I have found myself driving along the freeway, running mindless errands, finding my way through days while in my mind I am talking, endlessly reciting stories to an audience that doesn’t hear me. Sometimes even aloud. I wonder who would care, who would want to hear the eclectic ramblings of a woman of a certain age who is trying hard to keep the balance and make her new tales sweeter, richer and perhaps with happier endings. When, with friends, my jaw relaxes and a story flows out as though my thoughts were a glass of wine poured by a tipsy waitress, I can’t stop until the tale is complete, until that glass is emptied. There have been times when the looks on people’s faces have scared me, made me feel alien and alone. Their discomfort and shock at what to me is simply a tale feels almost palpable. I learned to be careful with whom I let my sudden cloudburst of words happen, but often that feels like trying to control the weather. But there were those who would listen, who could put aside judgements and hear some of the lessons and love of life woven into the sometimes dark anecdotes. There were those who wanted to hear more and in return brought their stories up from the dark, dusty boxes in which they were hidden to share them with me, sometimes tentatively, with the question we all ask written in their eyes- “If I let you see me, will you reject me?”. Afterward, some people have hidden away from me, afraid that they had shared too much or now knew too much about me. Others have opened further, the joy of our mutual release and shared recognition creating windows into each other that will always exist and can easily be opened again.
These exchanges are precious gifts of true connection that give me pleasure and hope when I feel alone or in those rare moments when I am overcome by sadness. The thought of them reminds me that sometimes we can open ourselves, our histories, our deepest hidden contemplations and bravely allow another person to see us naked in our own version of truth. And that sometimes in doing so, we can be loved for who we really are.