Do you remember playing hide-and-seek? After the first game or two you know who you wanted to play with again, you know who was fun and who wasn’t. You knew who you could beat and who you couldn’t. In our childhood innocence, we didn’t want to play with the kid that was hard to find. It was too much work. By the time all but one person was found, you were ready for the next game. You had to look outside your comfort zone to find the person still hiding. And if they jumped out at you and scared you? Sometimes you got mad and swore not to play with them again. Other times you laughed and raced them to the finish. Some people hide so well, you simply don’t want to look for them anymore, so you give up and walk away leaving them behind.

That’s who we are. We are hiders and seekers.

That’s who we are. We are hiders and seekers. We live within our limits. Hiding and seeking depending on the game we are playing that day. I hide in books the more I read the more I am hiding. If you are absorbed in someone else’s life or story, you are not absorbed in yours. You can pretend their story is yours, you can solve the mystery live the romance or, if you were a Stephen King fan, scare yourself silly so all you think about is not letting the vampires in your house. If you can’t get to the next story, you can continue their story in your head to avoid your own. You can let the characters live beyond the page and give them a happy ending.

Where are you hiding?

Where are you hiding? In your bed? A bottle? Work? Someone else’s life?

Why are you hiding?

Why are you hiding? Because you can’t cry at work. Because you can’t look sad. Because happiness and stoicism and far more acceptable than sadness or fear. Somewhere during our evolution, someone decided emotions are private, they aren’t for public consumption. It would be awkward to walk down the street crying. So, we hide.

What are we hiding from?

What are we hiding from? Our pain. Our lives. Our perceived failures. The opinions of others. Our concern for others. Our overextended budget or schedule. Our fear. Instead of reading the next chapter in the book I should be making my way through my own and looking forward to the next chapter. I should be facing my story as bravely as I face others.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. We will talk about mental health this month because it’s safe, but we know our limitations, we will unwittingly hide while we are talking. While your heart might break in half, your pain and loss so extreme, your fear and disappointment so great you feel you can’t possibly bear the weight of it all, you will hide in plain sight. And when you can’t hide anymore, you have to decide who you are when the countdown ends.

Will you be will you be the one who can’t contain their emotions and jump out the minute the game starts because you can’t wait to be with others to share and help each other?

Will you be the one who will make noises, so you are found quickly and don’t have to be alone too long?

Will you be the one who waits patiently and hopefully until you are happily found?

Will you be the one who sits silently in the most difficult hiding place hoping to win by not being found?

It’s okay to hide for a while. It’s not okay to hide until there is no one left on the playground to find you.

Where are you hiding?