Why the Bare Issue? A Letter from the Editor
Why look fake when we can look real? That’s the thought that was buzzing around our collective brains as we started this issue. But, of course, let’s not stop at our looks. Why be fake when we can be real? We called this issue Bare because we wanted to chisel through all those outer layers of fake; we wanted to get to the core.
Life has a way of insulating you. Things build up around your soul over time: things as cruel as hurt feelings, broken expectations, or abuse, but also things as innocuous as busyness and apathy. Without concentrated effort against them, every year we add another layer. A layer further separating us from people we care about, from experiencing true empathy, from being able to truly see ourselves and share that with others.
This is our concentrated effort.
It’s incredibly scary to be vulnerable, to stand up and ask people to accept us for who we are with no protection, but that’s exactly what we asked our writers to do.
They wrote about their families, about being okay with a backstory with nary a picket fence in sight. They wrote about making peace with the face in the mirror (and how it can sometimes take decades to get there). They wrote about shirking decades of career and life expectations to say once again: I don’t have it all figured out.
As we were finishing up the issue, I was reading Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown, a classic case of the universe pitching the same concept at you until you nail it into your stubborn brain. Brené talks about belonging, how true belonging means belonging only to ourselves. In the first chapter, she shares a quotation by Maya Angelou that I still can’t read straight on without fearing a breakdown: “You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”
That’s my dream for this issue—that as you read it you will see yourself in the pages and take one step further into trusting yourself, belonging to yourself, or even just getting to know yourself. That you would laugh in the face of the world conspiring to numb you and take that away from you.
We can’t control a whole lot, but we can wake up every day and decide to accept ourselves and others for who we are. The price is high, but the reward is great.