For me, exposure has been an eight part, four letter word. (Get it? “Eight part” because exposure actually has 8 letters in it, and “four letter” because it’s been a dirty word.) Maybe I have grounds to call it a double four letter word, I’m not sure. In any case, the concept, for me, is U.G.L.Y. Is this something you can relate to?
We all have our reasons, and I’m sure that every last reason, for everyone reading this post is valid, and in many cases, brought some degree of devastation with it. Mine certainly did. In a previous post titled In All Things, I wrote about having had an emotional snap, at the age of nine, that was so profound, it had a nearly permanent impact on my physical vision. What I did not talk about was its impact on my behavior after the fact.
That snap was accompanied by the loss of every ounce of hope I had of ever being considered as acceptable, and left behind a badly brittled psyche. I knew it…even though I was only a child. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I could not do “the people thing” any more out of fear of losing the precious little bit of “me” that was left on my emotional motherboard. It drove me into hiding. Over time, I hid alone in my bedroom more and more, door closed, laying in bed imagining a life in which I was safe…a life where I had total control of everything that happened, and where I was everything I wanted to be.
I spent hours and hours in my head, every day after school, before I would go to sleep at night, and almost all day on Saturdays…imagining a life, rather than living one. I did this for the rest of my childhood, all of my teen years and well into my adulthood. I had friends, especially in high school, but the time in my mind was my retreat…the place where I could be “me” and where I could let out the sadness, process information and just breathe.
God has brought me a million miles since those days. Exposure is still an issue, and even with all I already know related to what I do and why I do it, I still walk around in an over-sized body for the purpose of avoiding it. It angers me when others try to force me the rest of the way out of hiding, because they have no clue of the cost. I know I’m not alone is this. I know some of you struggle in the same way…with the same things…and probably get just as frustrated with other people’s tendencies to trivialize.
That said, in staying hidden, we are letting the past, the pain, and the perpetrator win. How long are we willing to do that? God wants to bring us the rest of the way out. He’s willing to do whatever it takes… so what are we waiting for??? When will we put closure on our fear of exposure?
For my part, I’ve started doing things that scare me a bit. Eleanor Roosevelt was quoted as saying “Do one thing that scares you everyday.” I’m not sure I get to it every single day, but I bet I’m getting there consistently 3 or 4 days out of 7. In the past 6 months, I’ve walked alone in the dark, as much as 2-3 miles at a pop… more times than I can remember, I’ve done a very spur of the moment television interview and while on camera, spoke very plainly on a subject that has been largely difficult to address, I’ve been uncharacteristically open and honest with a new, male friend (which paid dividends), and I’ve kicked up the offerings on this blog several notches. There are things that you can do also.
Day by day, step by step, and, at times, moment by moment…the remaining fear of exposure is finding its way to closure in my life, and of course, God has directed my steps and held my hand every moment…as He will for you. It doesn’t happen easily, and the road to victory, at times, can be tough to figure out but, with God’s help, you and I can do it.
Important Note: God gave you common sense for a reason. Use it. Avoid things that could be dangerous.
I walked in the dark because I had no car, had things to do, and no ride was available. I’m also more than healthy enough to do it. I live in a reasonably safe place, I carried a lit flashlight so I could both see and be seen, and made a point to be finished with any walking by 7p.m. I also did much of the walking where there was a lot of activity…traffic, etc… If it is not safe to walk in the dark where you live, PLEASE DON’T DO IT! There are plenty of others tools in the “face your fears” box that will get you where you need to go.
Now…are you ready? What can you do to bring closure to your fear of exposure?
I’m excited for you!
God bless, and as always, thanks for reading!