Facing up to the fear of rejection

the-fear-of-rejection

I realized a long time ago that I am an introvert and not just that, but I am the worst kind of introvert.

A shy one.

For me, navigating social situations is as violent and harrowing an experience as walking across a minefield.

 

I come away feeling exhausted. The kind of tired that seems to stretch through your bones making you limp and lifeless.

 

As a child I remember the world feeling big and garish. Going new places or having to make new friends arose the same feeling inside of me as losing my mum in the supermarket. A wild-eyed, pursed-lipped panic.

 

I thought as I grew older the feeling would fade but I’ve carried the same trouble with me into adulthood.  

 

The root of my shyness, as with most afflictions of the heart, is fear.

 

The fear that causes my voice to catch in my throat. The fear that suppresses my innate urge to love others. The fear that dulls the kaleidoscope of colours in this world.

 

The fear of rejection.

 

It has always plagued me. Sneakily crawling back into my life as it takes on new shapes and forms.


 

My fear of rejection causes me to shrink, inhibiting the hospitality that gives me life.

 

One of my greatest joys is welcoming people into our home.

 

I think that’s why I love food so much, because it brings us together. We gather around slices of pizza or steaming bowls of soup and we are united as one.

 

I’ve always hoped that someday I will be lucky enough to have a home with a gigantic kitchen and dining table so there will always be space to pull up one more chair.

 

But the desire to make people feel welcome, to talk to strangers and to make new friends is shadowed by this belief that they won’t like me.

 

So before they even tell me they have other plans or other friends I shut them out.


 

The fear of rejection has trampled all over romance in my life as well.

 

For as long as I can remember I’ve been infatuated with someone. Because loving feels as natural as breathing to me. I can hardly contain the swelling affection that sings within my heart.

 

But far too often I’ve found myself pining after someone for years because I’m so afraid that they won’t feel the same way about me.

 

Loving someone feels like far too much to ask. The risk of heartbreak seals my lips shut.

 

Rather than allow someone the chance to know and love me, I keep them at arm’s length and shy away from my feelings.


 

And in my day to day life, the fear of rejection makes conversations feel like an uphill battle.

 

I worry that my opinion won’t be heard or appreciated. I’m concerned that if I speak someone much more clever or witty will shut me down.

 

So I become disengaged. I smile and nod but do not venture to participate in the scene before me.  I save my breath and try to take up as little space as possible.

 

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Over the past month I’ve been unemployed and wrestling with this nagging feeling of unworthiness.

I have found myself withdrawing from my friends and wanting to hide rather than go out and be sociable and last night I finally figured out why that is.

 

Everywhere I go people ask me questions. What do I do? Where am I going? What is my plan?

 

And somewhere deep down I have this belief that what I do defines me. Right now I don’t do anything and therefore I feel like I don’t belong.

 

Without a plan, without a purpose, I am not valuable. I am not interesting. I am not worthy.

 

With every job application I send, I attach a little piece of myself to it. Every time they reject me or ignore me altogether, I get a little bit smaller.

 

The fear of rejection gains its power from the simple fact that we put our sense of worthiness in the wrong places.

 

We define ourselves by our career, by who we date, by the people we are friends with, by the shininess of our car and by the size of our clothing.

 

We fall into this same old trap time and time again.

 

We become crippled by shame. Overwhelmed by self-loathing. Infected with a lack of self worth. We shrink down and we shrivel up. We are wounded easily and we snap without warning.


 

But you know what, I’m so tired of being afraid.

 

I want to live fully. I want to love with my whole heart. I want to be actively engaged with life.

 

I need a reminder of who I am because I’m not too sure anymore.

 

Perhaps because it is so unbelievable that we could have any worth just by existing.

Maybe because of the subliminal messages we have received our whole lives that tell us we there is no elevator to success, we have to take the stairs.

 

But here is the truth…I matter because I AM, not because I DO.

 

You matter simply because you have life running through your veins and breath flowing in and out of your lungs.

 

We need not fear rejection because we already belong. We are valuable. We are loved.

 

Regardless of what others may say. Regardless of whether we fail or succeed. Regardless of whether we are picked first or last.

 

We are worthy.

 

It makes me feel needy that I require so much reassurance. But then I am reminded that I was created by a God who has an infinite capacity to fulfill this need.

 

So what a beautiful reunion it is when I place my heart back in His never-failing hands.

