News flash: I am growing up.

Growing up comes in steps: learning to read and write, learning not to tell your mom she has a “big mouth,” graduating high school, having to cook for yourself three times a day.  The latter being my most recent advancement.

Less than a month ago I moved into my own house.  No more dorms, no more parents.  Just me and five other girls (it’s not as bad as it sounds because these girls are clean and not annoying).  I share the master bedroom with my friend and for the past month our room has been unfinished.

Furnishing an empty house is quite an undertaking.  You start with nothing and use your creativity and money to make it fun and livable.  Within two days of moving in, all of my furniture was set up and my clothes were in my closet.  Boom done.  Except for the pile in the corner.  Don’t mind that pile.

In fact, that pile stood neglected for several weeks.  Both me and my roommate had separate piles in separate of personal items that would make our room look nice and loved had they not been sentenced to the pile.

Why do we do that?  Why do we stop at 95 percent?  This isn’t just an interior design problem.  This is a people problem.  I attribute this problem to fear.

When I think of something I fear most, it is relationships.  Developing meaningful relationships with others is a fear of mine so I often stick to surface-level conversation and steer conversations away from getting too personal.  I allow people to see 95 percent of me.  What if the other 5 percent is a turnoff?  What if that 5 percent is the reason a friend stops speaking to me?  What if that 5 percent shapes a negative image of me in others’ minds?  What if, what if, what if.

“What ifs” are a fire-breathing dragon guarding the core of who I am.  The crazy part is, I don’t even like the dragon.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that someone offered me their complete self.  All 100 percent.  No fire-breathing dragon.  How raw and beautiful it was to see everything.  There was no wondering, no confusion, no secrets.  Complete openness.  And so, I shared my whole self.

Why does it take us so long to unpack all of our things?  Why do we ignore part of us like a pile in the corner of our room?  What is it going to take for us to go all in?  It takes fearlessness.  We are too afraid to wholly invest ourselves in a place or in a relationship.  But if we never do, we will dwell in fear and loneliness.

Though we are afraid, there is a desire within us all to share who we are with others.  Sharing takes hard work and vulnerability, but our reward is friendship and love.  People want to be invested in and to invest in others.  From this openness come honest relationships, which are the fruit of committment and trust.

When I unpacked the pile in the corner of my room, I committed myself to the year, to the people I am living with, and to place I will be for the phase of my life.  I committed to growing up and to not hold back the little piece of myself that was afraid in the corner.

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