Part of Holley’s bio on her blog lists her as an “encourager”, and that’s how she comes across in her chapter. She writes about an evening of girl talk where everyone shared something personal about themselves, or their lives, that they don’t pull out very often. I think in using that example, as well as a previously published blog post and example comment, is her way of letting people know that it’s good for the soul to share that intimacy with others.
“Our souls need to circle up on couches, to climb in the car for a ride to school, to put our fingers to the keyboard and tell the people who love us how we’re really doing” (page 167).
Holley mentions the need to remind yourself and others that you’re human and it makes me wonder what makes people forget. I think that there’s a commercial culture that sucks in unsuspecting consumers. Strategic marketing gives people this idea of how they’re supposed to look, live, talk, and behave. They start to lose the core of who they are when they’re trying to be like the strategically packaged moments of someone else.
Holley talks about the source of joy. Many people have talked about joy in this book, and they have their own idea of where it comes from. Holley says it comes from sharing with people.
“That’s the real secret: joy comes from community, from connection. It spills out from the places we think we have to keep locked up inside. It finds its voice in two little words, “You too?” For when those words are spoken we remember this: We’re human” (page 168).
Maybe this is why people get so tired, feeling like they have to hide who they are and pretend they’re someone else. This could be why people get so upset when something snags their plan, because they’re desperately trying to keep up with who they have put above them. It might be why people fight feelings of inferiority, they have no idea who they are because they’re trying to turn their lives into their perception of someone else’s. Maybe that’s why those moments when someone breaks down and admits they have a pulse is so refreshing for those who thought they were the only ones left.
We, as humans, have this path of self-realization that we’re always on. You can’t move forward without, first, accomplishing the steps you’re on. Holley’s chapter seems to be addressed to people who are still trying to find their place in a human group. They’re still working on being loved and having a sense of belonging.
People may get stalled here because they’re putting forth some identity that they think is more worthy than their own. Maybe the identity they’ve fabricated gets the affirmation, or “likes”, they want, but because it’s not penetrating the facade, the human need is still there.
There is so much more “joy” to be experienced, so much more life-giving work to do, when you can lay aside what you think people want to see and realize that you’re your own kind of awesome. You’ll get the sense of belonging that you’re looking for when you are yourself. People can see the mask, anyway. It doesn’t match the color of the neck.
Only after you realize that you’re loved and that there’s a spot for you, you’ll experience the achievement and respect and self-esteem that you crave. It’s then that you can thrive in your own creativity and morality with mutual love and acceptance.
The 27th chapter of Soul Bare was written by Emily P. Freeman. She titled it, “Gravity”. I’ll write my thoughts about that chapter next.