Tonight I was thanked for my transparency and told it was refreshing. I call in to an intercessory prayer line on the first Tuesday night of the month. These ladies in Alabama have been praying through my lowest lows and praising in some of my most profound miracles. Transparency is something I’ve been thanked for more than once in church. A lot of people hide what troubles them, but I usually don’t. When I’m upset, it’s all over my face and in my voice. I really don’t have a poker face. I don’t buy into the shame that often surrounds our most petitioned prayers. I believe in prayer and I know focusing on our biggest goals is often how they fall into our laps. That and lots of hard work, persistence, follow up, tenacity, grace and fistfuls of favor.
I told my ex so many lies. Stupid lies about the smallest, most insignificant things. The one therapy session he went to, he told my therapist I was a pathological liar. I could see how he thought that. She couldn’t. The more we talked, the more it became clear I only lie to my parents and him. I’m working on telling the truth to my parents, even the uncomfortable truths that involve how I feel about things, and not just facts of my existence. I don’t talk to the ex anymore. These are people with opinions I cared about. These are people who I couldn’t share myself with because for some reason I felt shame in my choices when it came to my parents and the ex. I wanted approval and I lied to hide myself so I wouldn’t have to face the fact that I might not get approval.
My Dad will often quote scripture. It’s just part of who he is. He traced our family tree and found that we come from a Sephardic bloodline on his father’s side. It makes sense. My maiden name is a fairly common Egyptian name. That being said, the bloodline follows the mother, by tradition. He still likes to remind me I am of the vine, and not grafted into it, and I accept that this is his belief. I’ve witnessed a friend’s bar mitzvah. It was at University Synagogue on Sunset, and it was such a rich ceremony to witness. Dad takes it to another level. He buys gluten free matzoh for me so I can have communion at home. (I won’t tell him it’s not seder worthy matzoh if you don’t.) He was studying Hebrew when I was born and used what he learned in choosing my name. It comes down to pronunciation and letters we have that aren’t in the Hebrew alphabet. He’s had more than one passover meal and loved the look on my face when I tasted the horseradish to humor him. (The things I do to show him I love him.) He walks around with a yarmulke under his Viet Nam Veteran trucker cap in an act of faith, and he’s given me a prayer shawl, and Chumash because this heritage is important to him. I have a mezuzah next to my front door, but one graces the doorways in his home and he has one on the dashboard of his Suburban. My Dad’s faith is stronger than I care to imagine and his favorite music is Messianic worship songs to Jesus in Hebrew and English. I grew up with him quoting “whatever is hidden will be shouted on the rooftops,” as one of his favorite scriptures. There are variations of this throughout the bible and he has many more scriptures.
There’s irony in that being one of his favorite verses. He will often tell me I disclose too much online. It’s not safe. He wants me to be afraid of what might happen if someone decides they’re super interested in me. So not my problem lately and it’s almost comical. I’m not saying I’m invincible, but I will not live in fear. I remind him of the many times the bible tells us to “fear not.” My ex hated that I like to share. He is more private than I am.
I feel being private invites gossip. I will share enough that you at least have the full story and enough information to be bored with the subject of what I have done. I write this blog under a pseudonym. I’m not hiding in fear. I’m job hunting and it is a move of discernment and wisdom. Companies want faceless workers who don’t exist outside of work performance. Would you hire me with all I’ve blogged about since February?
I’ve always been the person to tell you more than you are comfortable knowing. My friends are often speechless because they don’t know how to react to my truth. My close friends see my openness as part of who I am and more reasons for open love and acceptance. And a good laugh. My honesty is often snarky. My nephews know I will “tell it like it is” because I have. I’ve had long talks with them about dating. My nieces and nephews know I will talk to them about the uncomfortable things. I don’t always need a response. I just want to make them think, and hopefully my perspective is guidance and not control.
I’ve done lots of things most people wouldn’t be proud of. I feel my past doesn’t define me but it has helped shape me. I learn from my mistakes all of the time and some of those lessons are more fun than I deserve. I believe if you don’t want people to know what you are doing, you shouldn’t do it. Most of the choices I’m not proud of are followed by the thought that it’s done and I can apologize if my decisions adversely affect others and move forward, but I don’t bother trying to hide it. I own what I did because nothing in my life was done to me without my being part of it. I’ve done it here when I wrote Transparency. I’m not a victim to my choices and I won’t feel shame for what I’ve walked through in life.
I’m transparent. I will shamelessly explain what I’m going through because what I’m going through doesn’t define me. I am not my marriage or divorce. I’m not my surrogacies and I’m not just an autism mom, any more than I will accept a disorder defining my children. I am who I choose to be, shaped by who I have been, and open to the possibilities of all I care to dream. I blog about a lot that I don’t necessarily post on Facebook, but it’s less than I would share over coffee. I don’t have a censor that says I should hide from people because at the end of the day I’m comfortable in my own skin and while my skin isn’t necessarily thick, I don’t wait to let others test it out. I don’t try to listen for what others think. My day to day life is primarily my kids and lately just me. I use the errands I run as an excuse for a field trip, and enjoy my kid free zone.
Today I took a walk around Mulholland Fountain. I was on my way to my Dad’s place and decided to stop for a few minutes of sun and xeriscaping that circled the rose garden. The roses were mainly white, but evenly spaced are red roses that peek out in tiny bursts. I have pictures around the filled fountain when I was a baby but I don’t remember the last time I walked around it. I loved the way the trees framed the mountains behind the fountain.
There’s little room for the opinions of others when you are busy looking for roses to smell and sunsets to catch. There are enough little and big things for me to obsess over and observe. There’s no shame or reason to avoid transparency. If I find shame in what I think or feel, I will do my best to shift my perspective because I can change what I think but I can’t remove the stain of shame in actions that make it hard to live with myself.