The name of my blog has nothing to do with its content, no photographs of naked people casually running errands around town. Sorry, Instead, Bare naked in public refers to a phrase I’ve used many times to describe my inhibition toward expressing myself creatively. I don’t think of myself as a creative person. I’m more practical, a problem solver. I like to help people by finding or knowing the answers. I am very comfortable in the concrete, the known.
I do think there is a creative soul inside of me. I spend quite a bit of time day dreaming, writing stories in my head, scribbling in journals and taking pictures. I have ideas for stories I might write and I have often considered telling stories with photographs. For me, stories, pictures, music, art, and nature evoke powerful emotions, thoughts, and memories. I want to create for that reason, even if I am the only one who grows from the experience. But, fear has kept me from creating anything. It’s ridiculous to think I can spend so much time being afraid of something I haven’t even attempted. Unless I count my goofy little snippets on Instagram and Facebook, all of my creations remain in draft form, in my head and in my heart.
All of this ruminating over ideas happens when I am doing something else, driving, standing in line at Trader Joe’s, or taking a shower. It’s during long sleepless nights that I scribble a few notes in a journal. I’ve told many of my friends that I feel like I have more to do in this life, something to say. This secret creating has been going on for years and I have been satisfied with keeping these ideas to myself . . .until recently.
If you knew me you might wonder why this is such a big deal. I am not a shy person. I am an extrovert. I strike up conversations with strangers. I laugh loud and hard. I joyfully squeal when I bump into friends and acquaintances around town. I kiss and hug people I’ve just met. I can tell a stranger she is beautiful and I always smile at passers-by. I am comfortable telling funny, and embarrassing, stories to friends and strangers. My poo stories are legendary. I love to make people laugh. I cry easily. . . . serious ugly crying . . . and not even that embarrasses me.
I am an educator and I’m proud of my work. I am a confident leader and communicator. I make difficult decisions that don’t always make everyone happy. And sometimes, I have to be the bearer of bad news. More often, and gratefully so, I witness and share in the tiny triumphs of childhood, becoming a reader, tying a shoe, or being the best handball player in 3rd grade. I love my job.
My family and dear friends are most important to me. I love them, I love them, I love them. And they love me. With all of the stupid shit I have done (and some of it is truly unbelievable) they still love me, unconditionally. They believe in me, and more than anything they want me to be happy. I want to be happy too.
So how is it that I can have a job I love, the encouragement and love of my family and friends and still lack the confidence and courage to put my creative self out into the world for all to see. I think my spirit has definitely been shaken by some difficult life experiences, some out of my control, and others strictly of my own choosing. The last few years have been tough for me . . . the last several months even tougher . . . and in the last few weeks my heartache has been unbearable . . . lots of ugly crying in private and in public. It’s not pretty and I want to spare the world and myself of this continued hideous display of emotion. I will admit that this part has gotten a little embarrassing.
Sometimes little shake ups in our lives are needed to get our priorities straight so that we may lead the life we are meant to live, right? This latest episode of heartache made me realize, FINALLY, that I’ve been putting huge, important parts of my life on hold for far too long. Instead of pursuing my dreams, improving my life and becoming a person that I can love and admire, I’ve been chasing happiness, thinking it could only be found if someone thought I was worth loving. As my former therapist would say, “How’s that working for you?” UGH! I actually had to find a new therapist because I couldn’t bear the thought of telling the old one that I repeated all the same stupid behavior!!
What I realize now is that I’ve allowed my self worth to be determined by the success or failure of my relationship with men. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to convince men that I’m worth loving. That sentence is so stupid and sadly that WAS me. Years of that behavior has knocked the confidence right out of me. I lost myself.
Of course none of this is rocket science. It’s been the topic of a zillion self-help books. The good news is I’m done wasting time. This little shake up and some timely encouragement from a friend has me on my way. So . . . no naked pictures (at least not yet), instead a place where I can practice being my creative self, share my personal story, my ideas, ask for encouragement and maybe inspire others to do the same.
There is an anonymous quote floating around the internet, What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? . . . I would tell stories about life and love with pictures and words. It starts now. I feel sure that the universe will afford me an abundance of opportunities for personal growth, maximized potential and true happiness, IF I am willing to be brave, take risks, and stand bare naked in public.
This is slightly terrifying for me. But I’m doing it.
I am so happy to be here.