With the start of my new podcast I've recently had many wonderfully encouraging remarks bestowed upon me. And one of the most commented comments has been "Thank you for your courage in sharing such personal memories." On the onset of this complement, I am, of course, immersed in flattery. But as I begin to resonate in the adulation, I start to question my sanity. The suggestion of any form of heroism sets off alarm bells in my mind. As I sit analyzing my recent decision to bear my soul to the universe, I begin to feel the panic grow inside of me as if I'm watching time lapsed photography of a seedling grow into an oak tree.
Dear God. What have I done.
If no one else would dare walk naked through the briar patch - well, except for Brer Rabbit - then I'm either an adrenaline junkie or simply not good at math. Neither one has anything to do with courage. I have clearly miscalculated my choice and am, now, about to be scarred by the thorns of damnation. How could I have thought that giving my privacy away was a good idea? That unmasking my vulnerability with the world was safe? Was I mad? I just exposed myself, my family and my Donny to judgement, gossip and possible character assassination.
I'm not brave. I'm a fool.
This podcast thing couldn't possibly be what God laid out for my destiny. I mean, c'mom. I'm a Gen X mom living in small town America and I'm running around like a Millennial posting, tweeting, and liking masterfully edited food pics. I don't even know the distinction between a download and an upload and nor do I want to. Who do I think I am? Some type of influencer? No one wants to listen to my boohoo story. People are in the middle of their own stories and they certainly don't need me interrupting them.
It's obvious. I heard Him wrong.
As I begin to shrivel into the void of doubt and despair, knowing I can't retrieve the intimacy I have dispensed into the atmosphere, I hear a small voice from inside.
“What are you afraid of, Angela? Remember who you are.”
What am I afraid of, I wonder? I stop to ponder the question. Wait. I do need to remember, not only, who I am, but also how I am. I am a deep human. I think deep. I feel deep. In the deep is where human connection is at its richest, most powerful point and the place I prefer to live. I, then, begin to realize that if any one person from the black abyss of the airwaves was actually sitting with me face to face, I wouldn't hesitate to share my personal pain with them because that’s how I am. I know that testimonies have the power to change lives and I am convicted that there is purpose in my narrative. So, then, why is this fear arising?
Ah, yes. It is because I have no control.
You see, I have no control to your reaction when I can't see you. I can't see your facial expression as I tell you my husband killed himself. I can't read your body language when I express how pissed at God I had been. I can't change my tone of voice if I see that you are uncomfortable in what I am saying. I can't look you in the eye to make sure you are understanding my point. I can't try and qualify the sentence before, if I notice that you don't agree with me. I can't sense in your breathing if you've had enough of me and my story, so I can politely end our conversation. And if I can't control your reaction to me, than I can't influence your opinion about me.
Whoomp! There it is! (shout out to Tag Team)
Whew. Thank you for that revelation, Lord. Now I can kick that fear in the ass all the way back to hell where it belongs. I am me. And God thinks I'm all that and a bag of chips even on my bad hair days. I am perfect in who I was created to be. If I'm good enough for the Creator of the Universe, than that's more that good enough for me. There is nothing to be afraid of in disclosing my story with others, whether it's face to face or out into the great unknown. So, I'm going to keep sharing me, even without any control. And I'm going to say "thank you" to your kind expressions of courage given to me because apparently, God wants me (and Brer Rabbit) to keep scurrying through the thorn bushes.
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."
Editor's Note: OK, so Brer isn't quite the exhibitionist that I am - he wears clothes.