He walked into my room, it was midafternoon in October, and he said, "so, you have a place."
I had a place. I nodded. He'd found my place, my place where I'd written and shared and lived for 9 years. I felt like he'd caught me with my blouse undone. But he hadn't, obviously, and all he'd done was find my place. My treehouse, my corner of the world, my little window where I shared who I was.
"And I want you to do something for me," he started, but I interrupted him.
"You want me to close up shop," I said simply, not a question. The look on his face confused me. It obviously wasn't that.
"No, no, no, not that. I want you to share it with our people."
No effing way.
But he looked at me so encouragingly, I told him I'd think about it.
I thought about it. And then I made a few copies and read them aloud. And then a few more.
Our people? They fell in love with me. I shared my place and helped them come up with their own places. Their own way to share, with me, with each other. And they did share.
So I shared some more. I opened the book of who I was and smacked it down on the table. Here. This is how you make a life worth living. Many of them told me how much it mattered to hear this, to read and think about this. To learn what was important.
And it was good.
But in the end, it was too much.
I never do things halfway. I burn a bright fiery arrow through my life and yours and it was too much for my buttoned up place.
So I had to shut down and shut up and think a minute.
What did I gain? Perspective. Some lovely adoration. I found myself across the desk from many of my people who had never connected with someone in my position before. And I cherish that. What else? I honed some writing skills. I got brave and shared--in fact, so brave, I wound up joining a writers' group and got more brave. I watched my people learn to spill their purse but not hang their dirty laundry. I laughed a lot. So much.
What did I lose? Well, I lost my place. I had to close it up and retreat. He wanted me out there, to share, to be the person I am, authentically, everywhere. But I couldn't. I don't think he understood what that meant when he suggested it. I live large and loud and I love people and I say what I think. And the lines started to blur between what I could say here and there and everywhere and it got to the point that I actually started panicking about who I was in the other places of my life. I started worrying about showing tattoos at my daughters' school. I started worrying about laughter and connection. It started to shatter something of who I was.
So I spent the weekend in the hammock, at the horseshoe pits, at the creek, at the table. And I remembered who I was.
Gretchen turned to me last night and said, "That place where you work? It isn't you. It isn't for you."
Ursula, who knows of what she speaks, said, "I can't believe you've lasted this long."
And so many of the people who share my day told me, so honestly and selfishly and authentically, "You are so good. You don't belong here."
Ok, God. I'm listening.
In the end, I think that's what I gained most of all.