“There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.”― Drew Barrymore
There has been a lot of conversation about vulnerability thanks to a Ted Talk given by shame researcher, Brené Brown. Little did I know when I began writing my children’s picture book, Glory in the Morning, Brené’s work would help me unearth its deeper meaning. Buried in my story, is the universal longing to be seen and believed in. Meaningful connections like that can only be earned by sharing your truth with the world, a concept Brené calls living wholeheartedly.
Glory in the Morning is an accidental allegory of events in my life. I realize now that the fairy I wrote about is actually an aspect of me. When she gets in the way of an angry troll, he casts a spell to make her disappear. The only thing that can save my winged protagonist from fading away is if two believers see her at the same time. I’ve had some trolls in my life too. Being around rage is where I first learned to disappear. My way of going unnoticed was to be perfect. Never making mistakes meant I would be left alone. And alone I was. Even after my perfectionism had outlived its usefulness, I lived in fear of exposure. I kept much of the “real me” secret. Being introduced to Brené’s research was the beginning of an awakening in me. Learning we are beautiful in our humanity, that our flaws are endearing, gave way to sharing my authentic-self with the world. In return, I was given the validation of true connection. With fairies and people alike, the only way to wholeheartedness is through risk and vulnerability. Satisfying the heart’s yearning to be loved for itself has the power to break any spell, even one cast by a cranky old troll.
As I type this, Glory in the Morning is being produced into a picture book app. It should be available in the iTunes store in mid-September. It’s such a part of me, I feel like I’m sending my child out into the world. My hope is that everyone who reads it, will connect to its underlying message. We all ache to be seen and heard. No longer hiding, we fly free.
All text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.