Track 14: Living Out Loud (Quietly)
B-Siders! Loves of the backend of my life, when was the last time you lived out loud? I don't mean via vibrant colors or brash decisions, or screaming through the streets. When was the last time you made a conscious, but subtle, resolution to live out loud, to be the total you?
Yesterday, an impressionable, 18-year-old Latrice said to me: "You see a psychiatrist?" The confusion was clear in her voice. "But your life seems pretty...okay to me." She let the understatement deadpan against the leather seat before raising her head to look at me.
I had two choices here. I could backpedal from my discomfort and cover up the fact that the person who was helping Latrice, needed help too. Or...
"Yes," I said gently, so as not to startle the cradle of trust rocking between us. "Well, I see a therapist. I think we all need someone outside of our situations to talk to."
She nodded. I tensed. I worried that in that instance that her thoughts of me had changed. She'd just, for the first time, lathered the thick of her life story on my ears and had even asked me to bypass her house so that we could continue talking just a little longer. She'd shared her struggles of being friendless, and parentless, and odd. She shared the fear she had walking home at night from a job she needed to help support her grandmother and siblings.
With that one "yes", I took subtle action to add truth to the narrative that Latrice thought she knew. Yes, I was Roconia, someone there to lend an ear or a ride or a dollar. But I was also Roconia who needed someone to be there for me sometimes. I was Roconia, the woman cackling at the Corner Bakery Cafe, the woman laboring behind the laptop, the one at the head of the meeting room, and the one taking notes in the back. I was the woman listening to your story and stacking your sobs by category, and the woman sitting across from a counselor handing over her own life's ailments. Me Saturday night and me Sunday morning, me the leader, and me the led, me the helper, and the helped, were all one total, complicated person. Yielding to that idea, in front of little miss Latrice, was the most uncomfortable, but liberating, thing I've done in a while.
I encourage you to try it.
Write it. Say it. Sing it. Surrender to a life out loud, one quiet word at a time. It's strange and uncomfortable to blatantly be a total, flawed human. But I promise you, there is no freedom like a life lived out loud (quietly).
I'm a multitasker. This B-Side was written in conjunction with Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge. #WYAOApril Day 1. Surrender.