“Nothing stirs a soul so mightily as two polar emotions, singularly enthroned. Love unconditional or the tiny terror of something unknown.” – D.M.
So, here it is. My tiny terror. Something new, exciting and far out of my comfort zone. This will be my unveiling. I am unfolding the raw, tender petals of a woman no one knows exists. Erica Ruhe, the writer. Sharing my personal creativity has been a challenge. It’s comfortable to create something no one can criticize or ridicule. It’s safe to create something for yourself and never share it with the world. But over time, this comfortable, safe approach to my work has felt incomplete.
I’ve always felt a little bit behind the rest of the world, a late bloomer, if you will. From a young age, there was a disconnect between me and the rest of society. I honed my survival skill of fitting in, making small talk and attending social events. That’s what normal people do, right? It didn’t come naturally to me, so I faked it. As long as I kept my mismatched petals from popping out, I could pass for any kind of flower. That was the beauty of being an inconspicuous bud on the tree.
Occasionally, I got comfortable and opened up my septal shell, showing a hint of my true colors. I wasn’t quite sure what species of flower I was because I’d never opened my petals far enough to find out. But I tried. When the judgments and questions began, I realized I wasn’t like the other roses around me. Those moments were the painful reminder to ‘quiet my crazy’ and go back to being a bud.
This went on so long I had convinced myself and everyone around me that I was a bud. I felt the only shred of authenticity in my character were my flaws. At the edge of a failed long-term relationship, a non-existent career and declining health, I realized my camouflage and ‘survival’ skills had ultimately failed me. This wasn’t how I was going to live the rest of my life. It was time to grab my excuses by the collar and show them the door.
Now, I am in the middle of a very long, very emotional epiphany. I have spent the past few years trying to get to know this woman inside, for she has kept hidden a cache of intimate longings, passionate inspiration and disturbing secrets. Even from me. This woman does not have all the answers, but she listens. She does not express herself well in public, but she knows exactly what she wants to say. The more she reveals, the more I’m aware of an inevitable step in my own evolution. Like the moment before a water molecule becomes steam, I feel my spirit buzzing, anticipating, eager to expand. Labor pains of consciousness are preceding a new birth of self I never saw coming. My spring has finally arrived.
So, there it is, dear readers. My first step in a long walk to self-discovery as a writer in the public eye. I’ll face my tiny terror, nausea and all, to finally open up and share a few words. My hope is that something you read here will speak to you, stir an emotion, spark an opinion.