The Simply Exposed Life

Photo courtesy of Time walker for Vogue US April 2012 Issue

For the first time in almost two years of what I would describe as nothing short of an amazingly almost perfect relationship with my therapist I wanted to stop seeing her. Those 50 minutes had gone way to fast and not exactly how I wanted them to go. My jacket was on, handbag on my shoulder and I was walking to the trolley much sooner than my mind and heart were ready for.  I had less than an  hour to get it together, to re-suture what felt like exposed wounds, cover up wheat felt like a way too exposed heart, and present the self I present to most people. I wasn’t living by myself anymore so I needed to cross the threshold of my two story city flat normal, whatever normal is.

She asked me a rather simple question. One that I should have known only ends in feeling exposed. But I answered it nonetheless. That’s what you do with a therapist you like and have known for some time. You don’t skirt around the question, you answer it. “So what are you afraid of Ahyana?”  Well I was afraid of a lot actually. Everything from mice to not being enough to somehow jacking up my amazing credit score.  But that’s not what came out of my mouth. Instead what I said was “That something is wrong with me.” And even as I typed that just now I let out a huge sigh.

“I am constantly told I am too something. I want too much. I am too this or too that. Everything that I am too much of is natural to me. You don’t tell people they breathe too much, because you can’t. Breathing is natural. Well all my too’s are just like that. Just like breathing. And if they are too much then something is wrong with me.”

Photo courtesy of EFFELLE  Photography

I was annoyed and relieved and scared all at the same time. I had put it out there. In fact when I told her more about the week I was having and how I constantly felt like I was hiding bits and pieces of myself, it only reinforced my answer to the fear question. It only reinforced that I feared something was wrong with me. I was annoyed that I had to defend what normal for me was. I was pissed that I could count by the dozens the people and times what was normal for me was interpreted as too much and if I wanted to be satisfied I had to want, do, ask, hope, be less.  But I was relieved. I was so relieved, and grateful to put it out there. To not hold the weight of that fear all to myself but to expose it, and thus myself, and to look at it. To really see it, not shove it to the back of my emotional closet or under my mental bench, but to put it all right on out there, undressed, unhidden, uncovered.

Did I mention it felt awful? I feel like those last few lines were misleading. Like I was going to say but then it was awesome. No, I wasn’t and won’t say that. At least not yet. Maybe in the coming months I will move from a level of relief and gratitude to awesomeness. Until then, it was and is a necessary awfulness.

I don’t know about you but I am NOT a fan of the simply exposed life. However, I do realize the necessity of it. It’s really hard to fully assess, let alone embrace or change,  that which we can’t fully see. It’s hard to create change if we aren’t fully aware of what needs to be changed and exposure, while uncomfortable is truly a disguised blessing of revelation (emphasis on disguise because it has taken a few days for me to remotely be able to consider it as such) that leads to wholeness.

Photo courtesy of Vogue Brazil

While not a fan of exposure I am a fan of understanding the root of our thoughts and beliefs. When I answered my therapist’s question and exposed myself to the concept of something being inherently wrong with the way I was created and thus functioned I actually fell face first into what I believe about me. If you flat out asked me if I believed something was wrong with me I would have said “No. Shut your face!”  But the truth is, while I conceded to it being a fear, it was a belief that I was already operating under. It was a premise I already brought into and because of that fear created a pattern of trying to be other than, because the other than Ahyana wasn’t “too” anything.  The other than Ahyana was draining  the life out of me. Correction is. I don’t want you to think for one second that I have all of a sudden realized that I fear and believe something is wrong with me and this actualization has banished such thoughts. It hasn’t. It’s only made me more sensitive to how gosh darn frequently I do things that aren’t “too” anything, where, and with whom.  It’s only made me more cognizant that I can’t afford to a)hold on to something untrue and b) operate as other than Ahyana. Don’t get me wrong other than Ahyana is cute but I’m over it.

So, this is where I am this week. In fact it’s where I was last week, maybe even the past few weeks but I didn’t really have to think about it. I didn’t have to expose it. I could peek at a corner of it and then look away, unmoved.  Can’t do that anymore. Well, I could, but what happens to things exposed? The elements tend to infect it making whatever was exposed unsalvageable. I am worth salvaging, so no more peeking.

Photo courtesy of Undercover  clothing company via

I  am convinced a simply exposed life is one that is necessary to live in order to live a simply whole life. It’s a must for living a life that is abundantly full and connected, not scarce and detached. It’s also a life not for the faint of heart. I mean that. When you start to expose things in your life you ultimately are committing yourself to addressing all that comes with the exposure, from the discomfort, shock, and unbelief to the bridge of hope for eventual comfort, acceptance, and joy. It is because I choose to get as close to being whole as humanly possible on this side of heaven that I embrace the simply exposed life.

Most Mondays I encourage you to try something or flat out do something. Not today. I like you too much. In fact you might say I love you. It’s because of this like/love that I am not going to toss out the idea of you exposing things in your life. Instead I am going to pray for that you will a) find someone in your life that can ask the question that may lead to exposing what needs to be exposed b) have the courage to expose what needs exposing when the time comes, and c) trust that after the discomfort, shock, and unbelief you will totally find the bridge of hope that leads to comfort, acceptance, joy, and so much closer to wholeness. That is my prayer for you. For wholeness by way of exposure.

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