What you say when you're not afraid
Today I was really honest with a friend of mine about a few things happening in my life. I have not traditionally been, as some know, the picture of vulnerability. Unless I know you really well, being honest about how I really feel is really hard... Really.
A few years ago, I was talking to my cousin Will. He asked if I was seeing anyone - to which I scoffed, “Of course i’m not seeing anyone. I’m a fucking train wreck. No one wants to date a train wreck!” To which he wisely responded: "Oh, Erin. We’re all train wrecks.” I was shocked that he was able to put me in my place so quickly, yet so graciously. I realized that what I had been telling myself for years was “No one will like you if you don't have your shit together.” Then, shit hit the fan. My brother (and best friend) died, I moved across the country, and started a new job all in one excruciating summer. And frankly, I didn’t have a choice anymore. My life’s shit was everywhere whether I wanted it to be or not.
What those experiences continue to teach me is that our emotional train wrecks can actually be horribly and terribly beautiful. It means we are human. Not perfect. That we feel and that we are capable of feeling deeply. At the time they suuuuuuuck more than anything you can ever ever imagine. But feeling at that deep level seems... somehow... a beautiful thing.
It is not an accident that we connect deeply with people who we are able to share our whole lives with… not just the pretty parts. While sometimes excruciating, to deprive ourselves from that authentic connection with the world around us, is perhaps the biggest crime we can commit.
Today I told a friend how I felt. It was brave because it gave them the chance to see inside. I mean deep inside. Into the really squishy part. I allowed them to connect with me and my experiences in a way that was real and true. And let’s be honest, real isn’t always easy. Today, being brave meant letting someone catch a glimpse of what my heart has to say when it is not afraid.