(un)Folding your Clothes

I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.

-R M Rilke

Do you fold? Well I hope so! Those clean clothes need
to be put away nicely!

Are you folded though? Oh my. I really hope not, but like me, I bet you have been. It’s a never
ending struggle.

By “folded” I mean in the sense the poet is using it – that there is some part of us we are
hiding, whether from others or ourselves.

I spent most of my life learning to be folded in ways that were convenient to others.
This is a common condition, whether a person a person is one of “us” or not.

We learn to hide the exuberance we feel as children, lest someone steal our joy.

As adolescents, we learn pretty quickly that to be different makes you a target,
so we hide our differences, learn to smooth our edges and be “normal.”

For work, for friends, we had to hold our tongues, not laugh too loud, not
cry AT ALL, keep our cards close to the vest and show only a poker face.

Some of us (I’m raising my hand here) even folded away the deepest truths
of our souls in order to be liked, to get a little love out of the world.

But there comes a time – sometimes with age, sometimes following a personal crisis –
when we know we have to unfold ourselves or remain forever crumpled up, suffocating,
and only half-alive.

It’s scary, but together we can do it.

It doesn’t have to happen all at once. We can set small goals and reward ourselves and
celebrate with the many friends here who understand.

This week I challenge you to unfold in some way. Go into a store and try on shoes
like you own the place. Start with a thrift store if a department store is intimidating.

Or get all gussied up and go for a drive. (Drive safely!)

Or maybe you’ve done all that. What about coming out to a trusted friend?

There is some part of us deep down inside that is always watching, sees everything, and can’t
be fooled. Every time we unfold ourselves, every time we live in a little more in the truth,
that watcher inside us is proud and happy.

This week let’s resolve to be a little less folded. Feel free to share your experiences in the forums
and let us know how it goes! I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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Ashley Parker

Hi everyone. I'm just learning and beginning this exciting adventure.

Latest posts by Ashley Parker (see all)

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3 Comments
  1. Charee 3 weeks ago

    …and don’t it eel good to Feel Proud and Happy of Who I AM…..yummmmy
    Thanks for this dear
    Namaste’
    n huggles
    Char

  2. April King 3 weeks ago

    Nicely written Ashley. Sometimes I think I folded myself so much I could have been origami! But I am unfolding more and more these days. And although I have my bad days, when I can’t stand myself, I am also loving myself more too. Much easier to share who I am that way.

    April

    • Claire Mueler 2 weeks ago

      Origami was my first thought as well, but I’ve decided my life has been more like a gas station road map. For those who grew up in the Google Maps and GPS days, back in the day we used paper maps when we wanted to find someplace. One of the driving skills you learned was how to fold a map; whether to get it back to its original form or to show just the area you were headed. It was an art form to fold your map so you could see just what you wanted to see at a glance. Like the map, I folded myself so many times so people would see me in a way I knew they would accept, or to hide the parts of me I didn’t want anyone to see. Alas, like the maps, after getting folded over and over again, I’m getting pretty frayed on the seams, but hopefully I have found the right route

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