The Truth of Who I Am

"Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free." -Eckhart Tolle

It’s Spring Break and I Had Time to Chip Away Some More

on March 21, 2013

Hi again! Kinda soon but why not? I’m going to milk my enthusiasm for all it’s worth.

Well that was exciting to create a blog site and actually post a blog and then tell people about it. I spent the first couple of hours checking back to see who’d read it and what they thought about it. But then I calmed myself down with a reminder that this is only ever going to be about me sharing my truths and inviting you to share yours. There can’t be any judgment about myself regarding what I write and share here. For me, this life has to be lived as openly as possible and I am going to spend the rest of my life chipping away at the armor. It’s hard to really see people and the world and what’s beautiful and what’s not with an armor shielding me from all of it. So I’m going to work on chipping away at it until there’s nothing left to hide me from the world or to hide the world from me. Chip, chip, chip.

I just finished reading, “Daring Greatly” by Brenè Brown and it seems like this synchronicity thing might be real because her name and her ideas have been coming up for me over the last few months like a rainstorm! In fact, two nights ago, I saw her on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday series and I got a glimpse into the author as a person and fell a little in love with her. Her work has been all about vulnerability and shame, which she says is the key to living your best life. That’s deep, isn’t it? That being vulnerable is actually an act of courage in the midst of fear. As I type this and consider the possibility of sharing it with people I know, I feel that fear. I get that many of you are probably writers and sharers and this may seem so trivial to have fears about sharing my writing. Heck, even my work revolves around writing since I’m an educator and have published work based on my research. This feels different, though. This feels like taking off my clothes in a public place. And, no, I have never been a stripper in my life and hold no judgment about people who are in that line of work so I don’t really know what that would feel like. I think they are pretty gutsy to do it. Sharing my truths just feels like what I think it would feel like to take my clothes of in public. Because no matter how cute those clothes are, it’s what’s under them that matters and it’s hard to show it all off to the world.

Getting back to my point, I think there’s a lot of truth to the idea that vulnerability is our driving force. When I was ten years old I found a card I wanted to give to my parents to wish them a happy anniversary. This was not something usual for us to do in our family. You have to understand that I grew up with four siblings and parents who did everything possible to ensure you had a tough skin. Fierce loving and loyalty, but never a mention of it to each other. We NEVER told each other we loved each other. EVER. So there were the words at the end of the card stating, in bold letters, “I LOVE YOU.” I loved the card and I so wanted to tell my parents that I loved them but the words staring at me from the inside of the card just scared me. I imagined giving it to them and then feeling naked and hot and embarrassed. I imagined my siblings reading the card and all the things they might say about how sensitive I was. Really, y’all, this was painful. I decided I’d try to erase the one sentence and when that didn’t look right (for so many reasons), I tried to draw a picture over the words with a black marker. Then, because it was a tri-fold card, I tried cutting out the middle part with the words and writing my own message on the inside. Then I just gave up and hid the card and never gave it to my parents.

I remembered that incident often and very vividly as I grew up and eventually ventured into telling my mother I loved her and telling my sister the same. This only happened after I was a long distance away from them in college and saying ‘I love you’ over the phone as opposed to when you’re looking someone in the eye is so much easier. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I woke up one morning and decided that I just had to tell each of my first family members exactly how I felt about them and what they meant to our family. I went to my email and typed and typed and typed for a long time. Most of the time I was typing through the blur of my tears. Tears of love and gratitude and sweet memories of my first family. When I was done I clicked the ‘send’ button. (If you’re interested in the actual letter, you can read it here). Immediately after doing that I sat and stared at my screen and felt naked (I really had gotten dressed before getting to my computer) but happy. I took a deep breath and then swam in my vulnerability. I reminded myself that telling them all I told them was an act of courage for me and their response (or lack of a response) would be what it was and do what it did, but I was going to have no regrets. And I didn’t. Not once. For what it’s worth, I have yet to see any of them face-to-face but I’ll deal with that in July when I see them again. In the meantime I’ll be chip, chip, chipping away.

Truthfully yours,



4 responses to “It’s Spring Break and I Had Time to Chip Away Some More

  1. stewart says:

    Rhina, what an absolutely wonderful letter … I felt your tears of joy … kind of a therapeutic release of love.

    • justrhina says:

      Yes! Exactly what it felt like. I know you get it, Stuart (this is how you spell it, BTW). I named you so I have the right to tell you…or maybe someone needs some new slippers this Christmas.Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. nicole says:

    your letter to your family was truly touching…

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