Sometimes you remember you’re alive with a startling clarity. It happened today. Nothing apocalyptic about it, either. Just me and another person on a couch. Staring across at each other, trading words the way I imagine the world looked before money.
Goods for goods, nothing paper thin or I-owe-you about it.
We took turns speaking and listening; it happened so often that suddenly I just felt it: safe. Like I could say anything. Have you ever been there before? God, I hope so. It’s a place where we humans need to spend time every once in a while. So much of the world feels like a spectator sport, while we’re walking about with the distinct and insecure suspicion that maybe we don’t really know what we’re doing. That maybe it’s not good enough, or just plain enough.
I have stories I don’t often share because, well–because they are of a sensitive nature. And, plainly speaking, could make me look a little on the crazy side. They are personal, too, so I like to keep them close. But tonight, I found myself divulging. Sharing one of these stories. Interrupting myself with the words, “Do you think I’m CRAZY?” And even though I have learned that one should not ask a question unless they can handle the answer–any answer, even if it’s different from the one you’d like to hear–I still don’t always check myself in time; I still ask questions hoping for one answer sometimes.
And yes, I got the answer I wanted.
Which was really kind.
But my point is that there’s something that happens when we share. Vulnerably. It’s like that post secret phenomenon. Some guy named Frank started a website in which there are two rules concerning post cards that people mail him (which he subsequently posts):
The post card must be anonymously made by you.
And it must divulge a secret that you’ve never before told.
And the thing has taken off like wildfire, folks. People are not only finally sharing their long-kept secrets and feeling a burden lifted, but they are also feeling less alone as they read other people’s secrets and realizing that somebody else feels that way, too. Or has been through that, too. It’s liberating and it’s a new kind of community and I find it fascinating.
The reason why it’s so wildly popular has to do with what happens when we share with each other. We feel alive. And we feel like we belong. Which are two things that are already true, yes; but something can be true until the cows come home, so to speak, but if you don’t feel it and believe it and agree with it, then it might as well not be, for all the good it does in the actual business of living.
“Tonight’s been so fun,” I said, realizing that it’s already 11:30 and wondering where all those minutes had to get to so quickly, leaving us behind the way they did.
“We know more about each other now,” my friend said, smiling.
“There’s always more to know about a person,” I said, “The trick is remembering that and then following through.”
Which is what we did tonight.