Why We Fear Being Known

We live in a society that loves hiding.

At the drugstore, I walk through rows upon rows of makeup-
foundations, primers, shadows, liners, mascaras, glosses,
polishes, curlers, bronzers, powders, tweezers, highlighters-
all screaming out to me, "I will hide you. I will cover your skin,
I will hide your faults, I will hide your tired eyes, I will hide your
true face and I will convince you that you need to hide behind
me in order to walk out your door" 
 

On the playground, I am taught to play hide-and-seek,
a childish game, but the thrill of hiding and having more
power because I am not "it",
and you must seek me
and being mysterious and unknown is nothing more than a fun game. 

We are taught "it is not manly to show emotion, you must hide your feelings"
and "you're too high maintenance, no man will ever want that, you must hide your concerns" 

We flit around from vice to vice to hide our true selves.
Some hide by running from friend to friend, ensuring they're tagged in all the Facebook pictures, some hide at the bottom of a red solo cup, passed out on a couch, living in this unconscious moment that they will later brag about.
Some hide in the arms of a different stranger each night, feeling as if being physically naked is far less terrifying than being soulfully naked.
Some hide in the library, study notes, highlighter, I-must-be-the-best, I-must-ace-this-test, because this defines them and they never have to truly discover themselves if they hide behind a grade point average and a scholarship.
And some hide in isolation, a desert island among social circles,
 yearning for closeness but no one must get close lest they learn about the scary true parts of themselves. 


I have a fear of being known.
I have a fear of people drawing near.
I like to keep my heart, and my thoughts, and my emotions, and my creativity, and my bare naked un-made-up face on lock down. I must put on a show or I must hide. We all feel this way. We all want to run and hide. 

I first realized this fear when my boyfriend was simply my boy-friend and he was cute, but not for me because I am a runner and "I don't want a relationship because I like being single" and I was happy alone.
But there he was, asking to hang out more and more, asking questions about my life, wanting to know my life as if it was something exciting and beautiful and I wondered how boring his life had to be to think MY life was something worth asking questions about. His questions and wonderings made me uncomfortable.
Because I'm a hider and to reveal myself is not in my nature. 

When I am hurt, or I am wounded, or I am confronted, and my pride is aching and I feel unloved,
I do what Eve did in the garden.
She realized she was naked, so she hid.
I realize my soul is naked if I tell him how I feel in the midst of a fight, so I run away and don't answer his phone calls and ignore his texts
and I hide because I am naked. 

We fear to be known. We fear that if we were to truly be known, to be understood, that means that we are vulnerable. And vulnerability means that we give people a choice. Vulnerability says, "I am letting you in, I am letting you close. This is a privilege and a responsibility. But you have a choice... you can care or you can leave me." Love or pain. 

Sometimes we open up and share of ourselves and it is beautiful and wonderful and just like in the movies because the lucky person we share our soul thoughts with is kind and generous and graceful and has a soft look in their eye that speaks, "I want to know more. Please, let me know you". And that approval gives us worth and makes our hearts feel warm and fuzzy. 

But sometimes we open up and share of ourselves and it is ugly and cruel and mean and unjust and the lucky person who gets to hear our concerns and thoughts and emotions and pains is rude and mean and neglectful and the unforgiving sound of their voices says, "I don't want to know more. I am not interested in you. You have no value to me." And maybe it was a parent who shut you down. Maybe it was a friend who you thought you could trust. Maybe it was a boyfriend who said he loved you but really, he wanted your naked body instead of your naked soul. 

Vulnerability is hard and it is scary.

But to shut up our hearts and our emotions and our thoughts and say "No, world. You have hurt me, I will not come out to play, I will not grace you with my presence today" is to deprive yourself of a beautiful, messy life.

It is to deprive yourself of the thrill you feel when you take that risk.

It is to deprive yourself of a wonderful relationships and friendship.

It is to deny the human experience which will deal you acceptance as well as rejection because life is to feel happy and sad.

But mainly, it will deprive the people, who are lucky enough to meet you, of a once in a lifetime chance to get to know the indescribably lovely person that you are. And that would be a shame.