 

“If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. If you look to God, you will find rest.” – Corrie ten Boom

The fear and the thrill of the fall

the-fear-of-falling

I have been ice skating three or four times in my life and every time I set foot on the ice I feel the same sensation.

 

The wobbly knees. The racing heart. The sheer terror of trying to move the thin blades on the slippery ice.

 

For the first few minutes I am nearly paralyzed. I jump at every passing person’s shadow. I teeter on the edge of the rink. I breathe deeply and attempt to slide forwards but the motion is less smooth and more like a drunken stagger.  

 

If I could only quieten my noisy mind and still my anxious heart, I know I could do this.

 

But the fear of falling always slows me down.

 

The panicked feeling of losing control makes my legs stop working.

 

As I look around, I see kids who barely come up to my knees, who are careening around without a care in the world. I wonder why that is?

Is it because they have sweet, innocent minds not yet tainted by the worries of this world? Is it because they’ve fallen once and they know it’s not so bad, so the falling no longer scares them? Or perhaps, it is just because they are closer to the ground so when they fall it doesn’t hurt as much.

 

I wish I had their fervor. I wish I could skate with their gusto. I wish I too, wasn’t afraid of falling.


 

The thing about fear is that it immobilizes us. It keeps us rigid, tense and hyper-aware of our surroundings. It prevents us from having the fluidity needed to move forwards.

 

There is something known as the fear-tension-pain cycle which women often experience in childbirth. The more afraid a woman feels about giving birth, the more tense she becomes and the more tense she becomes, the more pain she feels which leads to more fear.

 

To break the cycle, she must lean into the pain. She must face the fear and reduce the tension.

 

I see life as somewhat similar to giving birth.

 

We are constantly creating something out of nothing. Painting gentle strokes onto the canvas of our lives. Making art and beauty with the words we speak out, sing in the shower and whisper under our breath.

 

And in this birthing of something new and not yet known, we have to lean into the pain of the process. If we give into the fear, if we allow ourselves to tense up or pull back, we’ll find ourselves stuck.

Our ideas will run dry, our dreams will fade in the sunlight, our creativity will crumble like dust.

 

We have to allow ourselves to feel the pain in order to create. We must push through that fear of falling and make something anyway.

 

We have to be like those little children, unhindered by the slippery ice and sharp blades. Undaunted by the chill in the air and their lack of coordination.

 

To live, we simply must fall.

 

And that is what scares me the most. The lack of control. The absence of order.

 

There isn’t a road map for following your dreams or a safety net for falling in love, it’s just you and the ice. Miles of frozen water stretch out before you. An endless, unmarred horizon.  A blank, white unknown.

 

At some point all of us are faced with a choice, will we hold ourselves back or will we wobble out onto the ice?

 

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There is a time to hold back and there is a time to leap forwards, the key is recognising which move will serve you best.

 

I’ve been foolish with this decision before and of course, I have been hurt in the process.

 

But what I have found is that most often, it is better to take the leap because the fall is never as far or us fatal as I am expecting. And somehow, I always recover after the fall. It’s as if the fall makes me stronger. I suppose that dropping down to the lowest possible place means there is nowhere to go but up.

 

Taking a risk isn’t the safe option but it’s the only one that will allow you to fly.

 

You’ll never know how it feels to glide around the rink if you don’t step out onto the ice. You’ll never find love if you keep your heart locked up. You’ll never experience an adventure if you don’t seek it out. You’ll never know your full potential if you don’t give yourself a chance.


 

Because the other thing about the fall is this…it’s exhilarating. It’s breathtaking. It’s intoxicating.  

 

The reason we come back time and time again is because the fall makes us feel alive. Fully human. Impossibly free.

 

The truth is, our broken bones will heal. Our shattered hearts will mend. Our deflated ego will be restored.  What do we really have to fear when we’ve survived every fall we’ve ever had?

 

Because the alternative is to live a despondent life. To stick to the side of the rink. To hide ourselves away from anyone and anything that could hurt us. To never know the dizzy, dancing way it feels to take a running leap.

 

I don’t want to live that way.

I don’t want to be afraid.

I don’t want my thirst for control to limit me.

 

I’d rather fall on my face a thousand times than be the kind of person who isn’t willing to try.

 

“When you get the choice to sit it out or to dance, I hope you dance.” – Lee Ann Womack

Being present in a distraction-filled world

I have always wanted to be one of those carefree, spontaneous people who lives in the moment. The kind of person who adroitly bounds from one adventure to the next. Who is thrilled with change, delighted with surprises, focused solely on the here and now.

