Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cover Ups

I have cousins in Tallahassee whom I rarely see anymore. Funny how that happens. Close as children, we've grown apart as life happens and divides us. These three--siblings--were probably the first latch-key children I had ever known personally. The oldest, Kim, although a very mature 12 year old, was asked to watch over her 7 and 8 year old brothers most afternoons. Left to their own devices and creative play, the three of them decided, one afternoon, to build a small fire in their front yard. (Are you already thinking, "Bad idea"?) Yes, you're right. Their fun little experiment set the whole lawn on fire. It burned up the entire front yard. I've lost the bit about the fire department, if there even was one. Nobody was hurt, but my three cousins knew they would be in big huge horrible trouble with their parents when they got home. So what did they do? Kim said, "We just took every single blanket and sheet off of every bed in the house and we completely covered up the front yard. We hid the burnt yard by making a patch-work quilt of sorts, that covered up the evidence." And, then she said they just casually sat there whistling and reading magazines with the earnest hope that neither parent would notice the scorched front yard. Completely covered up with blankets. All over the front yard. No red flags there. No dead-give aways. Everything copacetic. All things normal. Who would ever even know?
Gosh, I am thinking how often we try to cover up stuff in our own lives. We cover up our bodies, our feelings, or dreams, our fears, our doubts. Instead of standing there in full view right on top of our own scorched earth, we, too, bring in blankets to camouflage what it is that is really going on in our lives. Maybe we rationalize it by telling ourselves that nobody really and truly wants to know. Maybe we're embarrassed that we are not living up to some standard that we've condemned ourselves to meet. What is it that we don't want others to know about us?
My friend, Carol, tells her story about shopping at Lane Bryant. (For you skinny people, that's a store that sells clothes for fuller figured women. Yes, sizes do go above size 8--and they're not called "Omar the Tentmaker" stuff, BTW.) Carol told me that, while shopping there, if she sees co-worker or neighbor, she says she hides behind the clothes rack. When asked why she hides, Carol set me straight, "Why, obviously I don't want anybody to know I'm fat." I laughed. You are laughing. Pretty obvious, right? But hang on.
I bet we've all got junk like that---stuff we think we're hiding, covering up, pretending is not part of us---but everybody seems to know. No sh**, Sherlock!
Some of us are straddling blankets on burnt grass hoping that nobody calls us out. We attempt to hide things about ourselves that secretly shame us. It's requires relentless effort. But,here's what I know: Every aspect of ourselves that we've denied, every thought and feeling that we've told ourselves is unacceptable and wrong, eventually shows up in our lives--so we can look at them. So we can become whole. So we can love ourselves---and in turn love others. (Notice I have not even told you yet that this is what I've learned from Taylor. But, this is what I've learned from Taylor. Accepting our weaknesses and our strengths makes us whole.)
I'm heading upstairs right now to put my blankets back on the beds where they belong. And, I'm going to stop by that closet that has my bathing suit cover up in it. I'm going to take that cover up out in the front yard and set it on fire.
Join me. Uncover yourself.
Come out from behind that rack.
Will you stand in the light with me?