The Sunkissed Life


Jahara Stevenson

Life is a world wind. I am in a fun season of life. Things are meshing and going together the way I've been praying they would. While things are coming along, with meshing comes healing, with healing comes revisiting. Revisiting places that have been closed off and knocking down some walls. That is slightly terrifying for me. Terrifying because that puts me in a space of vulnerability and a state of exposure. Being emotionally naked requires a very strong person. There's a stigma associated with emotions. Society has labeled experiencing and acknowledging feelings as a weakness. Therefore we often, even in our subconscious, suppress or intentionally experience surface emotions and label that as good enough and move on. I often place people at an arms length distance away the minute I meet them without them even realizing it so that they can only get but so close. It wasn't until last night, I was having coffee with a friend and we were unintentionally being very candid and exposed, did I realize it is possible for people to be in relationship with me without wanting something from me. Not only is it possible to not want anything from me, it's possible to want to be in relationship with me as a friend and simply just want to love me authentically and without judgment. It is possible for someone to "See me" and still not pry or want to gain anything other than a friendship. Once that level of comfort is reached then there is almost a want and desire to let that person see and learn more about my heart. It then becomes easier to take some bricks down and slowly tear down my emotional walls and let myself be seen without something guarding me, because it's a choice I made not them. During this coffee date I was reminded that I can reveal something about myself and someone can still look at me and love with no expectations. Sharing struggles, victories, hard times, and good times with friends and unpacking life out loud is so healthy and so important, but we often don't because it's too revealing. Being that emotionally naked is a place we don't want to visit. I woke up yesterday and challenged myself to "not add anymore bricks". In my life, that means not shutting certain doors and closing off people that are trying to get close. Now, everyone who tries doesn't necessarily deserve to be invited in, but when there's sincerity and authenticity in someone's relationship building and a judgment free and real christian love being offered it's okay to accept the olive branch. Most importantly, it's not a race to disclose. Friendships shouldn't be a race to see how fast you can get someone to tell you their story. Ultimately, what does it matter if you know their story? Yes we all like to feel as though people trust us and feel comfortable enough with us to reveal vulnerable places in their hearts to us, however we subconsciously act on an agenda to get that instead of truly creating a safe strong environment that naturally ushers in a mutual understanding of love which then can lead to a desire to disclose. We don't owe it to anyone to tell them deep parts of who we are, all we owe anyone is organic, sincere, truths. If I live in my truth and build a real friendship with someone that's not based on expectations and assumptions, there will come a time where I will feel comfortable enough to strip some layers and show them me without even having to think about it. When the relationship is so real and the trust is so sincere and there are no strings attached, the willingness to disclose and unpack happens naturally. See typically, with this friend I went to get coffee with, every time we hang out I don't get too deep with anything about me. The more and more we hang out one on one and in groups or exchange texts and I see and hear them speak there's a trust and connection building. I'm not thinking, "Okay I feel closer to this person", it just happens. Then eventually a part of me gets to a place of, "I want them to know this about me because this is an area of life I want to unpack, and I want them to be apart of it." I had that thought last night and because I usually don't feel that way towards too many people, I remembered my challenge. "Don't add any bricks". Once I had the thought and feelings of I want to share, running away from it would have been adding more bricks, more distance. Instead of building higher, I left my pile of bricks on the side and went with it. Every part of it felt right, every part of it felt natural and after our conversation, part of me felt free. The freedom I felt wasn't because I shared something about myself, but because I allowed someone to see me in an emotionally naked state. The challenge wasn't to share. The act of sharing information is easy because in my mind, as I'm talking I can easily disconnect and envision it being more of a story from a book or movie being retold rather than an experience being relived. There's a huge difference. In our conversation, I wasn't retelling some fictional character's story, I was reliving my truth. When I allow myself to enter a state of reliving my truth I am now 100% attached and wrapped in my words as a tangible part of the experience. With that comes the original emotions from the experience, or vivid images, real feelings. That also means that there may be a trigger. If I haven't fully dealt with it, there could be a trigger that then sparks visual emotion. Anyone who keeps people at an arms distance understands the idea of making sure they don't visually share emotion. That shows a weakness, or so we think. When in reality it shows your heart. I allowed myself to be so real and raw in that moment that I did not disconnect and stop the visual emotion. The experience was freeing. I went to a place of living in my truth and was not rejected. I lived in my experiences and was not judged. I was emotionally naked, vulnerable, and exposed and I was received. Most of all, I was seen. That was a huge first step down a path of trust, love, growth, and forgiveness. It became okay to not punish every person for someone else's mistakes. It was okay to be more than a pretty face, and it was okay to be a real person. Someone saw my heart and loved me with no expectation. That's a place of love that I want to walk in. That's the place of friendship I want to live in. That's what we need to live our truths.