Friday, March 19, 2010
"As a younger woman, I didn't hesitate to bare my body. As an older woman, I just as freely bare my soul." -- Anonymous
My fourtieth high school reunion is this year, and many of us are starting to hook up via Facebook and email lists. The excitement about getting together is building and it seems more fervent this time around.
I've been corresponding with some of my old friends lately. I met a few girlfriends in Charleston a couple of weeks ago, and I've exchanged emails with one of the first guys I ever kissed. I'm finding that we have no trouble telling the most intimate and soul-baring details of our lives now that we're in our fifties. Right away we find ourselves discussing our drug and alcohol abuse, our secret childhood pain. And in these settings, I haven't felt any of the old insecurities I felt about being honest with myself and friends when I was in junior high and high school.
I've recognized a pattern in my life from these conversations, though, a habit of doing things that made me afraid. This is how I feel about the exhibit (I've decided to call it that, because it's not an opening in the true sense of the word). I'm afraid I'm in over my head. I'm afraid of what people will think of my photographs. I'm afraid no one will show up; I'm afraid that a lot of people will show up.
Is there anyone alive who is healthily immune to the opinions of others? Is this even possible? And if we have to live with this fear of judgment, how do we do it in a way that contributes to our growth and not our aversion to taking on new challenges?
Each little successful undertaking of something frightening gives me courage to try something else. But some days, I wonder if the need to feel fear motiviates me more than the need to feel challenged.