I'm not writing much these days, or rather, not writing to share, partially because I don't have time, partially because most of my attention, when I do sit down to write anything, is focused on producing content and growing our business, but mostly, I've been afraid to be vulnerable any longer - online or in my daily life. What started with a series of seemingly small remarks became what felt like larger rejections - unanswered texts and calls from friends and family, or dismissals of the things on my heart, the truest things. If I was struggling or sad or stressed or scared, I was told to cheer up/buck up, or that there was no way to relate, because life on the other end of the conversation was perfect and rosy and not a care in the world. I was once dismissed altogether, changing the nature of the relationship entirely in one fell swoop, because I wasn't just sharing the happy and the perfect to protect the other person from having to feel anything but supreme, and supreme they must be.
And then as this wore on, I began to shrink. It was slow at first, and I didn't notice it right away. I would try to write a caption or post, and would delete everything I wrote - leaving nothing or a one-liner, glossing over, vagueness being easier than honesty. A poorly worded, barely-there shell of a sentence, which left me feeling anything but like myself and most certainly not the catharsis I needed. More so, the connection - that raw, true, human connection I so desperately crave (because I'm human, and so are you) was gone. In my lack of honesty and vulnerability with others, I began to lose that honesty and vulnerability with myself.
A dangerous place to be, for if we cannot be transparent with others, we surely cannot be with ourselves, to lose self-awareness leads to a quick unraveling of the very cloth you've worked so hard to weave together. Though the cloth is loose and imperfect in places, there are strands pulled taut, hardly flawless, but beautiful nonetheless. Apparent effort and years of overcoming, of years spent creating and writing and thinking and revising and fixing to be better, to work harder, to find passion and love. To be the person that moved on, and realize there was more to life than wallowing and pain, that actual love, not broken "love", was possible. In those places, the strands are near golden flax. You overcame! You changed, you grew, you got healthy and better and opened your heart!
My strands are unraveled and coarse at the ends, shriveled in places where I let others tug too hard, as if pulling me apart is the intent, breaking me to the point where I am left weak, those golden bits dulled and far down on the rows, as if somehow silencing me will leave them to shine instead, to be better, to be more noticed, as if the very act of tearing another person down truly elevates the tearer, that they've it all figured out now, for they've silenced me. They've ignored their own work, you see, to focus on tearing apart others', they want the golden strands without the pain and suffering of struggle and vulnerability! Their cloth must look perfect, perfect always. Not a strand out of place, not a loose thread. But they want those golden threads, those beautiful golden threads too! Maybe they can take them, slip them away, she's not looking now, take them, they're yours for the taking. You're better, you're stronger, you've won.
As cloth, if I am a cloth, the near-golden threads are surely lovely and shine the way they do in juxtaposition with the ones leading to it, the work of my bumbling fingers as I weave, oh, there's a loose thread here and a gap here, and they're there, I've moved past them on the loom now, because the weaving doesn't stop as the days don't stop and the world keeps spinning, and some days I weave quickly and it's adequate enough and other days, I give brief pause to look it all over and I see how far I've come, from the looseness of the beginning, the threadbare, the moments of vulnerability so painful, you can barely weave and there are sagging holes where you can't keep it all together, and then look! The tug there, it's strong and the cloth is tight and intact, and then perhaps it isn't, but there - look throughout, and look at the shine, they're closer together now than they were - stripes and layers of warmth and gilt, you're growing older and wiser and it's beautiful, together, the lot of it.
The moments where I shine aren't daily, they come after long stretches of mundane, mindless stitching mixed with the harder days, the ones where my fingers are feeling weak and broken, but I keep on moving them, the days when I'm tired, and I keep on moving, the days where I want to hide and shut out the world, and I swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand and rise and walk out the front door anyway. When I look over the course of my life, I can see where it would be easy for those on the outside to call me weak, yet they don't see the whole, they only see pieces, the pieces they influenced, the places where I was hurting and shared my heart and my work and my imperfection, and they saw the gaping holes in the cloth and rolled their eyes, never once glancing back at their own threads, never pausing long enough to see that while perhaps tidy, they weren't golden nor broken, just quickly woven without care or note, for they were too busy keeping up appearances to grow, too busy taking from others.