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Getting naked in front of strangers.

I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to hide.

In the back of the room. Behind my hair. Beneath turtlenecks and to-do lists and extra pounds accrued by the abiding grace of beer and nachos.

Covered. Guarded. Censored.

I didn’t always seek the shade of anonymity. I was the toddler who pestered her parents with relentless chants of “Watch me!” The adolescent who performed in generously-titled talent shows. The high school and college theatre geek who delighted in the heady anticipation of opening night.

Now all I want is a quiet corner. And an invisibility cloak.

The rub?

I can’t hide any more.

Protocol is a week away from pre-sale and I’ve never felt more exposed. More naked. More vulnerable. For the first time in my writing career, I’m writing about what I think, what I feel, in my own voice instead of a brand’s.

It’s more than a little terrifying.

What if no one buys the book? What if there’s a typo? What if, in a Bizarro World Sally Field moment, they don’t like me, they really, really don’t like me?

It’ll be out there for all to see. Nowhere to run. And certainly nowhere to hide.

Funny thing is, I’m starting to find freedom in this anxiety-producing exposure.

The act of peeling off the layers, of shimmying out of the protective shell of inconspicuousness, has allowed me to get a good look at myself. Practice being brave. Engage in a little personal growth, something I usually avoid like the plague and pleated pants.

It’s hard and uncomfortable. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s time to shrug off the comfort of cover, to stop hiding, to take up more space.

So on the eve of my book’s birthday, here I am. My ideas. My thoughts. My words. Standing in front of the world, naked.

I hope you like what you see.

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