Have you heard of the saying: “In The Hallway” or “In The Meantime”? No longer being who we were, and not yet being who we want to be.
It’s been while since I’ve heard these sayings, and even longer since I’ve actually wanted to acknowledge being in these spaces, as I trudge along my journey of not only self-discovery, but getting back to my true self.
I really like Brené Brown and I so resonate with her work about shame and vulnerability. She delivers the powerful message in such a simple, personal, vulnerable, and authentic way that reaches places of my soul I haven’t traveled to yet.
Reading her latest book: Rising Strong got me thinking about the meaning of “in the hallway” or “in the meantime,” what they meant to me before and what they mean to me now. As I read the following words I come to understand the meaning of these phrases from a totally different perspective.
“We’ve all fallen, and we have the skinned knees and bruised hearts to prove it. But scars are easier to talk about than they are to show, with all the remembered feelings laid bare. And rarely do we see wounds that are in the process of healing. I’m not sure if it’s because we feel too much shame to let anyone see a process as intimate as overcoming hurt, or if it’s because even when we muster the courage to share our still-incomplete healing, people reflexively look away.” — Brené Brown
These words revealed to me the belief I had of being safe alone in the hallway, alone with my skinned knees or new parts of my bruised heart and spirit being open and ready to be healed. I couldn’t show those parts of myself because they weren’t pretty—they were dark, scary, messy, and painful.
“I can get through this alone, and then I can share my triumph of being out of the hallway,” I told myself. “Tell the story with much prettier colors than the ones it took for me to get here.” This story I believed, was easier to talk about and perhaps easier to hear. Or was it?
I think of the stories I have heard and consider that the ones that helped me the most, the ones that gave me the most courage and hope, are the ones where people shared their experience while they were in the hallway—the darkness, the fear and the pain it took to get to the other side. I saw these people as amazing, courageous, beings. I felt as if they knew what I was walking through and that I wasn’t alone.
Reading these stories, and even telling these stories in writing, is not the same as letting people see me this vulnerable, trusting that they will sit in the messiness with me and not shrink back when they see my wounds or when theirs are revealed.
Being in the hallway can be, and has been some of the darkest nights of my soul, and knowing and trusting that I don’t have to be in it alone allows me to be seen by others in my most vulnerable time. I gain strength from their love and support. I see the truth, the beauty, and the gift of not hiding in the hallway, but honoring my wounds and scars for the path they lay before me to greater awareness of my true self, and with greater capability to sit with others while they are in the hallway.