Who would I be without the filters, without the touch ups, the holding of my breath, the sucking it in, and steadying the camera angle correctly?
What if I could forego the make up, the smile, the perfect look, the matching outfit, the air brushed face and the beauty app on my phone before posting another selfie on Facebook?
What if all the words in my mind could be spoken without fear of frightening someone away?
What if there was a guarantee I would never be abandoned by revealing myself?
What if I could show someone the holes in my heart without worry that they would run from the ugliness?
What if I could lay all of my scars at the feet of whom I love and trust, revealing the dark parts of my soul?
I present a fake and packaged image for others to see of me, a version of myself created only in my mind.
Because I am terrified.
I keep myself hidden underneath the debris, afraid that if anyone catches a glimpse of my authentic self, I will not be loved. I will be left alone in the dark.
Because I have been hurt, left with wounds that have cut into my core so deeply, I may never recover.
I have bravely taken the leap to reveal my private, hidden places and I was discarded, unworthy and bloodied. I was broken and burned and left with a gaping, empty hole, placed there by someone who professed to love me.
So I close myself down. I ignore the intensity of my feelings, bury them inside an imaginary cocoon of safety and security.
I am frozen with fear that if I expose myself raw, I will be rejected again. I am tired of the pain.
And yet, that quiet and hidden part of me still wonders—what if I take the leap again?
What if I jump?
Somehow, I know if I could let the layers of my heart unfold for someone else to peel back, to open and reveal for their spirit to meet mine, that I might crash again. But, maybe, just maybe—that’s what I need?
Maybe I long to have my internal prison unlocked for healing to find its way into the shattered, messy parts?
Maybe that healing is within the blood and sweat and tears? Maybe it is about the anxious hellos and the gut wrenching goodbyes? Maybe it will be discovered in the wanting, the desire, and the endless meeting of f*cked up, creative minds and the tearful, broken hearts?
Maybe it is all about the ecstatic highs and the crashing lows? Maybe it is about the quiet moments, the meeting of minds, the connection, and the beauty in another person’s eyes, matching their naked passion with my own.
Maybe it is about the unguarded love that comes with the suffering I have been so reluctant to risk again? For how can I truly be known without anyone meeting my despair or holding my sorrow with their own?
I am afraid of falling. For the ending might not turn out the way I desire.
Should I hope for a happy ending? Is that even what I truly want? For the prince and princess and the happily ever after does not exist as the fairy tales promise.
So, is it really about the fictional photo-shopped picture, the movie star image, the butterfly beginnings, and the tidy endings?
No, it’s about the glorious middle parts, the faint light within the darkness, and every in-between moment of passing bliss.
It is found within the story. My story.
Author: Stephanie Parry
Apprentice Editor: Keeley Milne / Editor: Renee Jahnke