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I sometimes have my period and other things I shouldn’t tell you

by Alison Rosen

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the urge to be open and transparent versus the urge to hide and protect. I’m someone who believes the way out of uncomfortable feelings — or rather, one of the ways out — is to simply let go of the need to present a tightly controlled image and instead discuss most everything publically. I do this on my podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend,” on “The Adam Carolla Show” and in writing. At worst, it constitutes a T.M.I. (not everyone cares to hear about my period, though I continue to discuss it at length) and at best it’s therapeutic.

My most embarrassing moments — only a couple of them involving my period — have all been discussed on the podcast along with my fears, insecurities, vulnerabilities and risible flights of fancy. There’s a strength in taking the thing you’re most afraid of sharing, the thing you’re sure that if exposed would change the way people regard you, and just blurting it out. And the best part, the thing that convinces me that more people should do this, is the stream of emails I get from listeners telling me how much it helped them to hear me speak honestly about things people normally conceal.

I don’t come from a world that encourages this. The majority of my family is much more private. They are of the school of thought that says there are certain things you discuss publically and certain things you don’t because it’s simply not safe to be open. You’re allowed to be open within the family — that is safe — but out there with strangers you have to pretend to be something you’re not. Something a little less fallible and a little less vulnerable and a little less genuine.

It’s not the worst message in the world. And for all I know it might allow you to get ahead in business or avoid being the target of schoolyard bullying. Perhaps historically this kind of fundamental distrust was necessary for survival. But at this point, the idea of pretending to be something I’m not offends a very core part of me because the suggestion is that who I really am — who we all really are — is somehow not OK and if there’s one thing I hope to impress upon people, it’s that whoever you, exactly as you are, is OK.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t grow and change, because we all should strive to better ourselves. For example, the person I wish I were doesn’t wake up in the morning, take the big pile of clothes that are on the floor and plop them on the bed and then reverse the process before bed. The person I wish I were uses her dresser. Also the person I wish I were doesn’t have to sift through a pile of old envelopes, magazines, empty plastic baggies, six duckling stickers, a scrunchie, a dried out ball point pen, a packet of artificial sweetener and a remote control to a stereo I no longer use to find my missing Velcro roller.

But it’s not just about organization. Maybe it’s a generational thing. People that believe in a strict divide between public and private likely didn’t come of age at a time when social media meant everyone could find an audience.

This week I would encourage you to take whatever it is you’re tempted to hide and instead, share it and see if it isn’t liberating. And if you aren’t sure where to share it, tweet it to me @ alisonrosen. I’m nice even when I have my period.

Hear more from Alison Rosen on her podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” or on the immensely popular “Adam Carolla Show” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @alisonrosen or visit her website at www.alisonrosen.com. !

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