“me too” is the opening act…
February 24, 2014
The conversations about vulnerability and courage have been on the rise the last few years. Every where you turn, there is a new book, a TED talk, and e-courses giving us permission to drop our various veils and masks.
We have been getting brave, finding our voices and starting to talk about the things we think but have been afraid to say.
Folks are sharing stories, pushing past those giant lumps in our throats to a new kind of freedom. …and the craziest part is how hungry everyone is for more.
We are looking at each other, right in the eyes, and letting out a huge sigh and saying, “Me too.” Just so happy to be seen, to know we are not alone.
While the “Me too” seems like the big event, I am starting to realize, it is actually the opening act, a very important one…but the show coming? The show is amazing, for it is the place where humanity finds their way together. It is where we trade in “me” for “we”.
Because if we stay too long in the “me too” place we begin to enable each other and lose the hope that drew us to each other in the first place. We start to believe that is all there is, security blankets and no footing for true community and the change we long for. It’s more than “me too”, if our vulnerability does not lead us to togetherness & serving each other, then we’ve missed the whole point.
It isn’t about doing more, being more or improving, it’s quite the opposite actually. It is in our deepest, most human moments that the expression of our true connection can start to unfold.
The service and care isn’t because we are good people, but rather a place of knowing…
because you know what it feels like to be up at 2am with a crying baby,
because you know what it was like to have your lover walk out the door,
because you know the joy of the day that baby was christened and all of her people that loved her and you into being stood around that room,
because you know how cold the tile is on the bathroom floor at 3am after one too many drinks,
because you know exactly where you were when you got the phone call that he died,
because you know how many hours you spent glued to the television feeling helpless that someone’s home and life just blew away,
because you know what it’s like to wish we didn’t have to play the game of pleasantries while we move our power around or someone steps on ours,
because you know what it meant to you when your girlfriend showed up with a People magazine and Ben and Jerry’s,
because you know what it means to be the family fuck up,
because you know how much you long to be truly content and wish the words “it’s fine” never came out of your mouth ever again,
because you know that buying a cup of coffee for someone else gives you a joy and fulfillment you can’t quite explain,
because you know that every step on the sidewalk towards work feels like you lose a little more of your soul,
because you know that you will forever believe in the underdog,
because you know how worried you felt when you had to tell the kids you were separating,
because you know how you lie in bed at night wishing you hadn’t yelled so much, wishing you didn’t feel so annoyed half the time,
because you know everything and nothing at the same time,
because you know how hopeful it feels to be part of something, anything that is bigger than yourself.
This knowing is the solid ground on which we stand. The next step is the look of empathy we give to the mother in the store with 3 little children, it is closing the bar with your buddy after his girlfriend broke up with him, it is the $5 we slip the homeless dude because at one point you only had $2.35 in your checking account 3 days before payday. It is the small moments, the subtle exchanges, it is in the compassion offered that every human needs and deserves.
Because of this, the world is not waiting for you to have more money, more time, more resources. It is not asking you to be ready or for you to like your mother-in-law.
It is asking you to be yourself the whole way, and let someone else be themselves just the same…and then offer whatever it is you have in that moment and letting the other person do the same for you, no matter how small, with the heart of knowing, with the heart of a grace you wish yourself, taking the first step outside of “me too” and ourselves towards each other.
Every step outside of ourselves and towards each other reveals more mess, more togetherness, more power, more trials, more beauty, more hope.
…and the world we are all secretly dreaming of, a step beyond “me too”, a world in which we are finally together…the whole way.