I have a confession to make (I know we all start singing Usher’s song in our heads but No, it’s not that kind of confession). Mine is simple: I haven’t been as brave as I’ve pretended to be.
Writing these blogs; so many friends used to say, “Wow, you’re so brave to be so vulnerable!” or “Wow, you’ve arrived at being true to you!” I even wrote a blog a year or two ago on being vulnerable (read it here:Not the v-word). But none of my posts tell you what I was feeling or how I arrived at a point or about my moments of self-doubt. They mostly focus on positivity and learning and questioning how to be a better person. And while there’s nothing wrong with any of this, it’s not the whole reality. It’s not the full story. It’s only one side of me. The strong, decisive, happy, questioning me. So what about the other part of me?
Yesterday I started this free audio course by Michelle D’Avella of Pushing Beauty, (to access it, click here: Pushing Beauty). I listened to the first lesson and laughed. What she said and how I felt were parallel; I couldn’t believe it.
So… here’s me being truly brave:
Over the last few months, quite possibly years…who knows… I was depressed; in the I’m-just-going-through-the-motions way; I would say I’ve been a functionally-depressed-person. Why do I say this? Because life seemed really hard to me. Because all I ever wanted to do was sleep (my sister-in-law and ex-husband are of the opinion that I love sleep. I can now say they’re wrong). In fact I would mostly want to sleep when I was around people. When I was on my own I used to think and not sleep. Trust me, I would play the “I’m introverted” card A LOT. And in many instances this is true (I am extremely introverted) but introverted people are energetic and bubbly around the people they allow in their inner circle. I was not.
Because doing the routine things like going to the shop or cooking or even talking to people was an effort. In fact everything (and I mean everything) was an effort. I remember seeing a therapist and she suggesting this idea of depression and my mind shut down. “No, I’m not allowed to be depressed…that doesn’t happen to people like me.” So I continued. I continued struggling with a routine; I continued struggling to make an effort with friends and family. I continued fighting this idea. I mean seriously? Me? I was determined to not let that person be me.
The only time I didn’t feel this way was at work. I had purpose; I had a routine. I had goals. And I didn’t have to think too much about life. My life. It was easy to go through the motions; be a certain person. No questions asked.
I would fight being on social media because I was constantly comparing my life to others; instead of using it as a tool for motivation or enjoying stories.
I remember running away from the idea…I started meditating; running; making tough decisions. Anything to prove that I was not this depressed person. I became so detached from the real me that I no longer felt anything. Actually that isn’t true. I felt anger and irritation most of the time. Then I would feel nothing. And the real me feels deeply (not to be confused with being emotional – they are two different things). I was the strong, objective person.
That was and has been the last few years. I created this person that I wanted to live up to; the “Elsa of Frozen” (I know right…yes this is actually who I am; I make references to cartoons – I love Disney cartoons. All of them). To be clear, I had moments of being happy; but overall I was not present.
The problem though is that while I am strong and objective; I’m also deep-feeling and loving and gooey inside. I’m all these things. Some days I’m sad and some days I’m happy. While I always pull myself towards myself (that’s who I am); I’m flawed and not perfect. None of us are.
So now, I’ve accepted that this is a part of me. I made some good decisions and I’ve made some bad decisions. I’ve been strong and I’ve been weak. And I’m being brave by telling you this. Really brave. In fact you could say I’m on the second stage of acceptance after passing denial. I realised that I had to stop blaming everyone else for what I had become. I’ve had to learn to love myself (not in the “I’m physically beautiful way” but in the “I’m flawed and that’s who I am and I love that about me” way). Yes, I’m trying to be a better person and yes, I want to always be learning but none of that matters if I was not able to accept who I was because then I’d just be pretending and then I’d just always be trying to live up to this person I created.
And how boring is that?