On Being Seen

I have been good at hiding for as long as I can remember.

During childhood games of hide & seek; my hiding spots were always both well thought out & difficult to fit into. I would happily trade long periods of bodily discomfort in order to stay hidden.

Trips to the mall or the grocery store; hiding in the aisles or in the inside of clothing racks. Hoping I could escape the reality of my childhood in some way.

In high school & college classrooms; always sitting in the back. Maybe if I sit back here no one will see me, no one will judge me.

In large groups; always standing on the outskirts. Too much energy, I can’t handle it.

In yoga classes; always in the most secluded spot. My body isn’t perfect. I have curves.

I’m introverted. I’m a Projector. I’m extremely empathic & highly sensitive, it hurts — excuses. All in the name of remaining in hiding.

It wasn’t until recently, when I decided to create a website for my swelling hobby turned business that something equal parts painful & potent rose to the light of my awareness — I have a deep fear of being seen.

And so it begins, the tale I had been warned of but never entirely grasped. The ever unfurling process of a business that ultimately aims to sell your essence, bringing up all of your shit.

Everytime I sat down to work on my website, I could feel the resounding “no” inside my body. Weeks went by & I continued to masterfully mentally avoid acknowledging what my body already knew to be true. All whilst feeling the growing charge inside my being, “please, pay attention to me.”

Life did what it so gracefully does for all of us, given we have the eyes to see it — the creation of a number of triggering situations that ultimately forced me to my knees, drowning in puddles of awareness. “I’m afraid to make a website because I’m afraid of being seen.” What’s under that? Go deeper. “I’m afraid of being seen because I don’t feel seen by anyone in my family, most importantly — my Dad. My only parent. He’s my only hope for feeling seen.”

It’s important that I mention that the irony is not lost on me that most people I know personally & many of my clients don’t feel seen by their families & that this experience is in no way, unique to me. However, in my case & for the sake of the story, it’s critical to mention that family is a charged word in my life. It is where some of my deepest wounds & greatest karma live. It is where Spirit pushes me to look, dig & do the work — again & again. Not feeling seen by my Dad was not a new idea to me — it’s connection to feeling comfortable to be seen in the world, was. Are you afraid of being seen in the world? Do you have a parent who you yearn to be seen by?

I knew that my work here was not to bring this to my Dad with an expectation of a certain response. But simply to find the courage to name it, free of cords & baggage. Days later, a phone call happened. I blubbered to my Dad through tears & spit everything I had realized. I found that once I had spoken my truth, there was a distinct energetic shift. I felt a freedom within myself that all of me was now welcome here. I realized that perhaps this had less to do with my Dad than I had thought. Feeling the awareness seep in that anytime I operate under the assumption that “all of me isn’t welcome here, therefore I must hide,” — it is entirely self-imposed. This assumption has been informing my fear.

Let’s go deeper,” awareness said to me seductively. “Anytime I hide or don’t feel seen, that is a telling reflection of hiding from myself, of not seeing myself, not accepting myself — the physical manifestation of the fragmentation of my being.” I tell myself, some of me is okay, some of me isn’t. That this has “less to do with how I feel & more to do with how other people make me feel.” There she is, my old friend — the victim. More on her in the future.

There is no quick fix to this collective wound of not seeing ourselves. There is simply a spiral of willingness, awareness & compassionately tending to the parts of ourselves lost in a story of shame & judgment.

Attention to the little girl who hid in the grocery store. It’s okay to be here, I know it doesn’t always feel good but you’re allowed to take up space.  

Attention to the young woman in the back of the classroom. What you have to say matters. Don’t be afraid to use your voice.

Attention to the woman sitting in front of her laptop, face in her hands, coming up against wall after wall. Hey, I see you. You are beautiful. You have a medicine that the world needs, don’t be afraid to share it.

Then there is action. Oh action, the masculine energy that my shadowy feminine could easily spend many moon cycles avoiding.  

Action in the form of making the damn website. In the form of letting my soul drip out of my fingers & onto the keyboard. Of being as real & vulnerable as I can without expectation of a certain reaction — just to speak my truth & stand in it, sit it in, drop to my knees in it.

If you or someone you know is afraid of being seen. I urge you to gently & ever so compassionately, look in the mirror. Do you see yourself? There you are. That’s all you the proof you ever need. You exist. Therefore, you deserve to be seen. I know it sounds cheesy & maybe too simple. But the core of the work usually is.

When you start compassionately dissolving the armor that once protected you, but is no longer needed & has gotten ever so uncomfortable to wear — than you notice, others are seeing you now too. Yet that was never what you were needing to feel whole. You are the medicine you’ve been searching for.

Here’s to the journey of seeing ourselves.