Edward’s Story: I Am Afraid To Be Seen

This past weekend at Beloved Festival I took part in the Vulnerable Rally. From the outside this didn’t seem like that big of deal. However, this turned out to be one of the most profound experiences of my life. 

The simple premise is to write something vulnerable about yourself on a piece of cardboard, and then just stand there holding it. People in the area can participate in whatever way they want: some smile and move on, some offer advice, some offer hugs, some offer their own vulnerabilities, and many offer their compassion. 

I held up this sign which read “I am afraid to be seen” for about an hour. During that time I had so many people come up to me and hold eye contact for a really long time. It was deeply touching. Some people offered just a hug and left. Many people told me they saw me and that I needed to be seen. Many people shared that they were also afraid to be seen. One person shared how he had seen me earlier offering a prayer to the communal fire and how touched he had been by that. One person told me how important it was that they saw me with my sign and how it helped heal something deep inside them. Some offered advice and encouragement and some just offered their presence. One person jokingly bumped into me and said “Oops, I didn’t see you there” before giving me a huge hug & a smile. The entire hour was filled with love. 

Sharing something vulnerable like this to strangers created something special. People felt safe to share their own stories and felt like they weren’t alone. I soaked up the compassion and understanding, and offered my own back. I feel like this experience healed some deep wounds in me and will help me show up more fully in this world. I also feel like I am able to see other people much better now as well.

Thank you Candice Dawn and Gabriel Diamond for creating such a simple and magical experience!

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