It's hard at times, opening your mouth;
Believing you have something to say worth hearing.
Remembering we need each other,
And that at times, others even need you.
I often wrestle under these thoughts. And in my searching beneath them, I frequently return to my favorite song by Volcano Choir, called Almanac, for guidance. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-wcu3kfTcY) My favorite part is the end of the bridge, when the tension compiling throughout the album climaxes and crumbles in four words, as he sings the towering line: "Shed skin… for kin."
It gets me every time.
As does the memory of the interview I once watched of Justin Vernon (the writer and vocalist of Almanac) explaining his take on humanity- and how he believes, "nothing is stronger than us, together.”
I think it's true. And I believe he depicts this idea beautifully in this song. His words remind me that the strength he speaks of is only reached when I, and all of humanity, do what we often find most terrifying- of what he further expresses in the axiom of the second line:
"Shed skin... with kin."
Nothing is more terrifying. And nothing will require more from us. But nothing is more fulfilling than what awaits us on the other side of allowing our skin to fall to the ground into the open arms of another.
The shedding of skin. The shedding of skin with each other,
It's writing and art,
truth and love,
brotherhood and family,
sobriety and belonging,
the crucifixion and the gospel:
"Shed skin, for kin.
Shed skin, with kin."
It's intimacy, above all.
The struggle, though, with coming closer, is the shedding of skin is painfully uncomfortable. It's vulnerable and terrifying, but for the sake of intimacy, and our longing to be together- hiding must be forsaken, and acceptance must be held tightly for all man, by all men.
We should accept no other way then together. We should choose that there is no other way than to shed skin, and accept whatever is found, within each other. For true, untamed intimacy is reached only when we choose to shed our masks and layers, altogether, and lean into the belief that nothing is stronger than us together.
So, in writing and in love, in life's joys and amidst my confusion and pain, my fear and insecurity, my sin, shame, and desire to help- I try.
I try to take these words and live them, and when I least feel to the most- to be vulnerable. I force myself to:
Because we're strongest together.
Remember, we need each other.
Remember, someone needs you.