I heard the call to “stop everything and just write” a few months ago. And I’ve been avoiding it. Making up excuses. Asking for more clarity and pretending like I really don’t know what it means. I’d say it’s pretty clear: stop doing all those other things you’re filling up your time with and start writing instead. I’ve been nervous and/or afraid to. I’ve started several posts but nothing ever seems to flow. The words just don’t come. And I’m slowly beginning to understand it’s because I haven’t been addressing how I’ve really been feeling. And how I’ve really been feeling is shame and fear. Shame because I’ve been dealing with and trying to overcome a health challenge for a lot of years, but much more aggressively for the past 13 months or so. Fear because I feel somewhat like a fraud, and like no one’s actually going to read my work or truly understand me. Being misunderstood has been a running theme in my life for as far back as I can remember so I understand it that my subconscious mind figures what would be different now?
Fear and shame. “When we experience shame we feel trapped, powerless and isolated.” Brené Brown, Ph.D.
I’ve put in all this time, effort, money and more in order to help others, help get out of debt so that my little family could move, to really build a different life for myself and my little family, and to learn and really help myself. And I’m freezing. I’ve been afraid to share my story; to share the things I’ve learned; to share the things I know will help others in their own struggles; to share the things I know God is calling me to share. I’ve read the books, listened to the speakers, watched the documentaries, done the tapping, took the pills, tried to “flow” and yet, I am still allowing myself to stay stuck and allow my fears and insecurities to dictate my thoughts and actions. And the amount of times I’ve said “enough is enough”… I’m not sure I can count them anymore.
“Shame often produces overwhelming and painful feelings of confusion, fear, anger, judgment and/or the need to escape or hide from the situation. It’s difficult to identify shame as the core issue when we’re trying to manage all these very intense feelings.” Brené Brown, Ph.D.
For me, in some ways I’ve been hiding and trying to escape the situation. There’s also some anger and confusion and more than likely judgement around why I’m still struggling to overcome this concern and if I’ll ever truly overcome it. Most days I do actually believe I will overcome it. And then there are those days when the voices speak louder than the hope. It goes back and forth. And it makes me wonder. I have to wonder.
I wonder what am I missing. What dots aren’t connecting. Is it just my inconsistency? Is it just my perfectionism? Is it just my isolation tendencies? Is it just my in-grained thought patterns? Is it just because it runs in my family? Is it just because I perhaps don’t actually want to heal? If that’s the case, what benefit am I getting from staying this way?
I have actually asked God about it many, many times, and I have always felt Him say that He has reasons for not just miraculously taking it all away and reasons for why He wants me to daily work at it. And then my husband steps in, as though the Spirit Himself is speaking through him. I try to quiet my mind and really pay attention. “You’re going through this so that you can help others. You have so much to give, and I cannot wait until you begin to see yourself the way I see you, and the way God sees you. Your story is going to help so many others who are going through the same thing.” He speaks more. And I really try to soak it in, and believe him. His faith in me astounds me most days.
This year I’ve determined that I am going to share my story and not be afraid of actually sharing my story. Or as Bo Eason said, I am going to “learn to express my story.” He also said that “pain is what makes you great.” Hmm. Part of the problem is that for years and years I have hidden myself; I don’t tend to let anyone truly see “all of me.” My husband gets to see the most of it, however even he only gets to see it in glimpses. I’ve hidden myself for so long now I often wonder who the “real me” is and what she’s actually like; I know parts of her, but not all of her. Looking back on my life, I have felt shut-down and misunderstood so often; and the results of that have manifested in numerous ways: not speaking up when I should have, overreacting to things, miss-communicating my passion and drive for anger and frustration, lack of being able to communicate in a clear and concise manner, becoming too “worked-up” too easily at the wrong times because I didn’t feel heard or understood….really this hiding that I’ve done has had a negative impact on my life rather than a positive, which is what in some subconscious way I was seeking.
By hiding who I really am I was hoping that it would protect me, however, it’s been proving just the opposite.
When we hide, we isolate. And when we isolate, oftentimes, when it’s not for actual rejuvenation, it taints and twists and changes our reality and our perspective. It can distort truth.
I haven’t fully shared my health story because in some ways I feel like it would invalidate what I do know, because I haven’t “fixed” myself fully yet. I have bought into the lies that what I do know, and my story and my trainings and my studies are all discredited because I am not a “perfect” human and I am still struggling to overcome the same health concern I’ve had for years. Now, when I read that sentence for myself, I know logically that way of thinking is absurd, and if someone else were to share that with me I would do what I could to get them to understand the lies about it; no one is perfect, and it’s through our struggles and pains and mistakes that we grow, if we allow ourselves to, into more of who we truly are.
So I guess, in my writing this, this is another step in moving forward in listening to what I feel called to do; it’s another step in sharing my health story; it’s another step in admitting out loud I’m not perfect and that’s the way I was created and it’s how I’m going to grow; it’s another step in becoming who I am truly meant to be, in body, mind and soul.
In moving forward my plan is to begin to actually share my health story, how it’s affecting my life, what I am doing about it, and just more of me, as well as the things I’ve learned along the way. My hope is that not only will I find some healing and wisdom through sharing, but that I will encourage others in numerous ways: from sharing their own health story more to choosing to get the help they need in order for them to become more of who they’re truly meant be. I do hope you’ll join me in this journey of sharing and that you’ll share with me a bit of your story, for it’s in our sharing that we can find healing.