I want to be naked
(Paul Van Ostaijen, Flemish poet, 1896–1928)
It began with a song.
We ended up in the square — it was windy, it was bright
I was all over the place, you had nowhere to be
Travellers running to catch the last train
and the clouds in a hurry, too
I could feel the hope stir under my coat
the world was small enough for two
No, it all began long before that, before I wrote any kind of song. It began with a spark, a moment of faith, closing eyes and taking the leap, meeting an unknown destiny. That’s what life will do, sometimes: we only get the shortest time to hesitate. And if we don’t jump when the invitation comes, the moment has irrevocably passed.
This kind of decisive moment can be about a professional choice, a family decision or a deeply personal intuition. It doesn’t matter: we hear the call and we either decide to answer it, or we don’t.
That particular time, I did take the leap.
I decided to trust, even if I didn’t understand why. But as usual, when the soul is at the wheel, it truly does know where it is going, much better than we ever could.
My hands were in search of a melody
your voice had been quiet for years
Now there’s this tune afloat on the wind…
One of the greatest gifts we can ever give to another person, is to hold their space: to grant them a place to express the things that ache to be heard, a safe environment to bring out into the open all that is deeply personal, deeply felt, deeply vulnerable.
For however strong we might have grown, each and every one of us remains vulnerable. We all carry wounds, deep old pains we have sometimes learned to cover up or hide, but that resurface at will, believing that by taking over our lives, they are protecting us from something much worse.
At some point you have to have the courage to call them out. To articulate: this is what is hurting me, this is what I’m struggling with. Not in order to blame someone else, nor to have them change any of their behavior so you’ll be rid of your pain — that’s an illusion, for whatever is hurting you is and will always be your personal pain, your own wound. The other might very well be functioning as your mirror, but it doesn’t entitle you to anything.
The courage to be this naked, though, truly is a gift.
To show yourself, to be be seen, down to the bone of your vulnerability, is to go beyond the fear of rejection, beyond the belief that you have to be strong in order to deserve love.
To offer another person the space to be this vulnerable, is to be granted entry into someone’s deepest intimicay, and to experience you are worthy of their trust. For at that moment, they are little more than a mollusc in the palm of your hand — without any kind of shell.
Whatever your place in this story, cherish this vulnerability.
It is rarely painless, but it is one of the most precious things you will ever experience.
I fetch my fears from under my coat
You tell me: just be who you are
I will know you if you’ll me show your scars.