 

That will never be me.

 

I have to fight for the here and now.

I have to wrestle with myself to stay grounded in the present.

 

Because introverts have this whole other world inside their heads. We wander up there frequently without anyone noticing and spend hours getting lost in our swirling thoughts and alluring dreams.

 

In my head I have this dream of myself in the future.

I’m sitting on a wooden swing beneath a grand oak tree in my garden. Bluebells and daffodils brim over in my planter boxes. The grass has been freshly mowed and the clippings lay in messy clumps all over the lawn.

We live in this perfect, old villa with rocking chairs on the front porch and hanging baskets swinging from the awning. Our mailbox has a blue roof and our fence is white and picket.

In summer I’m always out in the garden, watering can in hand, tending to my plants. 

In autumn I sit on the porch sipping apple cinnamon-spiced tea and watching the leaves pile up in the front yard. 

 

I can get lost in this daydream and lose all sense of time.


 

See, I have a heart that is spurred on by expectation. It beats a rhythm of longing. Constantly demanding more, never satisfied with what it has.

 

I am forever at war with myself.

 

I must fight for this moment. This one right here. Sitting at my kitchen table in my dressing gown, sipping coffee. I must force myself to meander back down outside of my head and become absorbed fully in appreciating the present.

 

And I’m not the only one.

 

Our modern lives are so cluttered with distractions.

 

Billboards on every corner, notifications from every app, adverts after every second song. Multitasking has become our second nature, we don’t know how to do just the one thing anymore.

 

While eating our breakfast, we are scrolling through our emails. While walking we are listening to podcasts. While having conversations we are having entirely different ones on our phones.

 

But I miss the eye contact. The face to face conversations. The careful, handwritten letters slipped into my mailbox.

 

Everything these days is so instant and hurried. I hardly ever feel seen or understood, nobody has the time.

 

Even when we are in one place, we wish we were in another. We watch the sunset through the lens of our cameras, we live our lives to upload on our Instastories, we’ve made a sport out of collecting memories and flashing them around for everyone else to see. 

 

It feels so fake, so inauthentic, so exhausting to maintain.

 

Putting my phone down feels like a breath of fresh air. Now I hardly post on social media, it feels like I’m coming home, back to the real me. Without the pressure of a billion eyes watching me, I am free to actually live. 

 

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What I need, what we all need really, is a new pace. A slower, more deliberate way of living. An awareness of the buzz, the hustle, the impatience. A return to simpler times which were perhaps not so foolish after all.

 

It saddens me to think that some of the old, slower ways of doing things will soon be lost due to our impatience.

 

I hope my kids get to experience the joy of opening up their mailbox and finding a package waiting for them.

I hope they get the chance to trawl around a hundred different shops looking for the perfect gift rather than sitting at home filling up their online shopping cart.

I hope they will know the feeling of the worn-out pages of a much-loved paperback.

I hope they will take delight in digging up carrots from their own garden rather than reaching for plastic wrapped, pre-washed vegetables in the supermarket.

 

There is something to be said for the ease and convenience of our everyday lives, but still I hope that my children will make time for a little inconvenience.

 

Because I have found that the best conversations happen when we’ve both left our phones in our purses. The most pleasure I’ve taken from a kind note was one written out by hand and delivered to me personally. The best lemon muffin recipe I have ever found was shared with me by a friend of a friend.

 

Being present is recognizing that the here and now moments are what matter the most.

 

It’s fighting the urge to move on to the next thing while you are still doing the first. It’s saying grace before a meal, giving thanks for the one who prepared it. It’s noticing the colours of the leaves as you are walking to work. It’s falling asleep to the gentle hum of crickets outside your bedroom window.

 

Being present is choosing to let go of the past and refusing to be afraid of the future. 

 

So here’s to slowing down, finding moments of solitude in a distraction-filled world and doing our very best to enjoy the here and now.

 

There is not a whole lot in our lives that we have control over but this one thing is ours to protect. We have the choice every day to fall in love with life.

Healing from the past: unraveling our stories and struggles

healing-from-the-past

I found a thread hanging loose from my shirt.

I tugged it gently thinking I could stop it from running.

But the slightest touch made it come undone.  

Before I could stop it the seam had unraveled.

Long, looping strands pulling away from neat stitches.

