We’re getting a new fence for our backyard. The existing fence is very old, and I’m 99.999% sure that The Floofinator could easily knock it down. This seems very symbolic to me, as knocking down my own walls by writing this blog has improved my life the way building our new fence will improve the quality of “The StoweAway.”
Over the last two years, I’ve written about things that I never thought I’d share publicly, out of fear of what my friends and family would think of me. Some of these things are deeply personal, and sharing these things publicly was truly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it needed to be done. For years I’ve put some many walls up to protect myself (including using sarcasm, snarkiness and arrogance), and it really took its toll on my emotional health.
I had a conversation with a friend recently that easily could have gone on for hours or days….we started taking about music and life, and my friend shares the same appreciation for music that I do. As we talked and shared stories about our lives (both good and bad), I realized that I felt like I could speak open and freely in a way that a couple of years ago I was afraid to speak. The fear of judgement (even self-judgement) that has always consumed me wasn’t there. As I talked about things like being able to relate musical notes to colors, or how cool it felt to win our high school battle of the bands, or how debilitating it was to go through a very ugly divorce, at no point did I feel afraid or ashamed.
What meant a lot to me about this conversation is that my friend totally understood, as we’re definitely on the same wavelength. I don’t know if I’m ready to have conversations with a lot of my other friends who don’t understand me musically or otherwise, but it was the first time in a very long time that I truly felt like my walls were down. I remember having a lot of similar conversations with my friend Pat Cerello before he passed, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this probably was the first time I felt this way since my last conversation with him 10 years ago.
I’ve been blessed to have “family” that I’ve always been able to talk with openly and honestly, but I’ve still been very self-critical in my head. And family to me isn’t just my immediate family – my friend and former band mate Patty, my dear friend Brenda and my college friend Maria I consider to be like sisters, and Brenda’s husband Marc, and my friends Sean and Rob are my “brothers from other mothers.” Have I truly let my walls down with them? It’s hard to say, but as I go forward, I need to focus on letting the walls down with myself, and not be afraid to let people understand my feelings, my quirkiness, and the things that I truly care about.
Time to build something new, better, and different.