Embraced Exposure

People talk. Some more than others (ok…they can be downright nosy!). There was a time in my life that I didn’t want things to be exposed. You know those little things you try to keep hidden down in your soul? We’re all human. And what I have found in my journey is that the fear of exposure comes from the feeling of needing to be loved, appreciated, or even soul-seen. Who will love you once it’s revealed? Do you really want to be exposed? It’s a gamble.

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

There’s no lack of exposure on T.V. and social media. The career I chose for the first part of my life really had me exposed. The odd thing is that I felt most like me in a school environment or in nature. It did bother me that I was the “face” of a place. There was unnecessary exposure at times. I did feel pressure at times to look and act a certain way and give in to any action that was normal for the group. Thank goodness for kids, teachers, and friends who walked their individual walks like I strived to do. Towards the end of the school years, when my head seemed to begin halting due to some happenings, my heart kept going. Due to my journey I could FEEL what the kids (and adults) felt. I could look into faces of others and SEE their pain and UNDERSTAND. If you’ve been divorced, you understand those going through it. If you’ve moved, you understand those doing the same. If you’ve lost a loved one, you understand those going through loss. If you suffer from illness, you understand others that suffer. IF YOU’RE JUST BEING HUMAN YOU UNDERSTAND THOSE BEING HUMAN. Right? Or I hope.

Saturated in the news and media, particularly in the last two years, are the words “mental health” (more than I’ve heard my entire life). In addition to any physical issues one may have there can also be emotional tolls. Were you raised in an era where feelings were not discussed? If you have read my “Shake it Off” story you’re aware that I received great advice from my Dad to persevere (Mom, too)! Physically speaking I want to be tough. Mentally? I work on it daily with my spiritual AND mental workouts. But that determination, or grit, came from somewhere inside me (between my heart and stomach? My innards?). But being tough isn’t all it’s cracked up to be at times (especially if a “crack” is exposed). I never understood the source; or appreciated it like I do now.

I understand the source now. And I'm never letting it go--I'm going to let it GROW. 

How do I feel about being exposed? I actually hesitated putting a new picture of myself here in the WordPress world-it’s exposure! Oh my goodness–she’s blonde (we all know what that means!😉), “Hmmm, I never expected that look!”, or “She’s a picture of health and vitality!”(I actually heard that when in fact there are days I can hardly function). I’d prefer to walk around in a hat with my writing sweats and flannel on 100% of the time. What’s wrong with me? 😉

Our world today is so exposed that we want to be and look the best at all times. Now to be on social media it pays to be a good dancer?! Or if you’re raising children you can become the #1 TikTok Mom or maybe even be a girl guru for good looks with anti-aging products and makeup tips. I know that everyone is just being human– I’m not judging-be you! I’m just not participating in that manner; it doesn’t make it right or wrong-it’s just peace for me. Which leads me to the hardest part of my new journey–marketing myself. It scares me to “get out there” again. But with faith I will continue to forge ahead. I’m a middle-aged empty nester with cracks in my crust, scars on my skin, strength in my soul, and hope in my heart. I’m just me. I’m human. I don’t care to share I cry at times missing my kids and grandkids (who doesn’t?), I don’t care to share I’ve made mistakes (who doesn’t?), I don’t care if others may not understand my pain or my gain (don’t we all have that?),…but see, I DO CARE–NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK OF ME, but how you THINK ABOUT YOURSELF. It always feels good if people like you, I get that. But when someone is feeling down it could be due to feeling rejected, mistreated, or misunderstood. There was a time I could have given up. I didn’t really want to–I just got tired of feeling rejected or that I had TO BE WHAT SOMEONE ELSE WANTED ME TO BE. And that someone was not God. So I would gear up for the battle between my ego and soul. Don’t get lost feeling like there’s a “normal” checklist you must complete to be a human. When pursuing perfection you may experience being paralyzed.

There’s one gift left under my tree for our gift exchange at my parents’ house. All the other gifts have been mailed to Alaska and Washington (my heart is wrapped in them). The one gift that matters the most to me is the gift of a Savior. The one who has never let me down. The one to whom I’m fully exposed, examined, and exempt from guilt. HE knows my heart. He KNOWS yours. I don’t have to justify any decision; he KNOWS your intent. Do you know him? Maybe you don’t know or believe. We’re only human. But please know this–you are loved. No matter what.

K.L. Hale

I have an exposure story that I was given permission to share. It was a beautiful and unexpectedly warm day in S.W. MO last week (we had a string of spring-like days). I mustered up the courage to load up the car (and Finn) to head to the Grand Village in Branson for another book-signing. A lady walked up to Finn and I and broke down in tears. I immediately jumped up to console her. “May I hug you?” (I know, I know there’s a virus going around BUT STILL…). She shared that she had JUST lost her dog that looked EXACTLY like Finley (she showed me the pic and I cried with her). She felt bad that she had “exposed” her feelings-it was as if she was ashamed. I offered her comfort and a prayer (Finley gave her kisses, too). Before I left the village she walked towards me calling my name. She handed me a bag that contained an ornament that she BOUGHT FOR ME. It made me cry. She told me that God had put Finley and I there to give her comfort. You see, it’s not about a book to me. It’s about a journey. A journey of learning and growing. Another young lady shared that she would like to self-publish. I told her I would help her just as I was helped. I spend HOURS doing what may take someone else ONE hour to do. The learning can be overwhelming. But what is the option? To do nothing. To learn nothing. To sit and pity the pain. That is NOT the life God intended! Here are the pics that I hope make you smile. Several writing friends have shared about “being the light!”…now that’s full exposure!

On a TOTALLY DIFFERENT SUBJECT (because this is how my brain works sometimes) I want to dedicate this post in memory of the WWII Veterans that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor 80 years ago yesterday. I dedicate this post to my own loved ones that have gone on to heaven and to the ones that no longer remember. These are whom I call the greatest generation. Can we work together to make our generation great? I sure hope so. Perhaps we can start exposing more of the exceptional–it’s out there. ❤

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