I tried so hard to keep it together.

I knotted the ends as tight as I could.

I meticulously sewed myself up so nothing could get in.

And yet a single strand sent the whole thing unraveling.

A tiny flaw in an integral stitch and everything fell apart.


 

I never thought I would need to see a counselor. I never thought my problems were worthy of such an extreme measure. I never felt like I was broken enough to need help putting the pieces back together again.

 

But I was wrong.

 

Strong people still feel weak. Happy people still cry. Sensible people still snap.

 

I didn’t cry. Not at first anyway. I was so proud of myself for that. At least I was still in control. At least I could still be contained.

 

But if you pull on a thread, it hardly ever snaps off a single piece. More often than not you’ll find that the thread you pulled keeps unraveling.

 

So that’s what happened.

 

One story looped through into another. On and on the pain I’d bottled up came flooding out.

 

Funnily enough, my biggest fear before I began was that I would have nothing to say. That we would sit for an hour in awkward silence, watching the clock hands inching around, eyes flickering from abstract art pieces to the flower vase on the coffee table.

 

You can imagine my surprise then that I found I could not keep the words from spilling out. I was a kitchen timer. Tick, tick, tick. I twisted around and around, a constant stream of stories, a tireless monologue.

 

I found myself smiling at things that weren’t funny. I laughed to mask the sadness.

 

And after every session I was always surprised that I felt nauseous. Physically ill from sharing such deep parts of myself. Like I had taken my internal organs and laid them out on the table in front of me. Inside parts always object to being outside.


 

This kind of vulnerability, this kind of healing is always painful. The deeper the wounds, the longer the healing process.

 

I wish I had sought after the healing sooner. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time wallowing in the mess and brokenness. I wish I hadn’t tried to keep myself sewn up neat and tidy.

 

Because the unraveling of our stories is beautiful. The unwinding, the coming undone, the letting go…it’s exhilarating. We find the source of our sorrows. We discover the roots of our fear. We realize the truths that will set us free.


 

The unraveling made me aware of threads that had run through my entire life. Lies that had shaped me. Burdens that had strained me. Core beliefs that had hindered and blinded me for far too long.

 

Shame was one of these threads. Deep and sometimes indistinct. Winding itself around every good and lovely memory, choking the very life out of them.

 

It taught me to hate my body. It led me to hate myself. It taunted me until I had no choice but to hide my full self from the rest of the world. I put up walls around my heart, a sturdy shield of armour to avoid getting hurt.

 

Shame swallowed up my voice, never allowing me to give an opinion or share my real thoughts. It distorted my vision, making me believe I was never good enough. It whispered constantly in my ear that my body was a distraction to others and a burden to myself.

 

And at the end of the thread, where the knot meets the fabric, I found shame whispering to me that I would never be enough.

 

Week by week as I sat on that scratchy, white couch with its chevron cushions, I shared all of the ways shame had entangled me. Slowly but surely, in the releasing of words and the surrendering of tears, I felt the weight begin to lift off me.

 

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I learnt that love and shame can never inhabit the same space. Shame needs darkness, dampness and very little oxygen to thrive.

But to love is to be free from shame.

 

Love is authentic, all-consuming. With nothing to hide. Nowhere to run.

 

To fight shame we must expose it to the light. We must drown it in truth. We must recognize its many faces and challenge each one of them.

 

That’s what counseling did for me. It caused me to notice all my loose threads that needed to be pulled.

 

It taught me to extend grace towards myself and others. To be kinder, gentler and more vulnerable. To wear my heart proudly on my sleeve once again.

To knock down the walls I had constructed as a defense for my fragile heart. To recognize the ways I was intuitively protecting and doing what is best for myself. 


 

I thought counselling would be like taking a sledgehammer to my foundations. That I would tear everything down and start all over again. But for me it was more about recognizing the parts of myself that needed redecorating. Attitudes that needed shifting. Negative thoughts that needed replacing.

It turns out that I didn’t need to be completely rebuilt…just reminded of the beauty I already possessed.

 

I was afraid that counseling would be a waste of time. But perhaps the biggest waste of time is denying yourself the opportunity to heal.

 

At the end of the day, that’s what we all need more of. Healing. Honesty. Hope. A gentle tug on our loose threads that begins the beautiful unraveling.

 

“I am nothing but a ripped fabric stitched together by God’s grace.” J.A. Anum

 

That familiar feeling of a changing season

when-everything-is-changing

 

There is no season where change is as tangible as autumn.

