Have you ever thought you were really putting yourself out there…like on a stage, or leading a workshop or team meeting…only to be left feeling like you were hiding some powerful part of yourself?
I’ve been there.
This past spring I held a rough cut screening of the film Second Coming I’ve been working on for the last 5 years. As many of you know the film is about my journey, along with my family’s, in and out of the Unification Church. Leading up to the screening I felt like, wow, I’m really being vulnerable this time. And I was. In some ways.
The comments started as soon as the film ended. People seemed to be really engaged by it. They were moved. “Deeply intrigued” someone said. Great, I thought, we’re almost done. But as the Q&A began that night, it became clear that there was one story audiences weren’t truly understanding or emotionally connecting with. And that story was mine.
Ouch. For a film that is supposed to be about my story…by a woman who makes a living as a storyteller…this was hard to take and even understand. Didn’t they see me throughout the film talking about my story? It wasn’t until recently that I could see it. How the narrative I built too often went into tangents that, while interesting, distracted from the more vulnerable aspects of my story.
Here are just some of the details not mentioned or very superficially mentioned in that cut:
- The painful internal split I felt the day I was married in a mass wedding: torn between my wanting the ideal of marriage ..and the reality that I was marrying someone I didn’t love.
- The pressure I felt to maintain the marriage at all costs or risk breaking the mold of my seemingly perfect family
- The way alcohol became my escape: not just once but for more than a decade of putting myself at risk
- The betrayal I felt by the church’s founder’s family and their secret lives
- The deep despair I lived in for more than a decade feeling that I was cursed for leaving my marriage and would never be able to create a family of my own
I share all this because a) I’m holding myself accountable to make sure more of this is in the film before we finish it this year and b) because it’s a powerful demonstration of the blind spots we can all have when we put ourselves out there. We can be speakers on stage…but still be hiding behind our stage presence or the facts of our presentations. We can be out there leading team meetings but not being real. We can be publishing regular writings and still not sharing our deepest selves. Often, it takes people outside of us, to help us see what, how and why we’re hiding.
If you feel called to start getting more authentically visible with your work and story I’d be happy to discuss working together and will have a few spots open at the end of this summer. We all, even those of us who do this for a living, need help in stepping out of the our blind spots and allowing ourselves to be seen.