An Open Book

“When in doubt go to the library.”J.K. Rowling

A woman once said to me in a conversation: “I am an OPEN BOOK! I have NO secrets! Ask me ANYTHING. I’ll tell you.”

I’ve thought a lot about that sentence over the last few years. It bothered me in the same way a hangnail will bother me. Incessant until taken care of.

Sidebar: Why is it that I only notice the hangnail in times where no nail tool is in my vicinity! Like when I become the MOST comfortable in bed…and “just” before I fall asleep… hangnail. UGH!

Similarly, something of a “mental hangnail” for me was the phrase this woman said. After many bothersome nights, I’ve concluded this is “essentially” why it didn’t sit right with me.

I think we are all about as open of books, as FBI files on controversial topics are “open” to the public. This is not as cynical as it sounds. Hear me out.

Either via selective sharing, biased angles, time restraint to encapsulate the full event, lack of practice explaining, or memory lapses…most of our stories shared with others will only ever be fragments. The entire report is not visible. Maybe it cannot be. Others are purposefully blotted out in black. Marked “top secret” or “classified.”

When people claim to be an open book to me, I want to tell them that they are SO MUCH MORE than ONE BOOK! We are pages upon pages, being filled daily, organized into many different books that make up a library of life. Every library is a little different. That’s what makes it so interesting! I am fascinated by them all.

For example: I am a library with a BIG section called: “questions and curiosities.” I seem to not be able to fill the shelves in this section… they are “Mary Poppins bag” endless. 😉

Other “sections” of my personal life library are pretty common to all humans, although the specific titles on the shelves and what is written inside make up for the uniqueness that is everyone’s library.

They are things like; Romance, Horror, Fantasy, Self Improvement, Best Sellers, Humor, Finance, Religion, History, Politics, The Childrens Section, Pop Culture, Travel…

It is not wrong, or bad, but important (especially now in the age of information and technology) to remember that people control the display at the front of their own libraries for others to witness. They pick their favorite sections to promote, chapters to highlight, and books from their library. That is what we are seeing at first glances of others through our voyeuristic window. We are seeing the display they have cultivated for us to see.

Maybe it takes a lifetime to learn the library of another person. A worthwhile pursuit sure, but it probably would be wise to stay curious and open with each other in pursuit.

We really know so very little. We really have so much more we can learn.

One of my favorite quotes of ALL time (Yes, that is a strong statement) is from Sir Frances Bacon. It reads:

“It is a sad fate for a man to be so well known to everyone else, and unknown to himself.”

I’d kindly remind you of two things today.

1) Naturally, you will rarely be given access to the whole collection of a persons library. Be grateful for what you learn, and be open to learning more. Their shelves are changing, and their books are still filling up for them everyday as well.

2) Think of how often you manage and pay attention to the books filling up in your own library. Ask questions like: Are the sections with many books filled where I want to spend my life? Is there a section that could use more attention? Is there a statement needing revision? Is there an important formative book I ought to reread to learn more from?

We are the authors, the librarians, and the characters. All in tandem. We come in and out of others books. In someone’s story we are a villain, in another’s we are the hero. In most, we are just a background number, an “extra.” Some libraries link up into intimate relationships like hotel rooms connected by that double separating doors.

I never claimed to be an open book. I am a library. You are a library. We are so many blank pages of opportunities and stories and experiences and sections yet to be filled.

As always sweet thing,

Love in. Love out.

-Aubrey

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