What’s something you notice about yourself, what's something you would like to change?
I was at a board meeting tonight for my chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and after the meeting ended we were having a holiday party at the home of the board president. There were probably 20 or so people that were congregating in the kitchen and I found myself standing in the corner of kitchen, all my myself. A passive observer, not a participant.
These are people that are not strangers to me. Some of the staff members of the board I have known for many years and yet there I stood by myself, in my aloneness, unable to join in the conversation in the small groups that had formed.
How many times have I found myself in this situation over the years? Feeling like an outsider even when surrounded by people that I know, people that I care about.
I eventually struck up a conversation with a society funded researcher who was standing by herself. We chatted for a bit about her move to Colorado, how did she like living in Boulder. I thanked her for her efforts to find a cure for blood cancers and looked to say goodbye to a few people before I left.
What I noticed was that familiar feeling of wanting to hide, to not be noticed. I hoped no one noticed that I was off standing by myself and I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone did. I am quite good at not being noticed, being a ghost.
The conundrum for me is that while I crave the safety that the cloak that invisibility offers me is that I so want to feel connected. I have become an expert in my life at being alone. Straight A student, honor roll, class valedictorian.
There are times that I feel so alone and the feeling is born from not letting people in. While being a ghost is safe, it is not a way of being that nurtures the soul.
Years ago I was at a Landmark forum seminar and one of the exercises was to walk around the room and introduce yourself and describe how you show up in the world.
"Hi, my name is Ross. Please don't hurt me." I said that over and over again. I have said that at other seminars. It is how I show up.
What I yearn to say is, "Hi, my name is Ross. Please get to know me. I am lovable and capable. I am worthy." I so want to raise my hand and use my voice.