In autumn, change flashes in brilliant reds, oranges and browns. It cascades to the ground and swirls in the wind. Change catches your foggy breath on the cool mornings and blazes across the late afternoon sky.

All of nature sings its’ song, a maudlin melody, a solemn symphony.  

 

I have an autumnal heart. Fiery and passionate, wild and chaotic.

 

This season will always be my favourite. The cooling down from the hot, sticky summer and the gentle easing into the deep chill of winter. The feeling of wrapping up in layers and bracing yourself to be met at the door by a brisk wind. The scent of rain on the pavement and damp foliage on the driveway.  

 

In autumn, the leaves take turns changing into brilliant colours and falling slowly to carpet the ground.  

What once was bright and alive, dies off to make space for the new.

 

As I’m watching the trees glorious transition I see pieces of myself turning the same golden hues. Right here and now I am evolving, Shedding my old self and becoming something new.

 

This process requires making peace with the past.

 

That girl I was three years ago sitting in that first lecture feeling overwhelmed by the flurry of information that had just been dumped on me. The girl who shyly hid away in her dorm room all year, only making an appearance at mealtimes. That girl who was ashamed of herself, unsure of herself, afraid of herself.

 

That girl was me and still is me.

 

I hold her close to my chest. I keep her near to my heart. I love her because she reminds me that as people we evolve.

 

And we need change in order to do that. Pearls need to be rubbed around in that oyster shell. Diamonds need to be squeezed depth beneath the earth. Butterflies need to force their way out of their chrysalises.  

 

So I’m not embarrassed of the girl I was. I’m so very proud. She did the best she could with what she had. And for that I am grateful.

 

This is how I am letting go, by extending kindness to the pieces of myself that I might not be most proud of.


 

And it seems my life once again is swirling with change.

 

I hoped that by the time my graduation ceremony came around I would have clarity about my future. I thought I may have a full time job or at least an inkling of my next steps, but instead, I find myself slipping back into unemployment and uncertainty.

 

Here I am again, with a door closing behind me and nothing on the other side.

 

And it makes me wonder, do the trees know for certain that summer will return again? Are they sure that the winter will end and they will have the strength to sprout new leaves and shoots?

 

It seems to me that they just fall.

 

They just let go. They just keep moving forwards and we have to as well. Regardless of what lies ahead, that’s the only way we can trek.

 

These seasons of change, these major life transitions often catch us off guard. They can make us feel as though the rug has been ripped out from under us. And it is these moments more than ever that we find our faith being tested.

 

This is the place where the rubber meets the road.

 

It’s foreign and yet somehow familiar. I’ve been here before. I know the signs of a changing season. I’m still afraid. 

 

But what I’ve learnt is that there is wonder in the waiting. That lonely place of unknown is beautiful because it places us dependent on God to meet all of our needs. It strengthens and grows a faith that actually means something.

 

A faith based on real events rather than flaky opinions and secondhand beliefs.

 

That’s the kind of faith I want. Deeply rooted in truth. Completely receptive to change.

 

change, changing seasons, faith, trusting God, fear, moving on, letting go of the past, fear of the future

 

So this time around I’m taking my cues from the deciduous trees. I’m flinging myself headfirst into the unknown. I’m leaping forwards because it’s all I know to do.

 

This is how I am moving on.

 

I won’t be wallowing, moping or feeling sorry for myself. You will not catch me succumbing to the crippling anxiety again.  

 

This time I’m just going to fall.


 

Because I know now that clarity requires movement. We can’t just sit around hoping for writing in the sky or neon signs to flash the answer. We have to just start walking, and as we do, we find out where we are going.

 

It’s one of those crazy upside kingdom rules. We step out first and then the faith comes. We jump and then we’ll find where to place our feet.

 

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you are standing still but looking back over your shoulder you’ll remember how you’ve been here before. You’ll see all the big ways and small ways that God was faithful to you.

 

Well I do at least. He brought summer before and I know He will do it again.

 

That’s the truth when everything is changing. You simply have to cling to the one who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Craving community and the cost of real connection

craving-connection-the-cost-of-real-community

 

When I think of community I am reminded of those big cheesy quilts that hang in libraries, town halls and council offices. With pieces of fabric cut into various shapes representing the famous landmarks of the town. Smiley faces of children waving from playgrounds. Buses winding up and down the thin strips of grey material. Cotton bud clouds, rippling streams, parks with cheery swing sets.

