Open Truth Telling – a tandem post


open truth-telling

Fellow Reverb-er (and a bright, sweet person) Bahieh saw this tweet and suggested that we write a tandem post about these tough kinds of conversations. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with her. Her tandem post, “We Need to Talk,” is here. And I’m really glad she suggested exploring this topic.


Rather than crafting a new post, I’ve decided to share my stream-of-thought journal entry, written the same night I sent the tweet. I’ve lightly edited it only to remove names and provide teensy transitions. But for the most part, it’s raw. It may not make a lick of sense. And I’m okay with that.


“The tough, heart-piercing/opening conversations? Trying to dance into those with grace. It’s difficult work.”

This tweet is—for the most part—in response to an email that ripped me wide open. An email from someone that was a once-important part of my life. And the ripping isn’t so much a bad thing insofar as it’s a thing. The heart-ripping is…an experience.




And the email begged a response—a response that I was terrified and resistant to write…but I knew I had to respond. So I wrote. Showed my ripped heart. The words melted off of my fingers in tenderness, but didn’t bow or break. I was compassionate, but firm.


Sharing conversation (even if that conversation is over email) with someone that rips my heart wide open is a deeply freeing experience.


It’s not freeing in a trite, cheesy way. It’s freeing because it means I’m no longer holding on to ideas that I’m scared to share. I’m no longer filtering. I’m no longer telling someone what I think they want to hear. No. Instead, it means complete openness. It means saying what’s on my heart-mind.


And this openness doesn’t always mean brutal, blunt words. Not at all. I’m learning that this kind of Open Truth-Telling is a practice. It’s a practice that requires compassion toward myself and compassion toward the person with whom I’m conversing.


Open Truth-Telling is about giving.


I can give nothing more than my honesty. I have nothing more than the truth I know. And I grow into and simultaneously out of some truths; like a tree, my roots curl through the Earth and my leaves and branches stretch out and up. I move in all directions. I truth-tell in three dimensions. I truth tell in Virtual Reality and in Actual Reality and in night-vision. I truth tell with substance and with the texture of skin.


I want grace in my truth-telling. Like the way that I dance. As I had the heart-piercing conversation, I imagined myself on a dance floor, dancing to one of the heart-wrenching salsa romantica songs that La Candela often croons. The kind of salsa song that makes your heart ache a little, whether or not you understand the words.


I thought about the way I’d move my body, just as the lead female vocal’s vibrato stretched past even the horn section of the band at the end of a particularly long, lingering verse. My slow stride toward my dance partner, before he’d lead me into a right turn, across his body, and then out into a one-handed grip that allows me to sink into my hips. That kind of grace.


Grace is: compassion in the trenches of heartache. Grace is: compassion in the wake of heartache. Grace is: compassion when the heartache reappears after you thought it’d been smoothed out.


Graceful, open truth-telling. Leaning into the edge…and then beyond.



If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Bahieh’s post rightthisveryminute. She beautifully dances into the grounded part of these heart-piercing conversations. What she says resonates deeply for me. Go. Read. - Bahieh << Meet Bahieh. I love her Twitter bio (@bahiehk) for its simplicity—and depth. Plus, she quotes Kahlil Gibran…one of my favorite writers/philosophers:

‘It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.’ – Khalil Gibran. based in Latin America + persian background + currently spending time in Europe.




Putting on My Skin

I peeked out—and when I spotted my three companions—I sauntered out of the dressing room.

One sales person immediately grabbed black, pointy-toe, 3-inch stiletto pumps. I’m not sure how she knew my shoe size.

The other sales person cocked his head, squinted his eyes, pondered. He wasn’t so much sizing me up as he was crafting an art piece of an outfit in his imagination. Then he opened the jewelry case and picked out a chunky, over-the-top, key-and-locket chain necklace.

I fidgeted a bit, tugging at the hemline…but I knew it: the dress was a hit.


Curitiba, Brazil.  Shopping in downtown Curitiba Brazil

I could barely say more than “tem desconto?” in Portuguese to ask for a discount.

Camilla, Rebecca, Mike and I were in a punk designer store.* Lots of asymmetrical black clothing, gaudy rhinestones set in sterling silver chunky rings, and too-high heels. Electronic music—not pulsing—but just enough to make you want to groove a little. No other customers.

When I spotted the dress, I laughed at its absurdity. And then promptly snuck into a dressing room to try it on. Fuschia and black zebra pattern. Crazy, colorful patches hand-sewn onto one side of the hemline: “Gabba Gabba Hey!” and “Motor City Baby” and a patch with a woman’s face outlined on it and the name “Joey.” Short, but with a sweet and fluttery hemline.


Once I donned the stilettos and necklace, the clothing designer himself came downstairs (from what I only presumed to be his très chic design room in the upstairs loft), apparently called down by one of the salespeople.

He looked at me, then nodded his head in approval.

He knew I didn’t speak Portuguese…and really, there was no need for dialogue. It was merely an act of him approving the frame & canvas for his art. I was a frame for his masterpiece outfit. And I felt like a work of art.

I bought the dress, shoes and necklace.


The dress hangs in my closet. It still fits; it’s still stylish. But I’m not comfortable wearing it right now.


My pale skin may as well be hanging right next to The Brazil Dress.

The last many weeks have been full of growth—emotionally, professionally, heartfully. And perhaps more than anything, I’ve recognized the responsibility and leadership I’m coming into. And it terrifies me. So I step out of my skin.

My skin hangs next to the dress. I look at it longingly, knowing it has the power to transform me if only I’d slip it on.

Like the Brazilian clothing designer giving me the nod of approval, so has Zachariah. And Gwen. And Dad. They’ve given me the nods of approval, knowing that if I can wear my skin with a bit of swagger, I’ll be a walking piece of art.

I need to give myself the nod of approval. And then put my skin back on.


*this designer

Announcing: Swaggering Vernacular

So, so, so excited. SO EXCITED!

Over the last month I’ve put on my big-girl pants and I’ve gotten legit. An LLC, an employee identification number, a business bank account—oh my! I’m really doin’ this thang.

Oh yeah—and that little ol’ thing called a WEBSITE.

Fuzzies to those who’ve been instrumental in making this happen: Shelly (my amazing sister who designed the logo!), Brent, Mark & Tim.

Okay, I know you aren’t really reading this. Just click the logo, already!

{Listening to The Roots’ “Sacrifice” as my anthem for launching my new business.}