If I sat you down and told you the details of my life, you’d probably never stop crying. Maybe I’d be the same with yours?
What I do know is that we all have things in life, our demons. And I know for most of my life I was a shell of a human being. I know I didn’t feel anything really. For most of my teenage and early adulthood I drank, partied, hooked up randomly. It was life as I knew it. It always made me feel better… for a time. Wanted at least. Important and seen for the moment.
But that buzz quickly wears off and with it the shame engulfs you. And you push it away, laugh it off with your friends over coffee and talk a big girl talk, never letting on that you feared for your life mere hours before or you cried in the shower because it was the only place you could cry. You wouldn’t dare let people know it bothered you.
Eventually the tears didn’t come anymore. Shame became like a comfortable pair of jeans. Losing yourself in a haze became the norm until you didn’t even need the haze anymore. You were jaded now. You wore disdain and contempt like you once wore shame. You were no longer a player in the game, you were the master of the game, weaving stories, hiding, building walls, never letting anyone see the real you.
And eventually, she was gone entirely.
No more game to be played, this was life. Brick after brick the walls went higher but the purpose of the game had long been forgotten and the walls remained an impenetrable fortress, no light could get into the darkness. A constant sadness that was covered up by keeping busy. Our society likes busy. Busy is productive. Busy is an addiction we hide behind that is socially acceptable. Our secrets and our walls cannot be seen if we don’t stop long enough for anyone to see them.
Sometimes a crack happens in the wall. Life isn’t working. And it’s not how you thought it would be, could be or should be. Maybe once upon a time you expected someone to bust those walls down. Maybe you knew you were retreating but you secretly hoped someone would save you. But no one came. But the light got in anyway, a loose brick, a crack, it doesn’t matter. You try to repair it but as soon as you touch it, it crumbles. You frantically try to put the bricks back in place, you don’t know even know what you’re afraid of anymore, but you know you’re scared.
But it’s too late, the damage to that wall is not fixable.
And the wall crumbled down.
That’s what happened to me. One brick cracked and I looked behind it, before I knew it I was suffocating underneath a pile of rubble. 34 of years of “stuff” that had been shoved under the proverbial rug. I wasn’t living. I was existing. I was doing what I “should” do. I was going through the motions. I had a lot of “dealing with shit” to do.
I didn’t want to. It was hard. I had not felt hurt in a long long time. I didn’t like how it felt. I didn’t like feeling powerless, vulnerable, scared, emotional. I had sworn a long time I would never be “that”. And here I was. The imagery is sort of funny. Picturing myself in overalls (since we’re being honest, it was pjs), hair a mess, frantically trying to glue bricks back to together while sobbing hysterically that I “don’t wanna”.
But there was no going back. I was reminded “when going through hell, keep going”. There were days I didn’t think there would be an end. There were days and nights and weeks at a time where I barely functioned. I didn’t get dressed. I didn’t shower. But I did my work. Every day I showed up for my appointments with my coaches and counsellors. Every day I wrote and processed my emotions.
I started saying how I felt, the truth about how I felt, not what was fucking polite.
As I started processing and dealing with the things I had never dealt with, a dark cloud started to move away from me. I felt lighter. I was less angry, less bitter, less jaded, more real and raw. And for those in my life who had never seen that side of me, I have no doubt it was scary but it was also freeing for all of us.
I started to live as though I was worthy just because I was alive. I wasn’t waiting to be worthy “when” I lost weight or “when” I got this program off the ground or when I earned a certain amount of money, or when someone else saw my worth. I wasn’t waiting for life anymore. I was living it. For the first time ever. No more pretending that everything was fine when it wasn’t. No more pretending I didn’t care when I did.
I had to go into the darkness and let go of the expectations, rules and armour I had worn for so long. The way I had been living was so hard and I was so tired. Tired of always being strong. Tired of always pleasing others and myself last. Tired of not standing up for myself. Tired of not seeing my own worth.
Tired of waiting for someone to save me. I had become the masks that I wore. I became harder and more jaded by the world we lived in. Until I didn’t even know I wanted to be saved, rescued. Perhaps that’s why I tried so hard and so long to save so many others – each time I was saving myself and when I failed to save them I was failing to save myself.
Ultimately the universe intervened, as it usually does. Wake up call after wake up call. If you don’t answer, shit keeps going wrong, so take my advice, when it knocks, answer.
I didn’t always like seeing who I was and how I was showing up in life… not asking for what I needed and wanted, then resenting people for not seeing that I needed it, like they should read my fucking mind. Seriously… we’re all a little mad like that though, right? Right?
Eventually, I got to the top of the rubble. The view wasn’t so bad from here. It wasn’t as scary as I had feared it would be. I was rejected by some who didn’t like the real me. And it was challenging. We’re not everyone’s cup of tea and when you’ve spent a lifetime trying to be everyone’s cup of tea and coffee and latte and hot chocolate, and half and half, that can be a challenge.
But ultimately I realized it was better to be rejected by some who didn’t see me or my value than it was to reject myself to be accepted by people who would never see my value.
I needed to be saved. The mistakes I made that caused the crack in my armour were all my doing. For a while I blamed others, but they were actually what what let the light in. Those mistakes and the choices I made led me to myself, tearing down the walls and removing the armour to remove all that I wasn’t so I could become all that I was. I saved myself. I became my own hero.
I feared that being emotional made me weak. I feared needing people made me stupid and open to hurt. I thought shutting down, going it alone, not needing anyone made me strong. But it wasn’t that way at all.
Being open made me stronger. Being vulnerable made me more courageous. Being real and raw made me more powerful than I ever dreamed I could be. I stopped running. I stopped pretending. I stopped hiding.
I started living. Those who loved me, loved me even more, loved me even harder. And I loved them even more back.
I always thought being hurt and retreating was the answer, Never opening ourselves to that again was the ultimate success. But it was the ultimate failure. Being open despite being hurt, showing people your hurt and your scars and letting them see all of you, is the most courageous thing we can do. Having an open heart in a cruel world isn’t weak, it’s strong. It’s knowing you can and likely will get hurt and having the courage to go all in anyway.
Now I live life full out on my terms. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. I used to worry if “they” liked me, now I wonder if I like them. I’ve rumbled with my truth, faced my demons and lived to tell about it. I’m not the same person I was, thank god!
I know what it feels like to feel numb everyday and while living is scary, it’s better than existing and being unhappy while pleasing people you don’t even belong with.
Wake up everyday and ask yourself, if today was my last day, what would be important? What would matter? And make that matter, today, not some day down the road when you’ve lost enough weight or got a new car or made enough money or live on the right side of town or know the right people. You’re good enough right now as you are, everything else is just an illusion to keep you playing small, to hold yourself back, for fear of the unknown, of not fitting in, or not pleasing people.
Fuck that shit.
Humpty Dumpty couldn’t be put back together again because his life sucked and he needed a new one – and maybe he would be haphazardly glued back together and not look quite right but I’ll bet he felt awesome. A little scrambled maybe, but awesome.
Because this is life. It leaves us with battle scars and wounds. And we hide them in an attempt to look normal and fit in and not be judged. But those scars tell a story that is us, that is uniquely ours.
Wear the scars with pride. They show that you had the courage to live when most people only exist.
PS. If you’re on the journey of #findingyourself (so cliche, I think uncovering who you are under all the BS is less #cliche?) you might like to join my tribe of #wildsouledwomen on Facebook. You can get in here –>> Facebook Group