Yesterday, when I saw the incredible sunrise, the phrase "into the light" went through my head. I loved the sound of the words, rolling them around in my mind, and realized how true they are for how I feel at this moment. I have walked into the light, with no more hiding in the shadows, and living fully as myself is a freeing experience.
When we try to be someone that we are not in order to please others or avoid conflict, we pay a high personal price. I was willing to pay that price for far too long, cheating myself out of living authentically and knowing who I really am. It takes confidence to live life in all of your individuality, and I didn't possess that confidence for most of my life.
Deciding to go for my dream to be a professional writer has built up that confidence over the last two years, and taken me places I hadn't dreamed I could go. I have burrowed deep inside of myself, looked at many of the places which were dark and frightening, and slowly walked through them. The pain at times was terrible, and overwhelming, but when I got to the other side of each particular issue, I walked out into the light.
Hiding is easier and safer, but every so often you go through a crisis within yourself, and unless you deal with the problem, it comes back again and again. I was tired of living that way, putting out fires that were caused in the first place by my refusal to stand up for who I am and what I believe, and when I faced down my fears and crept out of the shadows, I saw how much easier it is to live in the light.
Now I am the same with every group of people. I don't bend myself to fit the group I'm in the way I used to. Now I am me, with my strengths, failures, fears and dreams in every situation. Others have to choose whether to accept me or reject me, but it won't change who I am. The potential to be hurt is much greater when you live in the light, because the light exposes you to the world, but I was hurting myself much worse by pretending for all of those years.
This process doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lifetime to fully grow into who we are, and we have the option of changing at any given moment. I wish I would have started earlier, but you can begin moving into the light at any time. I started small, by expressing an opinion which I knew would be unpopular with someone, and standing up to the consequences. When I discovered that the world didn't cave in around me, I tried it again, and again, until I eventually understood how I really felt about any given topic, and built the confidence to express that opinion in any group or setting.
For me, that was the key to coming into the light. I did it over and over, and wrote my opinions without fear of reprisal (that's not entirely accurate, as I did fear the outcome, but I did it anyway) and one day, I realized that I wasn't hiding who I am any longer. For me, there will never be another way to live. I've hidden my true self in the shadows, and now I've brought my true self into the light for all to see, and I won't ever go back.
If you have a minute, have a read of this story in the Rocky View Weekly paper today. It's about my writing dream, and the All-Day Write-In scheduled for February 12th. It's all part of naming myself as a writer, and laying claim to my dream in a public way, and bringing that part of who I am fully into the light.