I find it tough sometimes to be honest about things that have happened to me in this life. I learned quickly that a lot of subjects make people super uncomfortable and in an effort to keep things from going super dark or from causing people to pity me, I tend not to dive into the deepest parts of my past. Now and then I’ll disclose things but there are only a handful of people in this world who truly know who I am and what I’ve been through.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a genuinely happy and optimistic person. Who I am online matches who I am in person, but I usually only go a few layers in.
I’ve always thought that:
- People don’t want to hear the bad stuff
- People don’t know how to respond to bad stuff
- People will think I’m broken and unlovable
- People want to cheer on the underdog but don’t necessarily want to be there to pull you up off of the floor or to stop you from throwing up from a severe PTSD trigger
As I’m getting older I’ve come to realize that people do actually care about me and want to know who I am, truly. I’ve come to realize that the majority of people see me not as broken or unlovable but as a warrior and a woman who has learned how to slay her own dragons. I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to do this alone, that I don’t have to carry the burden of my past deep within my aching soul anymore. That I can be unconditionally loved and supported.
*Breathe, Jen. That was a big realization*
I love a lot of people who have suffered immensely at the hands of parents, teachers, partners, siblings, friends, caregivers and complete strangers not to mention their own brains and bodies. I love people who have been strangled, abused, raped, left homeless, have lost children, watched their loved ones die and even taken their own lives. None of these things made me think any less of them or prevent my love from flowing. In fact, their struggles made me love them so much more. I felt honoured to know their story and to connect with them on a deeper level.
So, why am I stopping people from knowing who I truly am? Why am I diluting my life experiences and the parts of me that are far from bright and shiny?
As my lovely friend Farren reminded me tonight:
“I believe a tiger can change their stripes. I believe in you. You are actively working on YOU and making a better life for YOU. When we are raised to learn such TOXIC patterns are love, it takes a lifetime to undo. So try to be gentle on my friend Jen.”
You know what? I believe in the amazing people that support me through this life. I believe that opening myself up, all parts of myself, will help heal centuries of generational trauma. I believe that it will deepen my friendship and relationships and ultimately, my connection with my amazing daughters and myself.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “You got this!”. Well, I’m going to switch that to “I’ve got this”. I got me. I have the ability to decide, right now, that I’m going to be more vulnerable with people and put down the (very) heavy guards that I’ve put up. I’m going to walk away from my own toxic patterns and create new ones through trust, openness and reciprocation. I’m willing to shine a light on this darkness and embrace is as simply who I am, or yet, who I’ve been and what I’ve been through. I’m going to own my story.
Bravely Shining Forward