It’s Validating to Empower People to Embrace Their Authentic Sparkle

Life is but a sunbeam caught within a mortal coil

Walter Rhein
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readDec 19, 2023

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Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash

I’ve lived many lives in my almost five decades on this Earth. In one of my lives, I was so quiet that I could barely speak in public. Looking people in the eye was out of the question. Many of the things I wanted felt like they were beyond my reach.

At the time, that was a life of embarrassment and despair. However, I’ve come to think of those years with a certain fondness. I’m hesitant to say that shyness is something I’ve “overcome,” because that implies there’s something wrong with how I felt. I didn’t “overcome” those feelings because those feelings haven’t gone away.

They’re still in me. They still come out from time to time. I don’t fear or resent them. The only difference is that now, I’ve lived more lives and have more responses to choose from when I determine how to interact with the world.

As I waited for my daughter at the dentist’s office, a girl came in with her mom. She reminded me of myself when I was her age. The way she moved suggested she didn’t wish to be noticed so I discreetly turned away. Quite a few kids take on a form of camouflage. They wear loose fitting clothing that’s either brown or gray. Their hair is unkempt.

I behaved like a clown when I was that age. I made exaggerated motions when I moved. I tried to mimic the rolling stride of cartoon characters. I did these things to deflect attention. I did it so I wouldn’t be perceived as a threat.

These are physical cues that send the message you don’t wish to be taken seriously. When I was that age, I wished only to be ignored. When you sense you won’t be accepted, you adopt a means of hiding.

In literature, the court jester is the only one who can get away with speaking the truth. Other characters are beheaded. The jester endures. The same is true in a rural household where the father sees his sons as potential challengers to his throne.

“Are you challenging me?”

If you walk like a clown, it’s never seen as a challenge. Children are survivors. They might not be consciously aware of it, but they adopt behaviors that spare them from beatings.

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Walter Rhein
Human Parts

I have 10+ years experience as a certified English and Physics teacher. 20+ years of experience as an editor, journalist, blogger and novelist.