The Beauty in the Pain…
I never used to feel anything, ever. I suppose there was a gradual shutting down. Bit by bit, every single wrong, hurt, pain, betrayal made me close myself off a little bit more. A bitterness emerged in the place of wonder, happiness, naivety.
I hated feeling. Kids, and sadly adults, can be cruel. I was often at the root of comments about my body by family, friends, kids. And I found myself at the root of a few cruel jokes by girl friends. Looking back now I suppose it’s no wonder that I ended up having trust issues with other women.
I was a sensitive child, I had my feelings hurt easily, I often felt the pain others felt and I was a BIG dreamer with a BIG imagination. I would be lost in writing for hours on end. But I was naive. And I found myself hurt a lot. Not just as a child, but as a teen and somewhere along the way I stopped feeling altogether.
I left “her” behind. She was always falling for stupid shit, she was too soft for this cruel world, she was always embarrassing herself, too naive. Of course I found ways to internalize it instead of looking at the problem for what it was… what was wrong with THOSE people for breaking the spirit of a child? What kind of kids intentionally hurt, embarrass, make fun of others? Hurt people, that’s who. I see that now, but I didn’t know it then. I thought I was the problem. And I handled it by changing who I was.
I became more cynical, more jaded, pleasing to others, blending in, fitting in. I traded in my sense of wonder and uniqueness for a mask of hardness and perfection. And eventually I forgot her altogether. I forgot that I used to be someone softer and open. We call it growing up but it’s not growing up, it’s growing old and cynical far too young. I was justifiably jaded long before high school ended.
Identity-less I became the labels I wore – I am a daughter, I am a wife, I am coach, I am a student. Always feeling disconnected and disjointed. I was wearing the masks and roles and switching them out, never feeling like myself, feeling like something was always missing. And it was. I was missing. I wasn’t there anymore. I was hidden behind a wall of fear – fear they won’t like me, fear I’ll fuck it all up, fear that I’m not enough. A patch work life of labels but no foundation.
One day though, the crack came and the light got in. It shone in all the spaces I had hidden away. The emptiness. Who am i? Why did I do what I did? How did I end up here, so horribly off track? The emptiness wasn’t from lack of anything. I had everything that should make someone happy. And here I was a mere 34 years old with more battle scars than most people earn in several lifetimes. Looking at the sheer destruction of my life… the landscape was littered with hurt and it looked bleak… not at all like I envisioned being an adult would be. I had everything but I had nothing and I didn’t even know where to begin.
A life of going through the motions, going along with things, not speaking up for myself, a feelingless life. I tried to find the happy moments but there weren’t any. I couldn’t get my hands or my mind on anything. I also couldn’t really find any that were sad, horrible. Yet I was looking at the landscape and I should have felt something, but I felt nothing. Who has no feelings?
Me. I didn’t have any feelings anymore. Life had beaten it out of me. On the outside everything looked amazing but I wasn’t a real person. I was surviving, having died inside decades before. Eating, drinking, sleeping, going to work, making money, getting married, building a house. Only a few times did I ever stop to ask myself “what do I want?’, even as much as WHAT DO I WANT FOR DINNER? Caught up in the flood that is life and it’s easier to go along than fight the current.
breakdown Awakening, I had to learn to feel. I had to look at events of my life and process them, feel them, let them go. But there was so much stuff and I had spent a lifetime creating a world where I didn’t deal or feel. Pulling down those walls was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. In a frenzy I’d often try to forget it all, put it all back where it was and just go on. But it didn’t work, I couldn’t seem to get the sharp pieces back under the rug. I’d put it back, then trip on the rug, and get the sharp piece in the face.
It was time to deal.
And deal I have done. Piece by piece it was taken out, looked at, processed and let go. And I felt lighter, more like myself, less jagged, less disconnected, less alone, less lost.
Withdrawing is where I go when I’m hurt, when people attack me, when I feel uncertain, afraid, not worthy. I withdraw. And I self sabotage. I hide. Then I have even more proof that I’m not enough, that I can’t do it, that I’m a mess and should change, be hard again, be someone else. It’s a vicious cycle. Being open is scary, being yourself in a world where we’re told ourself is not enough is even harder. Withdrawing seems like a peaceful trade up.
I used to see it as being strong. I thought not needing anyone made you stronger. I’ve learned there’s a very big difference in not needing people because you’ve been hurt and shut down rather than you’ve learned to love, accept yourself and you don’t NEED anyone but you WANT them.
I’m not strong when I’m withdrawn, I’m weak, I’m scared and afraid. That’s the opposite of strong and deciphering that has helped me saved me over and over again. I never wanted to be weak and by realizing that I’m not strong when I’m withdrawn, that I’m weak, helps me reach out for help, ask for support for my family of soul sisters, mentors, coaches, friends and family. Instead of pretending I’m fine, I saw I’m not fine… I want to run away. And it’s usually that easy… no drama, no judgement, just space to acknowledge the fear of being real in a world where fake is revered.
Sometimes I’m afraid to own all of myself. Sometimes things hurt and it’s overwhelming and I want to stop it. And some days I do stop it, some days I retreat but it never lasts long anymore. I can’t stay down for long because once you’ve known the freedom of yourself you can’t live without it anymore.
I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to be real and that’s not only in seeing my flaws but also in seeing how incredible I am, at the deepest level possible. I have lived enough of my life waiting to be enough when… not another day will I live that way! Ok, well, I might have a day here and there 😉
When you do the work of looking at who you are, why you are the way you are, feeling to healing, practise self acceptance and what you know to be true about yourself… the switch will happen one day… where it’s less forced, where you go from wanting to believe it about yourself to knowing it’s the truth.
Because it is. There’s a very different person inside who lives in a bubble of self protection than the person out there hustling in the world for their worth. Inside you have everything you need for success. Sometimes you gotta do some digging to find it. And there will be a lot of pain along the way…
But there is so much beauty in the pain. There’s a beauty I have only seen in the breaks, the cracks, there’s is something powerful about feeling your way through it. There’s a rawness, a realness to yourself and to others as I’m blessed to help other people on their own journeys… when you can sit in your own and others pain and feel it with no need to make it better, to take it away… just letting it where. The darkness will retreat and the light will return, more powerful than ever because each time you deal with something from the past it brings piece of you back with it.
There is beauty in the pain. Don’t run from it, run to it. It’s where your freedom awaits.
PS… if you’d like a daily dose of wild delivered directly to your inbox… sign up here –>> Daily Wild