I was painfully shy in early elementary school. As in, other students would talk about how shy I was in front of me and teachers would ask me to speak up because they couldn’t hear me. I had one friend, Tara Cooper, who was even more shy than I was. That was how I would be for the rest of my life as far as I was concerned; shy with a side of Tara Cooper.
I grew up half a block away from the hospital where I was born. My grandparents’ house was a mere four minute drive down 17th Street into Hiker Trace, behind Marr Road and Columbus Shopping Center. Every 4th of July the family would gather in their backyard, the grown ups in lawn chairs, my sister and I climbing trees and chasing lightening bugs, always with one eye on the sky above the JC Penny’s parking lot, waiting for it to get dark so the fireworks could start.
But in the fourth grade, our parents let us know that we would be leaving Indiana and moving to Iowa, six hours away from Marr Road and Hiker Trace and Tara Cooper and the McDonalds where I got my first happy meal.
I stood in my grandma’s split-level house the day we were to leave. It smelled of cigarette smoke, Chanel No. 5 and burnt cinnamon rolls. Familiar. Comfortable. Predictable. Safe. It was the house where I had celebrated every Christmas, birthday and Easter since I could remember. I was in the bathroom and I didn’t want to come out.
Standing there that morning, I remember wishing I could crawl under the sink and stay. Maybe they’ll just leave without me. I can stay here. Under the sink. With Grandma. But I knew that couldn’t happen. We were moving–from our small, Indiana town, where I had lived all my life, where my parents had met and gone to high school, where our cousins and aunts and grandparents lived–we were leaving all things right and familiar and heading to Iowa, the land of all things different. One last trip to the bathroom, and it was time to make the 6 hour drive to what would be our new home. I was 11. And I didn’t want to go.
Every person on earth knows what it is to want to hide in the bathroom. We all have our list of Iowas, those places that are unknown, unseen, and different. We don’t want to go but we know we have to, so we hang tight onto now but know now can’t last forever.
For 31 days, I want to stand on the other side of the door for you, to call out your name and assure you that the influence you have to offer is worth something. And it may be scary and it may involve risk, but there are people in your world who are crouching in the bathroom, too. They desperately need your voice to call them out. Because living in the bathroom is no kind of living.
If changing the world is like taking a trip, then this week it’s all about the packing. For the rest of this week, we’ll talk little about action and more about belief. We may have to spend a few days with the door closed because there are things that must take place in secret before we can go out in the open. We cannot skip this part. But first, where do you see yourself? Are you hiding in the bathroom, standing outside the door, or somewhere in between-ish?
This is the fourth post in a a series. Go here to read 31 Days to Change the World from the beginning. See all of the other 31 Day series happening around the internets. Want to have Chatting at the Sky delivered into your email inbox? Subscribe here for free.