Actually, the book has a different answer to that question.
Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? ” I am afraid to tell you who I am, because, if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am, and it’s all that I have.” – John Powell
I’m going to say, right off the bat, that this book is fantastic… but for some reason I don’t understand, whenever I write about it, people flock away. What is it? The title? The notion that “oh no, here comes another one of those la-la self-help books”? Or is it a fear that something said will actually bring about personal growth… and we can’t have that, can we?
I like this book enough to give it another shot in this blog. Will you help me break this curse? You just gotta read… and feel free to comment. If this is off-putting, please tell me why. That’s all I ask.
The first time I read Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? by John Powell it was for someone else. See, I worked in a college, in the disabilities program. I was reading the book out loud onto tape (back when cassettes were in vogue) for a blind student. I’d never heard of it before, which is odd, since it’s a classic. I had to stop several times to walk away, cry a little and catch my breath. It was *that* gut-wrenching to see myself on nearly every page.
My self-esteem was in the toilet. But who hasn’t felt that way? Doesn’t matter why, although the stories are entertaining… you know, if you like to hear stories about a girl with undiagnosed depression and an anxiety disorder so severe that caused her to bite her fingernails until they bled. And other stuff. Lots of other stuff.
I was going back to school in my thirties, after dropping out in my early 20’s to be a wife and mother. I never thought a degree mattered that much since I had a ton of work experience without it… but… really, I wanted to (at least) get my Associates Degree. And so it was. I took 1 or 2 classes at a time while working full-time and taking care of three small children, one with special needs. And I got that degree the year I turned 40. For real. So, yeah, it’s just a dumb 2-year college degree. But I did it! And it’s not dumb.
Now where was I?
Oh yes, so, I read this book out loud, which forced me to hear it. More than that… I listened. There’s something very powerful about hearing yourself say the words you need to hear.
I loaned the book to someone who never returned it. I have a digital copy but it’s not the same thing (it never is. I am an advocate for the printed words I can hold in my hands). My copy was dog-eared, with worn, yellowed pages. I will tell you that what I remember most from the book was that everyone wears masks in their day-to-day lives. I remember feeling freed by that knowledge, because I thought I was the only one.
As you’ve figured out, I’m sure, I have gone through cycles and seasons of self-growth. Am I in another one? Yes, actually, but it’s a whole different bag. Maybe because I’m now an old bag. (Haha! I make me laugh!) What I mean is that I no longer feel bound by what others think. I simply no longer care in the ways I did when younger. Honestly, I’m in the best years of my life… except for the bad knees. Those, I could do without!
Did we break the curse? Are you still with me? Please give me a like to let me know you were here. I will send some good juju your way, too.