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What Would Happen?

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Jonathan asked me, "What do you think would happen if you stopped hiding?"

The question caught me off-guard a bit, but only a bit. I know I've been hiding. I've been shrinking in upon myself for a number of years now, finding expanding, being open, and being exposed to be more and more and more difficult. You can even see when I started folding in upon myself.

It isn't a good way to live. I was going to say, "it is a horrible way to live," but I can think of many worse ways to live. However, being afraid definitely isn't a good one.

There's a Woman On The Internetâ„¢ who is very vocal about her hatred and fear of men. She doesn't say she hates them in so many words, but the cumulative of her words are effectively "the tech work place is so horrible, I hate everything in it, the men are the reason it is horrible, I fear they will harm me, it all needs to burn down." I don't understand how she can sustain the hate. I think she looks years older than she is, so perhaps her accelerated aging is the physical manifestation of her hatred and anger.

This is not I. Instead, I've rather gone the opposite direction when things became bad. I kept my mouth shut. I hid. I ran away. I left. I took my ball of shame, pulled in upon myself, and became smaller. I lost friends. I lost confidence. I lost opportunities.

I lost me.

"What do you think would happen if you stopped hiding?" he asked me. He wasn't being mean. I don't know if he really wants to know the answer.

I know I do.

What would happen if I stopped hiding?

I believe I'll be happier. The weight of shame is a crippling load.

I believe I'll have a more meaningful life. Running towards what I love instead of away from what I fear gives me a chance to weather the rough parts with a meaning, a worthy goal in this life.

I believe I'll be stronger. Accepting that every decision, even the small ones, involves loss is the only way to move forward.

I believe I'll be less stressed. Fear and shame and loss and pain are all part of life. Hiding from them makes them grow. Addressing and accepting them will reduce my distress.

I believe I'll be able to live-out-loud again. I miss me.

What would happen if I stopped hiding?

I'd be me again.

I'd like to be me again.