This hiding carried over to face-to-face encounters as well. I wanted to meet new people, wanted to be the social self I had once been; but felt like I had scars covering my face and body since my husband's suicide. I felt I had the words "suicide survivor" tattooed on my forehead. It's strange what suicide does to the people left behind. For me, it left invisible scars both inside and out. These scars manifested as me shutting people out, gaining weight, sabotaging career opportunities and hiding behind closed doors.
Tonight I realized how much evolution I have experienced in the past twelve months. With those shaky fingers of a year ago, I managed to poke into the virtual world inch by inch. I am just as amazed when I connect with a former college friend as when I connect with a stranger from the other side of the world. What fascinates me has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with being accepted as I am in the here and now with my baggage in tow.
You may look at me and not see these scars...but I know they exist beneath the surface. The difference is I no longer hide them. Through this virtual world I have learned to show my scars and to appreciate them as signs of survival rather than weakness. Experimenting out here in the anonymous world of the internet has ironically given me confidence to drop the anonymity.
I know a lot of people who are also in hiding for their own reasons. Perhaps they have been betrayed and are scared to trust. Perhaps their heart has been broken and they are too afraid to open it up again. Whatever the reason, I am not the only one out there who has been hiding a part of themselves.
Hiding is a waste of time that none of us can truly afford. Safety in the shadows is overrated. Trust me...it's much better out here in the light, even if the light illuminates our most heinous scars.