Many of us learn pretty dang early to hide.
To hide our talents, our voices, our bodies, our opinions, our sexuality, our light (cue the hymn “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine” – oh wait, only kidding.)
Maybe it was your dad saying, “You’re too much, too loud, tone it down” (Love you dad).
Or your mom’s fear of your fierceness and smarts (because she knows how the world treats smart women) came out as, “You know, nobody marries a bossy woman. ”
Or that A-hole boy freshman year in high school who took the hat off your head, the hat you were feeling so Charlie’s Angels in—power for a 13-year-old-girl—and put it on your BFF’s head and said, “Now SHE looks good in a hat.”
Or maybe it was the first time you submitted a story or a film or a photo in a class and it bombed. Splat in front of the whole class.
Or maybe it was worse: way worse. Sexual violence. Abandonment. Being told you weren’t wanted. Abusive relationships.
The severity of our silencing varies and none of us are exempt from getting the message: be less than.
Tone it down.
Not safe to be you.
We learn to hide parts of ourselves and our talents for a very simple and very good reason: self-protection. Survival.
While there were and still are good reasons to hide, there is also a cost.
We need to reckon with that cost from time to time and ask if we’re willing to keep paying it.
To ask if the bargain we’re making is still a good one. Or to quote Ridley, a member at the Writer’s Oasis, “I realized that hiding doesn’t actually make me feel 100% safe, and I have to give up something important to feel even sort-of safe… Real safety doesn’t require me to give up important aspects of myself. Real safety *encourages me* to share those aspects.”
It’s not that hiding is bad or wrong—I schedule hiding into my life! I mean, sometimes showing up here weekly to share my ideas and opinions as well as teaching and coaching sends me to bed with popcorn and Netflix and nobody but me. And the dogs. So needed.
It’s the process of checking in with ourselves that matters. Then we can remember: hiding or not hiding is our choice. We are in charge.
- Do I want to pull into my turtle shell for a while or do I want to send that story out to Glimmer Train?
- Do I want to launch a new course or do I want to wait a month?
- Do I want to try dating again or do I need a break?
- Do I want to do more marketing for my book this week or do I need to work in the background this week?
We define exactly how we show up in the world. Not our stories, not our past, and certainly nobody else’s stories about us or our past.
This is what we’re diving into at the Writer’s Oasis this month—coming out of hiding. How do we do it? Do we want to? And why?
Here are some of the prompts we’re exploring in community that you might want to explore too:
- The ways and places I hide myself, my voice, and my creative radiance include…
- The ways hiding feels in my body…
- The signs that tell me I’m hiding…
- The current costs of me hiding include… (no shame, no blame, just curious observation)
Journal along with us in the mood of curiosity and safety. Or not! Your choice. Always.
And for you writers, I made an audio about how we hide from what we really want to say and how hiding can create a dishonesty and fuzziness, can obscure our insights and our ideas, AND dampen our ability to keep writing. We lose interest and get overwhelmed. Not because we have nothing to say, but because we’re unwilling to take a stand.
If that sounds like you, please enter your details below to enjoy this audio as my gift. We’ll send it straight to your inbox…