What has shifted for me since July, when I first began this blog, is that I am showing myself. Even to my own ears that sounds strange. I am a performer. I have been on stage since I was 16, even earlier if you count my kindergarten tap dance performance with my boyfriend Timmy Silkman. I have always wanted desperately to be seen, to be on stage. When I was 8, I did a fervent dance and song rendition of 16 tons, (I like Frost Reimer’s cover) for my opaque, square German relatives in Minnesota. It was my first piece of choreography. It was not only not well received, it wasn’t received at all.
Someone recently sent me a link to Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability. It is a beautiful meditation on compassion, courage, connection and authenticity. She says that vulnerability means letting go of who you thought you should be in order to be who you are. That the key to being who we are is to fully embrace our vulnerability. She applies that standard to us as individuals as well as to governments and corporations.
As a performer, I am always in disguise. I am costumed, I wear a mask, I am in drag. I control the lights, the camera, the action. That is why I chose this picture today. My daughter caught me unawares at her sister’s graduation from high school. I like that I am showing the lattice of lines around my eyes, the little tension around the mouth. I like who I see in this picture. I would like to know her.
I am coming out of hiding. Every day that I show up here, spend time shaping these posts, is a day that I am opening more and more to who I am. For years, I had such a high level of paranoia that I did not want people to know what I was doing artistically. Ultimately, that did not work well for me. Hiding from others meant also hiding from myself. Now I am choosing to follow this prescription from Annie Dillard in The Writing Life:
One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now . . . Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.