“In a way it feels foolish and selfish to be dissatisfied with my life because I have so much…for which the gratefulness overwhelms. But in the midst of the wealth of my life, I find that I am craving more. More connection. More love. More sincerity. More art. More nakedness. More life. More growth. In a way, I am actually desiring less. My cravings have a simplicity to them. I want to breathe. I want to exist in a new place…a place where I am stripped down. Where I shed manufactured adornment and my heart becomes exposed enough to wake up. My whole heart.”
I wrote those words six months ago. It was my birthday. And now it is today. This is me:
I don’t really know how to map the journey in words from that day I reflected in the mountains to this day. And if I did share every divine detail, I am not certain that anyone would even believe me. It has been a beautiful and chaotic whirlwind full of awakenings, serendipitous moments, dreams, real connection, harsh realities and vulnerability.
So anyway, about this portrait.
The words are drawn from the things I wrote on my birthday retreat and from what I wrote down during Holiday Council when asked, “How do I want to feel? What am I craving?” Then, a couple weeks ago, I sat down with some markers and wrote them all down.
Vulnerable is in the center because that word has become like a fire in my heart, dangerous yet able to ignite every other craving. Why I wrote down that I wanted to feel vulnerable is beyond me. I didn’t even grasp the fullness of what that meant and I didn’t remember writing it. But vulnerability decided to come knocking at the door of my heart whether I remembered inviting it or not. And I let it in. Ever since, I have been either wrestling with or embracing it.
I decided to collage these words with an image of myself and immediately knew I wanted the photo to be simple and stripped down.
No hair styles.
And I decided to only take three pictures. I didn’t need this to turn into some crazy photo shoot.
The exposure and contrast of the photos was created more by me with the camera than in editing because I wanted it that way.
I also wanted the expression to be simple and without too much of any one specific emotion.
After looking at the three shots, I almost took more because I was slightly uncomfortable with them.
But that was perfect because sharing these imperfect photos and these words and this collage and everything about it makes me feel vulnerable.
And that is what I want.
To be exposed enough to find my real heart.
To breathe in my own skin.
To be awake and authentic and alive.
Sincerely and wholeheartedly.
To draw from the opening pages of Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (read the book, watch the TED talks), which seemed to providentially find its way into my hands in January (which, by the way, I just today discovered that the book came out on my birthday last year and almost had a cow), I want to be in the arena of my own life. I want to move forward with courage and passion and whether I win or lose wont matter as much as the reality that I fought with my whole heart.
I have to admit that I am right now fighting the urge to completely rewrite this entire post. I feel like I’m saying too much or too little or not saying it eloquently enough or with enough humor. And that is why it needs to stay exactly as it is…
If I wait until I am “perfect” to share myself and my heart, I will wait forever. This is who I am and where I am right now. And it is beautiful.