It was the weekend of Independence Day. I had been out of residential treatment for less than 24 hours and was invited to join the singles group at the church I had been attending for dinner and fireworks. I made my way to the restaurant and then over to the parking lot where we would watch the show. After mingling a bit I was offered a lawn chair seat in the middle of a small circle of girls who were chatting away with one another. I took my seat and sat quietly waiting for the show to start.
One of the more outgoing girls put her hand out to me and introduced herself at which point her other friends followed suit. I nodded as they each stated their names while simultaneously thinking about how I would respond. Having just gotten out of residential treatment I had become very accustomed to honesty, but before leaving they had warned us that we would need to be careful about honesty because not everyone was used to the level of sharing that we had been doing daily for the last 3 months.
Finally, after I had shaken the last hand, I decided to play it safe and follow their lead. “Hey, I’m Scot.” That was easy enough. I had broken the barrier, moving from stranger to Scot, and no harm was done. I was set. Then it happened, the next question was launched like a water balloon from one of those 3 man slingshots. “Are you new to Woodstock?” That was all it took. The flood gate more commonly referred to as my mouth opened wide and I spilled everything.
For the next 20 minutes before the fireworks began I divulged my entire life story including my sexual addiction, failed engagements, suicidal moments, trauma ridden childhood and my favorite brand of deodorant. Poor girls. One was enamored, one was polite and one was scared out of her mind. As the kids say, AWK---WARD.
You guys know I am a big fan of honesty but I guess I wanted to take one blog post and warn you that not everyone is ready for honesty and then not every detail should be shared. At times this is very much a trial and error realization. You will undershare and overshare a few times and in a few situations but this is necessary in order to find a middle ground.
If you’ve been reading the blog since the beginning you may be under the impression that my goal is to get everyone to share their darkest secrets on the internet but that’s not what I am looking for at all. My hope is that if you err, you begin to err on the side of oversharing and begin to find confidence in who you are despite people’s responses. In doing so you gain confidence in yourself which will lead you to inviting others to know the real you and thus love the real you.
There came a day, as time went on, that I was able to laugh about this moment with those ladies. They were gracious despite my over share and, along with the rest of the group, accepted me. As it turns out, these were my now wife’s closest friends and it was all a great and funny way that God would begin drawing us together.
There are some people out there who can handle the real you. You might overdo it at first like I did but you’ll quickly learn at what pace you can open up to them. They will be better for having known you, I mean really knowing you. And you will be better for having let someone in.
I wonder if we would ever see the true beauty of a rose if it never opened up.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.