It’s a picture of happiness, warmth and safety.

 

A wonderful reminder of what it looks like when we do this thing right.

 

This mish-mash of colour, texture and patterns requires an experienced hand to sew it all together. Because traditionally, quilts are made in small squares, then these individual pieces are slotted together and sewn to create one masterpiece.

 

Each person works on their square, stitching themself into it.

 

Some sew tight, neat little stitches, bound up like the tension they hold in their shoulders. Some sew large, loose stitches. Looping carelessly, lighter than a feather.

And somehow these mismatching segments have to pair up at the ends and complete the square pattern.


 

Community is a funny thing. This group of imperfect people getting together and attempting to create something beautiful and worth celebrating.

 

At times it can feel like more of a shambles than a beautiful quilt.

The strain of different stories and mismatching beliefs creating gathers and tucks instead of smooth seams.

 

This world is full of messy, broken people, desperately trying to fit in. More than anything we just want to belong. We just want people to love and accept us.

 

But more often than not, I feel like I don’t fit in.

 

I often feel embarrassed that I cannot hold myself together. I frequently assume I’m the only one who is coming apart at the seams. Perhaps I am, or it may be that I’m the only one who’s being honest.

 

Is it really true that you feel fine every time someone asks you how you are doing? Do you really have nothing that you are afraid of? Nothing you are longing for? Nothing that rattles you or causes you to lose sleep at night?

 

Am I really the only one who feels like a mess?

 

Seems unlikely.

 

The truth is that we think we need to have it all together. We need to don these masks and keep our worries to ourselves so as not to burden the rest of the world with our problems.

 

We think we are the only ones who are struggling. We believe it’s our responsibility to gather up these crumbly bits of our lives and carry them all on our own. This is our cross to bear and we clutch it tightly. 

 

We’re afraid that if we let others see our broken pieces they’ll be overwhelmed or judgmental. Or that they will reject us and our cumbersome baggage. 


 

But I’m so tired of living this way.

 

I hate feeling like I’m the only one whose cheese is always falling off of their cracker.

I hate being the only one who gives their whole heart in every conversation.

 

I’m craving authenticity like oxygen. I thirst for honesty like a cool drink of water. I’m desperately hungry for a taste of realness.

Give me more of your imperfections, your mistakes and your shortcomings. I need to breathe again.  

 

Can’t you see that these are the things that make us human? Don’t you know that these are the threads that connect us to one another?

 

community, the cost of real connection, friendship, relationships, love, finding friends, vulnerability

 

This world has become far too scripted, airbrushed and filtered, it’s hard to tell what’s real anymore. We put up walls and we get defensive. We keep each other at arm’s length and avoid deeper conversations. We beat around bushes and we stick to polite small talk. 

 

This is not real love. This is not real community.

 

We need to be all in.

 

Giving everything regardless of what we get in return. We need to be there to cheer for one another in the high points. We need to be a shoulder to cry on in the low points. We need to pray for, fight for and root for one another.

 

Because what I do know is this…I can’t get enough of people who let me see them fully. I’m like a moth drawn to a flame. This kind of honesty is irresistible.


 

And what I’ve noticed is something beautiful happens as we co-exist. As we rub up alongside one another we begin to adopt pieces of everyone around us. A phrase from one person, a gesture from another.

 

Rather than those separate quilt squares stitched together, we become like this beautiful tapestry. We are interwoven. Threaded through each other. We become so much a part of one another’s stories that it’s hard to tell where one person starts and another ends.

 

That’s the vision I have for my community. Tightly bound, bright and colourful, not easily unraveled.

 

Creating community like this is all of our responsibility. And it takes hard work. Building trust doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience and persistence. We have to start showing up with our masks off. Make-up free. Walls down.

 

We have to be willing to be seen. We have to allow ourselves to be known. It’s unnerving, uncomfortable and at times painful but a thriving community cannot be matched in its’ wonder.

 

And it starts with you.

 

Open your heart, your curtains, your door. Let the light in on those cobwebbed corners of your living room. Sit face to face with the steam rising from your cups of coffee. Link fingers, hold hands, wrap your arms around them.

 

Suddenly, we are one.

 

One body, one voice, one heart.

 

“Courage gives us a voice and compassion gives us an ear. Without both, there is no opportunity for empathy and connection.” – Brene Brown