I've lived with these struggles for almost 50 years now, and except for the last two I've hid them from everyone. I've hid them from the world, from my friends, from my family, from co-workers and customers. I hid these struggles from everyone because of fear. Fear of losing my income, fear of losing friends, fear of losing my family. Fear of not being able to face the world. It's only the last two years that I've faced that fear and exposed myself to the outside world. Over the last two years I've slowly taken the facade down. Everyday I show more of me to the world. I'm finally there. I'm finally where who I am matches what people see.
But at what price do I hide myself again. At what price do I retreat and hide. Would I return to the shell if my family could not cope with the struggles. If I lost my job? What if my friends slowly moved away? At what point are my employees future worth more then the sunshine of being me.
I've worked hard the last few months building something I'm actually quite proud of. It's taken everything I've had to finish it. I've pushed my employees and co-workers harder then I ever had before. I've pushed up to and past the breaking point for some, myself included. I've let friendships and family take a back seat to finishing this job. I've worked through every weekend, missed seeing the sun for weeks at a time. I've built this. Yes, others have helped. Yes, they have worked hard and they are tired too. But at the end of the day it's my project. It's my hard work, my vision, my drive that has made this happen.
It's time to unwrap the project and show the world what we have built. The whole team should be and is proud of what they have built these last few months. Yet, I've made the tactical decision to not be there. I'm aware that not everyone is tolerant of who I am, not everyone will be able to look past me to see my work. I'm aware that my presence hurts the chances of success.
I've decide to hid from the world on this. I've decided that the value of my co workers pride is worth more. I've decided that the everyone's financial success is worth more. I've decided that the chance of an early retirement, however small, is worth more.
But worth more then what? What price am I paying for this decision. One week away, I'll be in some other city and 'in hiding' for a single week. How small is that price? I'll trade a week on the beach for the success of my team, my project, and my finances. It's hard, if not impossible, to argue with the logic of this decision.
But then why does it hurt so badly.
Is my ego so large that I can't skip the spotlight for one lousy week. Can I not swallow my pride just this once for the good of everyone and everything.
It's retreating into the shell again. I'll still be Dana, I'll still feel the sunshine on my face. But there is no mistaking the fact that I'm am hiding the truth of who I am. Fear is what is driving me back into this shell. The fear of failure, the fear of not seeing the project succeed. But mostly the fear of looking into a strangers eye and knowing they can't understand. That fear of seeing the moment they 'get it'. The fear of what follows that moment.
People tell me how brave I am to do this, to come out to the world and be myself. How brave I am to face this head on. But i'm not brave, not even in the least. I'm on this path only because it's easier then any other. When faced with the choice of standing tall and accepting what ever comes or retreating back into that shell to protect myself from that fear, I still choose to hide. That is not courage.
In a few days I will get on that plane and head east. I'll know why.
It just hurts.