What if being vulnerable and sharing your authentic self wasn’t met with judgment but embraced with open arms? It’s hard to move past our fear of humiliation, but when we do, we find freedom and connection. By bravely standing in your truth, you encourage others to stand in their truths. And as we share our authentic selves, we all start to become less alone.
Say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work. Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born, someone who won’t be born for 500 years.Charlie Kaufman
Several months before my book, BUOYANT, was published, I began to worry.
I had written pages and pages of deeply personal things. Embarrassing stories of my years of loss, barbed fears, and sadness-shame spirals that threatened to rip my reputation into rags and ribbons.
When I glanced up from the bathroom sink and looked into the mirror, I could hardly meet my own eyes.
Was it too much?
I felt exposed in the way a hermit crab must feel when the home it once knew in the sand has become too small. That time between worlds as it transitions to roomier shell digs. Open season for gulls—so easily plucked from the shore and swallowed whole.
The Challenge of Standing in Your Truth
I knew how to put a positive spin on things. I was masterful at cheerleading through trauma. But standing in your truth? Standing at the front of the room with everyone’s eyes upon you? That’s what I didn’t know how to do.
Was it too much?
The years of writing the book were relatively easy. Safe inside my creative cave, I worked for hours every day, without awareness of the sun moving across the sky, illuminating ridges from east to west.
I’d walk for miles in the woods, turning over ideas in my mind and searching for surprising connections—like the way we used to turn over rocks in the creek behind Crane’s Stables, hoping to find crayfish.
Those hours steeped in solitude served as my way station. A soulful and safe interstitial world of having left but not yet arrived. I savored and treasured those hours as I knew such a time may never come again. Standing in your truth means letting down your guard.
My fortress would soon be breached.
When the book came out, I braced for impact. I held my breath knowing that a tsunami of judgment would soon be unleashed from the shifting tectonic plates of my published work.
People would talk.
What happened instead was a sweet homecoming. No one cared at all about the humiliating details of what I had shared. Rather, readers saw pieces of their own experiences in my stories and gathered up inspiration and comfort from each.
They used the book’s exercises as their compass to navigate their life storms and found comfort in knowing they were not alone. Readers found hope and a new willingness to breathe in Beauty and what brings them alive on their quest to recreate and define anew their ideas of what comprises freedom and success.
They felt deeply connected to me—aligned. Seen. In step. Soul sisters and brothers.
What is it that you have lived that could be a healing balm for the world? What could you give by standing in your truth? Your singular stories and experiences deserve to be told. What your instincts may be instructing you to keep quiet about may very well be the unvarnished and tender thing that saves another.
What Happens When You Start Standing in Your Truth
We can strive to gain traction and attention in a world of noise that relentlessly pokes upon our amygdalas. Our default go-to actions tend to be some variation of turning up volume and frequency.
Instead, ask yourself, “What is too much?” Ask yourself how long you can stay standing in your truth.
What could you share that strips you naked? Those vulnerable works and words are the very places we can find solace, hints for our own journey through what feels like unending nights.
When you speak from the center of who you truly are and what only you can know, we will find you, standing in your truth. We will come out from behind our bunkers and stand next to you by the campfire.