I found a table in the glorious Winter sun and waited for my very dear friend to arrive. We had both managed to squeeze in a quick lunch and I was looking forward to a chat.
She arrived, and with her usual ease and grace, slung her bag across her chair, sat down and flipped me the dreaded question.
“So how have you been?”
The icky feeling began to rise up within. I wanted to downplay how busy I had been, how frantic I often feel, and hide my overwhelm from her. I wanted to put forward a happy, in control, relaxed me, before quickly deflecting the attention back on to her.
I felt ashamed, as if I was failing at something, as if I was not balancing my life properly and I worried she would think I was about to tumble off my tightrope.
Why couldn’t I be truthful? Where had this shame come from?
I quietly uttered a smidge of truth. “You know how it is, running around a lot, a bit frantic at times. Enough about me, how about you?”
“Yes, same same. Time seems to fly some days”.
Up came our shutters, shielding our reality from the world. Hiding our vulnerabilities and concerns.
We ate lunch, shared a few funny stories and then headed back to our busy days.
I sat in the car feeling disconnected and empty. I looked in the mirror and hoped not to be seen.
What if I had said I am extra busy right now? Talked about how I am wrapping up my final assessments while launching a new business. How I often feel inadequate and unsure as I continue to venture way outside my comfort zone.
What if I told her my eyes sting because I need to sleep more and I feel overwhelmed more often than I would like?
What if she knew that I had chosen this, created this life?
What if she got to see the unsure working Mum who today was juggling too many balls?
What if she knew the fear I have that the ball I drop may be devoted Mum or Wife?
What if I allowed myself to be seen as less than perfect?
What if my friend listened, smiled and reached her hand out to mine and said “I understand, I feel like this too sometimes”?
What if we both let it all out, we threw away judgement and left lunch feeling connected and supported instead of ashamed and secretive?
Are you hiding anything from the world? Who can you tell?