I know I did.
I hid in the walls, in the car, behind my work desk, I even sometimes hide behind my partner (he’s 6’2″ so that’s pretty easy).
And this usually happens in social situations.
Why, you ask? I don’t really know but if I had to guess I would put it down to it being a survival mechanism my mind had created to “protect” myself when I felt threatened. I also read somewhere that humans are only born with two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Everything else is circumstantial and created.
With that in mind, I suppose then my survival instinct kicked in whenever the feeling of being judged – I speculate to being a by-product of some mean kids.
So in order not to be judged I hid myself. When I had no place else to hide, I hide behind my glasses (sometimes sunglasses).
“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?” Rumi
It was exhausting. Hiding myself started as a habit when I child but obviously got stronger when I was going through depression. The thought of being in crowds or simply around people was enough to make my heart palpitate. My palms would get clammy from sweat and my hands would shake uncontrollably.
The feeling was intensely horrible.
I was so afraid that I would be made fun of when I fumbled with my words or presented a clammy handshake that I would avoid any possible social situation like it was the plague. I made mountains of excuses and told lie after lie. When I did have to be social, I would have had to had days (sometimes weeks) of mental and emotional preparation.
I’d schedule my calendar to give me “pep talks” and repeatedly tell myself to just. show. up.
Learning to really just. show. up.
No matter how many social situations I managed to drag myself to, I never really showed up. I physically did but the other parts that made up who I was, didn’t. I learnt much later that the judgment I thought others had towards me was a complete mirror of how I felt towards myself.
I was constantly judging myself.
I was a total bitch to myself. I judged every thing from my attire to the choice of drink in my hand. I grew to hate every single choice I would make as long as it involved being social. Eventually it sort of morphed into this equation of hating being social.
My journey so far has taught me I could never truly show up to anywhere or for anyone if I was constantly hiding me from myself: The true me. On that path, I learnt to love and accept all of myself again (or perhaps for the very first time).
Hey me, I love you.
Learning to love yourself completely (or anyone for that matter) can sometimes be scary but liberating.
It took me years until I could truly and sincerely say, “I love you” to myself. And while I still struggle with it on some days, I have learnt it to be one of the most empowering gifts I could give myself.
So, stop hiding and start shining.