I know why I don’t show myself.
My expectation is that I am too much for the room and nobody will get the joke, as in “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh,” as Voltaire put it.
This is my lifemyth and it contains truth. My soundly reasoned explanation of it, laced with huge lashings of anecdotes from my experience easily convinces people of its veracity. They feel my intensity, my “too person” nature (2010), my overwhelming bits (1998), my sharp vision and voice enough that they believe what I came to believe that I am just too much for the room so nobody would get the joke.
Since most of the people who are attracted to my work also feel the same kind of isolation, of difference, of loneliness, they are not a hard group to convince. We are the ones who didn’t learn to pack away our own queerness to fit in, or if we did, we felt the cost of that attenuation on our skin.
In an information economy, attention is the ultimate currency. In today’s world we can barely keep up with our own stimuli let alone find impetus and mindshare to engage someone else’s depths. The biggest burden I carry (2006) is holding open space for others to change around me while they want to freeze me into stereotype, needing to enter their world to cut through noise while they are unable to enter mine.
Like any lifemyth, though, the belief that I am too much for the room contains both truth and the seeds of my own destruction.
If I don’t emerge I never open the space for divine surprise in my life, that moment of flash when pretense drops away and deep connections are revealed. Hearts open in that moment, touching each other in nourishing and profound ways.
How can you be in the right place at the right time if you are never anywhere at all?
I know why I have learned to attenuate, to play small, to be appropriate, but unless I reveal myself how can joyous & touching revelation ever happen? I know why I expect people to respond to my externals and not see who I reveal myself to be, but without showing my heart, how can it ever be embraced?
Text is lovely, but my creator in the sky gave me a much wider bandwidth to use for connection than just my dried voice. My humour, my eyes, my wit, my compassion all get desiccated when left as text, where nobody can see any of my choices other than the words I leave behind.
It feels, however, like an either/or conundrum, either people responding to my presence or people engaging my inner life. Most people haven’t had to plumb their own depths in the way that I have, so going deep is foreign to them; they don’t have the chops to dive down without quickly getting the bends.
I am not ashamed of my depth. In fact, it is the only thing that let me survive a challenging life.
Finding affirmation, though, for the process of mature revelation, of going deep and then surfacing again, of returning the gift (2006) in a way that gets us the touch we need, is very hard.
Many want to tell us how to package, to simplify, to fit into others expectations, and many want support on their journey through their own personal hell (1996), but very few know how to not fear depth while also trusting exposure. They want to avoid areas they fear rather than moving beyond their own feelings to the needs and feelings of another.
The revelation I need is the affirmation that my lifemyth — too hip for the room — is not always true, not always a barrier to the kind of human connection that I need. It has to be that revealing myself can lead to the revelation that others will see, hear and value me for who I am rather than for what I can do for them right now.
Being surfaced or reduced to canned expectations has always been hard for me. Probably the most regular effect of fundamentalism is engaging the world with a preexisting model of how the world is that you use to evaluate the evidence you see. Things which challenge that model end up getting thrown away, dismissed as fraudulent or aberrant, marked as noise that needs to be silenced, erased.
How do I stand visible in the world while people try to fit me into their expectations rather than allowing their assumptions to be challenged by my very presence? Who the hell has the time, energy and skills to measure people again, opening their mind and heart to grow into deeper understanding & compassion?
If I don’t show myself I don’t get the divine surprise I so desperately need, but if I do show myself I get the kind of reductive erasure that has always caused me deep pain.
I so much want to be part of something bigger than myself, but I am no longer able to deny my own self to serve others. My years of æsthetic denial and sacrifice cost me very dearly and I no longer have the will or the reserves to do that anymore.
Revelation about revelation is hard to come by in a world where being revealed feels unsafe, just something that trolls can use to beat us down unless we carefully sanitize what we reveal, packaging it so it is nice, expected and palatable to an audience who only wants affirmation of what they already believe.
Living in the question, well, that still feels too hip for the room, still feels like jokes that are too revelatory for people to get. God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh, and when I speak of my relationship with her, well, things get cold fast.
I know why I don’t show myself. My lifemyth is true.
I also know why not showing myself cuts me off from the divine surprises I so need. Lifemyths, well, they will do that to you.