I suppose if I were to try and pick out a common theme in what I speak and write, this would easily be in the top five: the internal and external pressure to hide who we really are fromâ€“ourselves and othersâ€“is one of the greatest obstacles we must figure out how to dismantle. Over and over again.
Another way to say that would be, vulnerability and honesty about ourselves is what I believe we are called to as human beings. The faking, the hiding, the scheming, the posturing, the bragging and the lying destroy our sense of self and make true community impossible. We lose ourselves behind shadow walls of our own making, and no matter how good we make things look from the outside, we never find ourselves at home. Experientially and spiritually, this has been and will be my lifelong pursuit. I see it part and parcel with my pursuit of Jesus…but Jeannette Walls has pursued this journey for her own reasons, and has done it superbly.
Most reviews of this book center on her Charles Dickens-esque life growing up in poverty, her strength and courage, and the incredible writing skill in conveying the story of her life. All completely true. But after a childhood where she overcame every obstacle, becoming a success in journalism and as a gossip maven for print, television, and the web, one looming barrier remained: she was afraid that if people really knew her past, she would be rejected and lose everything.
Writing this book took courage and strength, to a greater degree than her outstanding writing skills. And the reaction and grace and connectedness she has felt as she completed it (as stated in interviews here and here) has proven again that the pressure to hide and conform and whitewash who we are is what is killing so many of us.
Read The Glass Castle. Then take courage to own your own reality, too.