,

I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.

-R M Rilke

Do you fold? Well I hope so! Those clean clothes need
to be put away nicely!

Are you folded though? Oh my. I really hope not, but like me, I bet you have been. It’s a never
ending struggle.

By “folded” I mean in the sense the poet is using it – that there is some part of us we are
hiding, whether from others or ourselves.

I spent most of my life learning to be folded in ways that were convenient to others.
This is a common condition, whether someone is one of “us” or not.

We learn to hide the exuberance we feel as children, lest someone steal our joy.

As adolescents, we learn pretty quickly that to be different makes you a target,
so we hide our differences, learn to smooth our edges and be “normal.”

For work, for friends, we had to hold our tongues, not laugh too loud, not
cry AT ALL, keep our cards close to the vest and show only a poker face.

Some of us (I’m raising my hand here) even folded away the deepest truths
of our souls in order to be liked, to get a little love out of the world.

But there comes a time – sometimes with age, sometimes following a personal crisis –
when we know we have to unfold ourselves or remain forever crumpled up, suffocating,
and only half-alive.

It’s scary, but together we can do it.

It doesn’t have to happen all at once. We can set small goals and reward ourselves and
celebrate with the many friends here who understand.

This week I challenge you to unfold in some way. Go into a store and try on shoes
like you own the place. Start with a thrift store if a department store is intimidating.

Or get all gussied up and go for a drive. (Drive safely!)

Or maybe you’ve done all that. What about coming out to a trusted friend?

There is some part of us deep down inside that is always watching, sees everything, and can’t
be fooled. Every time we unfold ourselves, every time we live in a little more in the truth,
that watcher inside us is proud and happy.

This week let’s resolve to be a little less folded. Feel free to share your experiences in the forums
and let us know how it goes! I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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Ashley Parker

I’m early 40s, southern girl (Georgia!)…have been dressing since I was 7….not sure what all you’d like to know? I love classical music and classic rock…reading, literature, philosophy, psychology…hmmm all things girly?? I love the arts! Book nerd!

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Mona
Duchess
Active Member

Ashley let me be the first to tell what a great article you have written. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is very heartfelt, articulate and the folding analogy is so effective. Hugs and kisses, Mona.

*skippy1965(Cynthia)
Ambassador
Active Member

Ashley, Great imagery here! I know for myself I had folded myself inwards a dozen times over ’til even I myself didn’t realize who I truly was. Over the last five years I’ve been slowly unfolding -tiny bits at a time-letting people see glimpses. I still have ways to go but a lot more of me is visible to the world and a small number of friends and much of my family have seen parts of me that are still hidden from the world. I will follow your advice and continue to unfold overtime until ALL of me is plain… Read more »

Olivia Livin
Lady
Active Member

Lovely article Ashley, much inline with my frame of thought. Thank you

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