also outed myself last year on Facebook, and got nothing but approval there as well.

    • I feel that all of these parts of us are our own- so what we choose to reveal, or hold to ourselves, is, as Spock once said, “a deeply personal thing”. There are pieces of my life I shared on my original blog, The Unfettered Life, that aren’t focuses here. I started that blog weeks after Elijah died, and that’s all those first few posts were or could be about.

      Nearly twelve years later, I have a very different life. The grief is always there, but I’ve made peace (mostly, anyway) with that. I still write about it, but it’s not my focus, anymore.

      I’m glad that you and other neurologically different folks are claiming the whole of your identity in a way that feels comfortable. I think it helps to deconstruct the stereotypes that can come with labels, and shows that, underneath, we all need the same human things- security, love, acceptance, nurturing, and challenge.

      In a perfect world, we’d all be who we are, and create a society that had ample room for us all. I think we’re getting there…I hope we are.

  2. You put all this so eloquently. It is scary to share, but I really like the feedback loop you cam get. Particularly with writing, I don’t think I would have been written the same things if it weren’t from feedback feeding back into the creative process. You seem to have a much better way of expressing this, but hopefully you get the gist. And thanks so much for the beta offer. I’m still asking myself if this is a story I’m ready yet to share. 🙂

    • I get the gist just fine. =)

      It’s one of the biggest reasons I share what I write these days (I haven’t, always, and I’ve got stacks of notebooks to prove it).

      Thanks for coming by and sharing YOUR feedback!

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