The curse of an open book

I have always been an open book kind of gal. It has landed me in some wonderful places, and it has also landed me in the dumps.

I still remember when I was little—maybe only seven or eight—and my grandma would take me, my brother and my cousins to the local aquatic center. One time in particular, I remember wandering off to a new part of the water park and plopping down in a rather empty, abandoned pool. I somehow managed to find an adult, who was maybe 40 or so, and I struck up a conversation with her.

By the time my grandma found me, she was frantic. How had she lost her loudest grandchild?! Well, to her surprise (or perhaps, quite the opposite), she found me sitting next to a middle-aged woman having a deep, intellectual conversation about life. I was telling the practical stranger my life story, and though I don’t remember the details of our conversation, I do remember her telling my grandma that it seemed impossible that I was so young. “She’s wise beyond her years,” she told my grandma.

That’s always been me. I speak whenever I have the chance, and I am always sharing what’s on my heart. You could say that I’ve never met a stranger.

Trust issues are not a problem for me. I have always been willing to share my story with anyone that I’ve known for ten minutes, and I hope that I always will be. I love being able to dig into life’s depths, and I love that I am able to somehow bring people out of their own dark, hidden shells. I can’t stand the small talk of this world…I would much rather start off deep and dig my way back to the surface. It gives me life, and it brings me joy.

Sharing life with people, all sorts of people, is my biggest blessing. At times, however, it is also my greatest curse.

In my openness, I tend to share nearly everything. More often than not, this leads me to amazing places and cultivates intimate relationships with amazing people. But occasionally, it just plain sucks.

I share so much of myself that when a relationship falls apart or never even gets off the ground, I’m left looking around with nothing but this open book and my heart on my sleeve. When I have poured my heart into something and it fails, I am left out in the open, feeling shame and sorrow. When I have been left out, ignored, rejected or forgotten, I find myself lost and wandering, searching for clarity.

Being this open book opens up wounds and invites in lies—you know, those “you aren’t good enough” kind of lies—that make me wonder if I’ve done something wrong. Why was I not enough? Why am I alone? Why am I getting hurt like this all the time?

The reality is that being an open book does more than invite others in—it sends all of me out into the world. But this world is broken, and it will keep breaking and fragmenting every single thing we throw out into it. You know what, though? I don’t care. Break me, world.

I love being who I am. I am in constant awe at the people I’ve met thanks to this weird willingness for my heart and soul to be so out there. Perhaps I should learn some restraint, and maybe one day I really will learn how to reign in this immense desire to share life and love and heartache and depth with the world. But maybe I won’t. Either way, I’m okay with that.

I am enough, just the way I am, and I have been given an immense responsibility by being who I am. So, yeah, I’ll probably find myself hurting and broken a few million more times in the next few years thanks to my open-bookness, and I’ll probably ask myself a few million more times why I always feel the need to share myself so much. But at the end of the day, the curse of the open book is not that I find myself hurting more: it is that I can never seem to share and hear enough.