The Choice to Show Up

I once had a co-worker. She said she was a writer. Writing was so important to her, she said, that she did not show it to anyone. She was protecting her cherished treasure.

Which is her right. But if her writing is anything like my music, I mourn for her writing. There is always beauty and power in any arts we create, whatever it is that we pour ourselves into. Even if it’s clumsy and imperfect and immature.

Sharing is a risk. I learned that not everybody likes my music. Even those who like me as a person, I can’t expect them to like my music. But without sharing it, that beauty and power will stay locked within the creator forever.

Actually, everyone is an artist of sorts. You know the art you’re creating? Your life! You! You have the beauty and power to touch other souls. But sharing yourself is a risk. We’ve all experienced the pain of interactions gone awry. It can be traumatizing.

But the alternative? You can keep you tucked away, safe and hidden. And if you get lonely, you may reach out, but not with the real you. You try to cater to what others say they want. You make some connections that way, but you will feel lonely, unsupported, unloved. You wonder why human relationships are so unfulfilling.

Sharing yourself is a risk. Showing who you really are is scary. If unkind reactions come back, the bruise may feel unbearable. But it is the only chance that you will make real connections. Hiding is a reliable formula for the dull desperation of isolation. Showing up is a high risk/high reward pursuit. If you want real connections, there doesn’t appear to be any other choice.

Even though rejections sting, I keep writing songs and showing them. And I am retiring my friendly “services” and replacing it with opportunities to see the real me. Whether I mean anything to you or not, I can’t control. I just keep showing up, and whatever connections come my way, I graciously receive.

You have the same choice. What will you do?