WANTED: Hiding Expert (Bonus: Being Found)

“Five – four – three – two – ONE! Ready or not HERE I COME!” and the epic game of hide and seek starts.

Ha! They won’t find me here! I told myself, knowing I have hidden so well not being able to hear the seeker’s suspenseful countdown.

When we were still kids, my parents would usually take me and my sister to their office during the summer and enlist us in workshops. The office grounds where they worked were so HUGE that it became a playground for a group of hyperactive kids to play in. The perfect place for a competitive game of hide-and-seek.

Finding a hiding place was easy. I just sped off from the rest of the group’s usual spots and settled in a cold, yet surprisingly cozy corner in an unfamiliar part of the building. It didn’t occur to me that I have already wandered too far from the group and ended up getting lost. 

From feeling so proud of myself for being able to hide so well, worry started to creep in as I sat in the corner, watching the sun start to set, waiting for the seeker to find me. Suddenly, a playful game of hide-and-seek became a serious case of finding the missing child!

My sister and my mom formed a search party and eventually, after a few minutes of searching (from their version of the story), they found me! I didn’t know what to say but I couldn’t contain my relief and gladness as I felt tears run down my face. My mom and sister were relieved as well. It was a moment of joy filled with fireworks and celebration. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you! We finally found you! Come here!”

Are You A Hiding Expert?

It’s fun to play hide and seek especially when you’re the one who goes off hiding. It’s easy and the thrill of finding that perfect hiding spot would just drive you over the edge. However, it would really really suck if no one ever found you – like what happened to me.

We also do a lot of hiding in our lives. We hide for many reasons but I think it can be summed into two- fear and shame. We are afraid of what will happen next and shameful of what will be exposed when we finally decide to fully reveal ourselves to other people. 

Some may have hidden themselves so much that they have become experts at it.If there would be a job ad for being a Hiding Expert many would fight over it!

Job Title: Hiding Expert
Job Description:

  • Amenable to a vague work schedule and always on call
  • Ability to prove you’re OK (even if you’re clearly not) in front of others
  • Can say “yes” even if you mean “no”
  • Can fake a smile the whole day or when needed
  • Can overthink one million “things I could have done but didn’t” scenarios vividly in your head
  • Can mysteriously disappear from friends and/or family members in times of great stress
  • Can suppress real feelings especially when sad and/or heartbroken      (Efficient in multitasking being cheerful and being sad)
  • Can hold off tears and deny feelings until you get home
    (Advantage If you can silently weep in the bathroom and come out like nothing happened)
  • Has an “I can do this on my own” mixed with an “I don’t want to be a burden to other people” attitude in dealing with struggle

This job description can go on! Think you fit right in? You’re hired! Hahaha!

This would be the opening spiel of your manager on your first day.

“Welcome to Hiding Experts Co. where you will not “see” anyone even if they’re actually there. Here, you get compensated by getting more reasons to hide and you also get a personal hiding cave on your tenure. Hide and go hide!” 

I have actually done a lot of hiding myself. I’ve had those days where I needed to suck it up even if things are already going downhill. Hiding isn’t wholly a negative thing. There will be times that it is necessary to pull back. It’s ok to hide sometimes but do not stay in your hiding place. The more you keep yourself hidden, the more difficult it is for you to be found.

Ready Or Not Here You Come!

Hiding is easy to do. You just put on an impenetrable mask, stay silent, and fade away. If you did it correctly, no one would notice. You disappear. People would not be able to see the tears you cried at night. People would not be able to hear your opinions, and ideas that can bring good change. Your loved ones would not get to feel your presence and love. No one will ever know how you truly feel about them or if you ever really cared.

Hiding can be a way of coping. What we try to hide behind an impenetrable mask will eventually want to come out one way or another. All that we have suppressed gets stronger and will surface in forms that we would have never expected. That’s why some have sudden emotional outbursts or do things they don’t normally do. It’s our body’s way of releasing pent-up emotions.

A step towards un-hiding is removing your mask. 

Even if you only remove a little part, you will begin to see more of yourself and people will see more of you. Removing your mask is you accepting who you are underneath. Being real with the good, the bad and the ugly and seeing them as gifts that complete a part of the whole. Removing your mask means loving yourself and giving what you do, feel, and say value.

Don’t wait for someone to come find you and take your mask off. Only you can do it. No one will see the real you unless you see your real self first.

Meet yourself where you are, as you are. All of your pieces matter even the ones you try to hide. You know all of their hiding places, and where they all hurt. Your hiding places tells you where you need healing.

Getting yourself out from hiding can be a long process. It will also take a lot of courage to put yourself out in the light to be seen. We are not meant to live our lives in hiding, we all have a need to be seen and to be experienced by others. Don’t dim your light, the world needs the kind of light that only you can shine. 

Bonus: Being Found

I am a hiding expert. I’m the CEO of my own Hiding Experts Co.

Though I may not fully look like it in person, I have hidden so many things about myself from other people. I’ve had many times where I regretted not saying what I truly felt to people I love for fear of being misunderstood or rejected. I’ve had many occasions where people walked over me and opportunities passed me by because I thought my ideas and opinions were inferior. I’ve had a long season where I thought that I wasn’t lovable and unworthy of love.

Since those days I have worked hard to be more at home to myself and remove layers off my mask. 

As the layers came off something amazing was revealed. I now see a person who’s not perfect but tries hard to become better each day. I now see a person who shines and gives light to others who need it. I see a person who has gotten crushed, broken, and bruised but chose to never give up and stand up again. 

When you are revealed to yourself and open up, people around you will see you too. Many will see and appreciate the gifts that only you can give the world. You may not know it but the light you give others can change their life. Your light may have reached their hiding place and saw that it’s better to be true to themselves and shine their light. 

It’s easier to hide these days especially if you’re required to be on quarantine. Only a few more months and the year 2020 is almost over. If you’re hiding something big or small that’s weighing down, I encourage you to unmask it, maybe it’s demanding to be expressed. And if you’re already shining your light for the world to see, keep it shining, have faith –  it’s working! 

I hold my light out for everyone who reads this today. This article wasn’t easy to write for me because it made me feel more vulnerable than I expected. I just had this crazy urge to keep on writing it, maybe someone out there needs it. 

We are all made to shine.
Keep safe and God bless!

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Photo by John Noonan on Unsplash

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