Keep it to yourself.

Human: (adjective) mortal, flesh and blood; fallible, weak, frail, imperfect, vulnerable, susceptible, erring, error-prone; physical, bodily, fleshy. -New Oxford American Dictionary

"You could have kept that to yourself," I was told. Don't bother anyone. Know your boundaries and stay in them. Don't divulge too much of yourself because too deep gets too uncomfortable too fast.

It seems these phrases are the code I've learned to live by; don't tell too much of yourself because people simply do not care. So as a little girl I learned such things through interpersonal relationships. I learned to read people, watch their body language, know when to stop. Know when the story gets dull, the anecdote runs dry, interest lost. It's easier, usually, to simply say nothing at all.

But we have a lot to say. We have opinions, desires. We've been taught to express, but to do so neatly. Use your imagination and color beautiful pictures, but stay in the lines. Write your story, please tell it to us in your own words, but you must structure your sentences correctly, punctuate. Sing your song, but stay on key, don't cuss. Tell us about your loss, but keep it light. Telling us to give the beautiful parts and keep the mess, no one wants to deal with that.

Well sometimes I just can't use comas and sometimes I don't finish my sentences, I hate capitalization and a swear word is sometimes needed. And sometimes I sing off key when I'm worshiping because I know Jesus doesn't care if I'm flat. The rules just need to be broken now and again and we need to be free.

Some of the best songs sing about sex and the heart-wrenching heartache of loss and neglect and pain. And they move us. They move us because they hit us somewhere inside in a place that was shut off because no one wanted to hear about it.

We are fallible and week, vulnerable. We need to talk about our losses so that we can make them real and understandable and not so scary anymore. We need to discuss our loves in life so we can appreciate them and indulge ourselves in them. We need to be vulnerable with each other so we can stop fearing what is in ourselves.

This past semester I was scraping for relevant credits and ended up finding a class that counted as one of my generals that had 1 out of the 80 seats open. It just so happened to be a class called "Issues of Death and Grief." I took the remaining open seat.

For those of you who don't personally know me, my dad, Jon Anderson, - my favorite person in the world - died in December in a vehicle accident. In January the class began. And some days I sat in tears, holding back sobs as we talked about the funeral business and cremation. Some days I would get so mad because of a naive comment from someone who had obviously not experienced loss. But I sat through the uncomfortableness and I discussed my feelings with the large group and at the end death was a few degrees less scary than it was before.

So what I'm trying to say is that there are things in our lives that are hard and taboo and scary and unaccepted by those around us. And our family and friends can be wonderful comforters and listeners and understanders but a lot of the time they also aren't.

So if you draw or take photos or create as a form of expression, get an account at www.deviantart.com and share your abilities with other people like you. If you have a secret you need to get out of you but you can't tell anyone else, send it to Post Secret (www.postsecret.com). Writer? Find a blog site and let it fly. However you dot it, get it out into the open. Lay it on the table and dissect it and discuss it and try to wrap your hands and heart around it.

"Sometimes the only honest, healthy, human thing to possibly do is to shout your question and shake your fist and rage against the heavens and demand an explanation. But the wisdom, the kind we find here with Job - the kind that endures, the kind that sustains a person through suffering - that kind of wisdom knows when to speak and when to be silent. Because your story is NOT over. The last word has NOT been spoken. And there may be way more going on here than any of us realize. So may you be released from always having to know why everything happens the way that it does. May this freedom open you up to all sorts of new perspectives. And may you have the wisdom to know when to say, "I spoke once, but now I will say no more."

-Nooma's "Whirlwind," (talking about the Bible story of Job) by Rob Bell.

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