We know even when we don't know.

Having my son gave me the big kick in the ass I needed to "crack open" – as my friend Molly so eloquently writes in her book, Cracking Open. I had been cleaning up the edges of my life, peering with one twisted eye into my core, and over the ledge of a very long dark road I knew someday I needed to walk – dark because it was unknown.

Isn't it true that we always know, deep inside, what is best for us, or where we belong, or what we were put on this earth to do? Maybe we are a little unclear as to what it looks like exactly, but we know, and we beat around the bush until the day we throw up our hands and say, "OK I'll do it, I'll do it!"

I know. You know.

We all know even when we don't know.

We wear masks until we're ready to reveal that which we have always known.

I do not want to die with the knowing still inside me pounding furiously on my rib cage to get out. I see her in there, wide-eyed, and hungry, like an unfed child, almost to the point of starving, just wanting a sip of water.

She stares at me with her compassionate, yet anxious eyes in the early hours of my day and as my day winds down after I put my son to bed, she’s always there, yearning for me to pay attention to her. Her ribs are now beginning to show, her jaw a bit sucken in. She’s angry. Angry because she hasn’t been fed in so, so long. Pissed doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I want to die having danced arm in arm with my knowing. I want to get tangled up in life with my knowing, I want us to climb mountains and I want us to fall down. I want us to dig to the bottom of the earth and I want us to taste the top of the sky.

I've been hiding for awhile and it's time, "OK, I'll do it, I'll do it."

I'll be me.

As a senior in high school, I even opted to not put my senior picture in the yearbook because I did not want to be seen.

When I was younger, I never wore shorts because I thought my skin was too pale.

I always thought I was fat, even though I was skinny. Always wearing t-shirts over my bathing suit because I did not want to be seen.

I never thought I was enough – not ever, not ever.

And it’s not like my hiding stopped after high school either. I was critical of myself for years.

Until recently, I still felt like that girl who would hide under t-shirts, in closets, in meetings, deep away in the dark.

Where on earth did I get the idea that I was better off hidden away somewhere?

I picture my son hiding and I cringe. I don’t ever want my son to hold back. I want him to enter a room with his head held high, feeling equal and enough to everyone else in the room.

I don’t want him to hesitate with stating his opinion and showing his heart in a meeting, across a dinner table, at school or to me.

Because I want to be the best version of myself for him, no more beating around the bush for me, no more hiding behind my work, and no more hiding behind my excuses. 

Shelly Roby