Monday, September 5, 2011

Hiding Places

Wow, it's Labor Day and all I have done is labor! I have gotten so much done in my yard. It finally looks like someone lives here again! I have found over the years that when I am faced with a daunting task (like taming my unmanageable flower beds,) it helps me to break things down into bite-sized tasks. This weekend I have also been devouring Grace For the Good Girl by Emily Freeman of the blog chatting at the sky. What I have been doing is reading a chapter and then going and accomplishing a specific task, for example, pull the weeds by the back deck steps.

This book has been touching such an aching place in my soul that I just have to keep reading, which has meant that I have to keep weeding! That is because this is a rule and an expectation that I have set for myself..... Once you read the book you will understand how laughingly ironic that is.

Emily talks about the masks we Good Girls wear, the masks of nice, bubbly, likable, attractive, strong. We hide behind smiles and laid back personalities. If you ask us how we are doing we say fine or good. We work hard to meet what we perceive is your expectation of us. "I moved through life hiding behind the good and lived out the mess in secret. I taught people around me that I had no needs and then was secretly angry with them for believing me."

I was thinking about all of this as I was working in my yard. On the cover of the book there is a bird cage, with the door open, and the bird sitting free outside.

 As I pondered my yard, I realized my yard was a reflection of my life. Over the years I have grown a living fence around my yard. Indeed it is a beautiful fence, one made of lilacs, forsythia, trees, and flower beds. It is a wall of privacy, making it difficult for others to see more than a glimpse. This summer though I was relieved that it kept others from seeing the reality of the mess it had become.

Isn't this how we Good Girls go about life? Hiding behind our smiles, fearful that if anyone finds out the truth we might be rejected or thought of as needy. "Good girls aren't needy, they are needed. And so instead of living free I live safe." It is also easier, and here are the lines that really convicted me today as I worked and read: "And just like people who struggle with emotional eating or excessive exercise or any other type of addiction, I recognize my addiction to wanting to be left alone, I am addicted to the island of myself. The longer I hide behind fine, the easier it is to convince myself I am fine."

And so today, I began judiciously trimming back some of my wall, letting others see more of the real me, mess and all. Hopefully like the bird on the cover I will find my freedom too. Stay tuned, I will write more next week as I follow my rules and clean out a closet in-between chapters!

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