Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Because, honestly


It was 2001, and I was in the 5th Grade. We had this field trip planned where we'd pretend to be adults and pretend to have a job for a day. We spent weeks preparing for it. We learned how to write checks, made logos for our businesses, created products to sell, and even jingle ads for the "radio station".
The day the class picked out their jobs, I was sick. And there were only a few left when I got back: Post office manager or server at the snack bar. I played it safe and chose the snack bar. My teacher then told me she had put aside the manager job for me, and that I'd make a good leader.
On the day of the field trip, I came in not as a snack bar server, but as an 11 year-old post office manager.
I cried in the first half hour.

I remember that day so clearly. I remember how overwhelming it felt that morning, how I feared messing up and how I didn't want to be wrong.
I think it was an important day for me.
Besides learning how to write a check, I learned something greater - I learned that it's okay to do something you don't know how and that it's worth the risk. I learned that it's okay to lead and cry, too. And it's okay to make mistakes.
It's okay to be wrong.
I didn't realize how much that day would mean to me years later.

I think I've always wanted to lead. I've always wanted to be heard, but I feared honesty like the plague. It's weird when I think about it now.
There was something about being honest that made me so anxious, the way it was straight to the point and exactly what I felt or thought, the way someone else would look back at me and how it required a response from them. It was terrifying to me.
Somewhere inside of me, I was ashamed of vulnerability.
I was ashamed of being wrong.
Somewhere inside of me, I was being told to be ashamed of my honesty before I even expressed it.

When you begin to believe it is embarrassing - or uncool - to be honest, to be human and messy,
you become trapped.
And I was trapped.
Within myself.
By myself.

And the only way I could be freed was to do the very thing that I feared: tell you how I feel.

So, this blog became.
So, making music became.
So, the Because, Honestly series became.
These simple, yet thought-filled and heart-wrenching (at least for me) drawings became my way of breaking my self-made trap.
They became my way of saying I didn't want to be Eve anymore,
I wasn't embarrassed of my nakedness. I wanted to be vulnerable.
I wanted to say the things we all felt but didn't say enough.
I wanted to say what was on my mind, but also say "it's okay to feel it and say it".
I wanted to put "I" and "you" in the same phrase and leave it that way.
I didn't want to go around in circles until you had guessed what it is that I was trying to say, like I had done so many times before.
I wanted to look you straight in the eye without closing mine.
I wanted to let you know I had a messy heart, too.
This series was going to be my way of being a leader, of making an impact.
It was going to be my way of being loud with silence.
It was going to be my way of being powerful.

You see, I think I understand now.
That voice,
the one telling me to be ashamed -
it was just afraid.
Afraid of what I'd become,
of what I'd do when I realize
just how powerful it is
to be vulnerable,
to be honest.

Well, voice, I've realized it.