I'm in writing class today, counting the goosebumps on my arms because the window wayyyy up near the ceiling is open and I'm cold. The teacher announces that the next free writing topic is called "The Life Not Lived." It sounds ominous. And personal. I immediately feel myself withdrawing.
We're supposed to write about something we never did, but wished we had. The road not taken. Sigh. Even though I've gotten to know my fellow writing compatriots, I'm not one to bare my mistakes easily; not to strangers, not necessarily to friends, sometimes it's even hard with Drew and family. I feel like as soon as I say, "Looking back on it now, I should have..." What if I expose a very vulnerable part of myself to someone who (you never know!) stomps all over it? Ouch. Who in their right mind would want to do that?
As we read our accounts - the real versions and the fictionalized "What if's?" - I'm shamed. These people are honest, so incredibly honest. The woman across from me began by warning us that she might break down and cry. Then she shared about how deep in her gut, she knew at the time that she should not marry her boyfriend. But through misguided loyalty and a failure to truly explore her feelings, she found herself in a loveless, childless marriage for fifteen years. The older man to her left told us how he could have marched with Martin Luther King, but didn't. Another lady expressed a longing to have traveled to exotic locations when she was young and unattached.
Their stories were so poignant and honest. How does one share so openly, so freely, with a group of strangers?