So, I just finished reading Scary Close by Donald Miller. The subtitle is "Dropping the act and finding true intimacy." It's taken me a few months and a lot of library renewals to finish the book, because I tend to be lazy about my non-fiction. My roommate and I agree that we use our fiction as a form of escapism. Reading non-fiction, especially books on bettering one-self, is like going to therapy. Sometimes when we're in therapy and we don't like what is being uncovered, discussed, and felt, we quit. It's even easier to close a book and walk away. I knew the time had come for me to buckle down and finish the darn thing when I went to renew the last time and was denied because someone else is waiting for it. So, I did what an upstanding citizen might do and finished it, knowing that the person who is to read it next is probably going to find it as amazing as I did.
From the beginning, my mind told me, "This is a book to own so that I can re-read it again and again." It's still pretty expensive online (and by expensive, I mean "full price". This frugal girl RARELY pays full price for a book, but I might break down and do so.)
I can't remember how I first heard of the book. It was online or in Time magazine or something. I started reading it at the beginning of summertime, so now that I think about it, it's really time that I turn it in. Sorry, fellow Library patrons!
"Somebody once told me that we will never feel loved until we drop the act, until we're willing to show our true selves to the people around us."
Easier said than done, Mr. Miller. Show my true self? What if I don't like my true self? How will anyone love what I don't like? It seems impossible.
In college I studied Human Communication. I learned about the roles we play in our family units. There is often a rebel, a nurturer, the comic, the worrier, etc. We often play these same roles in our personal relationships. Living our life outside the boundaries of these roles can be so uncomfortable, even if we don't like playing them anymore.
I am in therapy and have been for years, off and on. Finding my truth, my voice, and expressing myself outside of the boundary of my various roles is scary as hell. "They're not always going to like what they hear" is what I was told recently by my mentor. Sure enough, a few days later, I was told by my son that I had changed, and not for the better, in his opinion. Inside I thought, "because I'm standing my ground and didn't used to?" but kept silent, which further set him off.
I have been the peace-maker. The appeaser. The person who does her best to "say the right things" so that those around me feel better about themselves. Now, there is nothing wrong with this, unless the things I am saying are not holding to my inner truths. I also can't deny feeling resentful on the inside sometimes, because by not speaking my truth, it's not acknowledged, by myself or others. Becoming someone else, someone who speaks the truth, is terrifyingly scary for me. The thought of hurting another person is one I shy away from. I want to meld the best of all worlds. I want to still be a kind person who loves others and does what I can for them, and also be a strong person who knows her own thoughts and can express them, even if it sometimes causes waves. I want to learn to ride the waves, rather than paddle away from them in fright. Bottom line . . . I don't want to be rejected. I want to be loved and wanted and to feel like I matter for who I am, not just who I project myself to be for others.
"Can we really trust people to love us just as we are? Nobody steps on a stage and gets a standing ovation for being human. You have to sing or dance or something. I think that's the difference between being loved and making people clap, though. Love can't be earned, it can only be given. And it can only be exchanged by people who are completely true with each other." This is from the author's intro. He ends it with this: "Applause is a quick fix. And love is an acquired taste."
I know that this posting doesn't tell you much about this amazing book. Trust me. It's a keeper.
Thanks for listening.