The fear of being visible

Picture this. I am walking through the woods on high heels, in a golden skirt and a bright pink shirt and with make up on my face. I am lugging a suitcase on wheels behind me, and I am carrying several bags. The photographer next to me has all his cameras and lamps in a trolley.

We pass a man who is sitting on a small beach near a lake. His kids are in bathing suits, catching frogs and playing in the water. The man looks up and his eyes open wide in amazement. “We couldn’t decide which bathing suit to wear”, I said, “so we brought them all”.

This is a funny moment on a sunny day with an amazing photographer making amazing pictures of me, outside in nature.

But this is also a stressful day. You know this nervous feeling, when someone points the camera at you, and you don’t know where to look? And you do this for so long that the muscles in your face start to hurt?

Last week the photographer sent the pictures and I looked at them one by one. All 47 of them. I got this same funny feeling in my stomach. There is a lot of me on the screen, and so much is visible. The wrinkles. The extra kilos.

I feel vulnerable. And there is fear. A few weeks ago I found out where this fear is coming from. As you might know, I didn’t have a happy childhood. As bad the atmosphere at home was this tendency of my family members to behave as if we were a normal family. Keeping up appearances, no matter what.

This is the fear behind the fear of becoming visible. I am carrying a dark family secret with me and all my life I have spent a lot of energy making sure that no one will see it. Not even me.

People with a past with too much ACE in it (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are very good at role playing. I became a star actor. It is only since a few years that I started to acknowledge the traumas, and that I have the courage to show who I truly am.

Now that I know where this fear of visibility is coming from, I can make conscious decisions to deal with it. I look the dragon in the eyes and I try to find the courage to embrace it, and then move past it. On good days, the longing of my soul to to escape my inner prisons is stronger than my dragons, and I grow.

“The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, it’s conformity” the Australian video specialist Sue Moses told me last week, and for me anything is better than conformity. After all I am the youngest daughter, but also the black sheep and the rebel in the family. I am breaking old family patterns because I have the courage to do so. Freedom and the adventures on my soul journey are my reward.

Now I also have the courage to become visible. The photographer is still working on the pictures, so I can’t show them yet. I will, soon. I am sure that my dragons will shop up again, but I will do it anyway.

If you also want to work with this photographer I can highly recommend it. He is an artist with original ideas, and he is very kind. He managed to make me feel at ease during the photo shoot, which is an achievement. Now I do like the photos so much that I can’t choose which one to use on my website 😉 You can find him here: https://www.maartenvanderwal.nl/

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