Interesting things happen when you express your truth publicly. The best thing about writing this blog is the conversations that I have now with people who want to talk about something I’ve written here. Some share their own experiences. Many say, “I had no idea. You hide it well.”
The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator says I’m an INFJ personality type, which may explain why many are surprised to learn that I’ve been dissatisfied, struggling, and burned out for years. INFJs are not just experts at hiding feelings and emotions from others; we’re also especially good at hiding these things from ourselves.
Creative self-expression has always been my salve. From a young age, my Self expressed herself through writing. I would understand what was going on in my mind only by writing it.
Somehow, my thoughts and feelings went straight from my subconscious onto the page, bypassing conscious thought.
As an adult, I disconnected from creative writing (read: writing that I didn’t get paid for) and lost connection to that inner voice. Dancing has kept me expressing, but it doesn’t give me direct access to my mind in the way that writing does. Reconnecting with my inner writer has been critical to move forward with joy and regain energy after years of feeling “stuck” – of being nearly unknown to myself.
We don’t place a high value on creative self-expression. The arts are underfunded, regarded as frivolous, and are always the first programs to be cut – in schools, in communities, and in busy individual lives. Yet so many dancers tell me, “Dancing saved my life.” So many writers say, “Writing is my therapy.”
Perhaps we under-value the arts because we under-value our real selves – the selves who are hiding away, longing for outlets but shy to ask, resisting with the logic of dollars-and-cents ROI.
Along with “You hide it well,” I also hear this a lot: “You’re so brave”. Closing a business with no Plan B, writing this blog, and starting a new and unusual business doesn’t feel brave at all. It feels necessary. If I don’t do it, Self will shrivel up again, and I don’t think she’ll recover from a second asphyxiation.
So here I am, trying not to hide it well anymore.
Hide and seek
What was that Thing You Did as a child? Did you write? Solve puzzles? Move your body? Make noise? Play games?
Start doing That Thing again, even if only in small amounts. Pay attention to what you discover.