Living Brave Semester Reflection 2- Vulnerability Anthem

I guess I just got lost, being someone else…

So this ended up being another reflection on the final exercise of this week’s part of the Living Brave Semester where we were supposed to choose an anthem for that time before we are honest and enter into the arena where we share who we are, our thoughts and our dreams. Something that prepares us mentally to show up and be seen. When Brené Brown started describing this exercise the song that immediately came to mind was Let Me Be Myself by Three Doors Down.

I had the opportunity to see Three Doors Down in concert last November in Carrolton, and I have enjoyed their music for several years but this song was always one of my favorites, but I think particularly because it came into my life in a time of a lot of changes. There was a time where I felt like the first line of this song, that I had become lost being someone else…fitting in with all the expectations that others had placed upon me. I felt in many ways like I was living in different roles, my role as a pastor, as a husband or father, as a son or an older brother, and while I knew how to play all the parts well I felt more like I was fitting in than truly belonging in many of the roles. There were many parts of myself that got pushed further and further behind the masks that I wore in each of these roles (masks that said what was permissible and what was not) and the reality was I lost track of who wrote the script for each role. The crises that came with leaving a congregation, going through a divorce and letting go of a dream (I reflect on the divorce part of this here, here and here) forced me to re-look many pieces of my life. In a very fertile time of rediscovery and difficult work I learned an incredible amount about myself and rediscovered parts of myself that had been abandoned in the midst of living into the expectations of all of these roles. The reality is that being able to be honest about who I am has made me a far better pastor, person, father and, now that I have re-married, husband.

The chorus of the song states
Please, would you one time
Let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light
Let me be myself
For a while, if you don’t mind
Let me be myself

And while it may seem incredibly absurd to have to ask for permission to be ourselves, I know I can relate to the lyrics at this point (and throughout the song). Yet, the song also reminds me of the difference between where I was and where I am today and when I start to fall back into patterns that are designed for fitting in rather than belonging I need to be reminded of the cost of not being myself. There will always be places and times where we keep our opinions to ourselves, keep healthy boundaries and share pieces of ourselves with those who have earned it but I also have learned the cost of not being able to share who I am-because at some point you begin to get lost being someone else.

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