Alt. Title: The Hiding
Alright, here I am, showing up. I actually got up at 5 after only one snooze, I have a steaming cup of coffee and a flickering hazelnut candle and, thank the Lord, somehow I convinced the dogs to go back to sleep. I’m nervous, which is silly. I’m a dark room, alone, typing thoughts - what’s there to be nervous about?
That’s what I’m doing today, but it’s more than that.
I write everyday. My articles have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times now and people seem to love them. My last few pieces for Entrepreneur have gone to the Top 50 section of the site, and in total my articles have been shared over 100,000 times. Is this even my life?!
But today is different.
I’m over two years sober now - don’t worry, that’s not what this post is about - and I knew all along that the drinking was hiding, escapism at its finest. Which is insane because I have a hot husband, the world’s cutest daughter, a perfect little cookie cutter suburbia home, work I love, a great family, a pretty solid relationship with God...what was I hiding from!? Well, as therapeutic as it would be for me to sit and pound that out this morning, the hiding is the point.
Recently I had a pretty big epiphany. You have those a lot once you finally get sober.
I’ve been hiding again.
Behind my show. Behind my work, that I love so much, probably too much. Behind the story of a conservative suit type, with a warm laugh and floppy dad ears, that goes out on his own in his fifties and not only hangs with the youngins but actually leads the way, becoming a “social media influencer” when most his age are slowing into retirement. The story of a woman who worked odd jobs for seven years, slowly trying to become a life coach before that was a thing, who eventually became besties with Oprah and built one of the first multimillion dollar online empires. Or a woman who went from welfare to millionaire in two years. A man who has done over 60,000 interviews in his lifetime and has no plans to retire. Twin brothers who didn’t give up, knowing their real estate and construction skills could be combined with their dreams of acting if they just kept trying. Tony. Robbins.
These are inspiring stories. These are inspiring people.
But in only writing about others, I have found myself becoming a spectator again.
Some personalities thrive on the bleachers, but I am one who has to be down on the field. Though, not necessarily as a cheerleader, I should note, since I was almost kicked off the cheerleading squad in seventh grade. I just wanted to make people laugh. The girls were doing their best to overcome the all kinds of awkward that 13 year old girls have going on - carefully moving skinny limbs, short skirts, curled ponytails and red ribbons in perfect sync with the beat... and then there was me. I was at the end in the back, doing my best to channel a Spartan from SNL and get someone in the first row to bust a gut. Much to the relief of the co-captains, I did not try out the next year.
The reason I dislike the bleachers is the reason I’m clinging to the cold metal rod that stadiums call a seat.
The truth is, I love the spotlight. Are you shocked? I hope you were sitting down for that. It’s not cool to openly admit that you want to be a star, but I do. This scares me, because I’m now mature enough to know that meaningful, beautiful work that matters is about others. It’s about the readers, the viewers. I have worked hard to get over myself in a more literal sense of the term. I scaled my giant ego and stood on top and was actually able to see clearly, able to really serve people for a while. What if, by starting to actually share my story, my journey I fall back down into the valleys of Meville and get lost there?
That’s the thing. Hiding is easier.
I’m helping the world with my interviews and articles and quick pep talks and so I’ve used that as an excuse to put off the deepest, hardest work. Conquering my ego over and over again. Writing the book I know I’m supposed to be writing - “a hilarious combination of memoir and how-to that beautifully breaks down how everyday people can start creating success in their lives” - See. I’ve spent way too much energy dreaming of celebrity book blurbs. I’m doomed.
Here’s the lesson. Hiding behind beautiful, important things is still hiding.
Losing yourself in parenting.
Using your calling as an excuse to work long and hard and hide from your relationships.
Making your art at the expense of making a life for yourself.
Chasing enlightenment as a means to just keep running.
Writing other people’s stories because you’re scared to tell your own.
I want you and I to become our best selves and give the world our best work. We can’t do one if we’re hiding behind the other. We can’t truly do either if we’re hiding at all.
So today, I actually woke up before 5, like I’ve planned on doing for, oh, a few months. The bleachers finally froze my butt off I guess. I am now officially blogging again and working on my next book. I hope you’ll come along with me and read the words and laugh at my jokes and channel your best Will Farrell as we do the hard work together.
Who’s that Spartan in my tee-pee?!
….for the love of all that is holy I hope one of you tweet or Facebook me with "It’s Me!" or this is going to be really sad.