Showing Up

Nothing happens in my life until I show up. Much of my life has felt like a rehearsal, a waiting for something to happen, a feeling like somewhere in the world something was happening and it did not include me. I wanted connection and feared the risk of putting myself forward, showing up, being available to experience.

What do I keep cloistered inside, protected from others? What do I secretly hope will be seen and exalted, recognized and brought forward? What does my shame protect me from revealing to the world?

To show up is to be seen. To write a blog post is to be seen. To ask someone on a date is to be seen. To go into therapy is to be seen. If I want success, if I want a relationship, if I want health, then I must show up.

Showing up is a discipline and can feel harsh. When I imagine showing up, resistance comes up to tell me why I shouldn’t. All my fears and self-doubts, insecurities. Even my self-aggrandizing stories give me reasons not to show up. Instead of being vulnerable, I act superior. Sometimes I don’t show up because I think I am punishing someone else, not seeing how much I punish myself. All of these things are okay, they can show up with me.

I can be in a crowd of people and still not showing up. I can be hiding in plain sight. I can feel ignored, belittled, marginalized, and yet terrified of taking the risk to speak up and speak out, to be visible.

What in me wants to connect? What wants to be seen? To what do I keep coming back? Where does shame live? What do I fear will be seen? What do I secretly hope will be seen?

Showing up is always a risk, and there is no guarantee. As Thorn Coyle (who I hope I am not unconsciously plagiarizing) would point out, not showing up is also a risk. I might not be ready for change, might not feel prepared to manage the stress and anxiety of risk, might have a clear understanding of the negative repercussions of showing up. All of it is okay. All of it can be weighed against the part of me that wants change, wants movement, deeply desires an outcome I can only seek by showing up.

Showing up is a step. Often it can feel risky and vulnerable. The desire for safety and comfort is human and understandable, yet the thrill and terror of showing up in a new way will always be felt as a threat until we step toward it purposefully. Then, it becomes the fierce joy of living.

Please show up.