I was having a conversation with Alex this morning and we were talking about going to the gym. I’d shared with her my feelings and we talked about how no matter your size or physical ability, the gym can be an extremely vulnerable place. As we came to the mutual conclusion that people very well may judge, I shared with her that I was getting over being anything other than what I was in that moment.
So, that means if I’m terrified to step foot in the gym, I show up that day terrified. And if I tremble, I tremble. If I cry, I cry. What I’ve learned more than anything from this blog is that people respond favorably to authenticity. It is what all my favorite bloggers, writers, artists have in common. They have carved out some space and through some medium they have managed to communicate their truth clearly and courageously.
It has been my greatest lesson of 2014: honesty. In the beginning of the year when I told P2AD that I couldn’t do it anymore it changed so much. I lost a very dear relationship and in some ways I lost an image of myself I’d been holding for nearly 20 years. Because of who I thought I had to be in relationship with him, I refused to own all the parts of myself, because some wouldn’t fit. There wasn’t enough room, enough air for both of us to fully breathe. And when I was honest with myself and with him I let go and I took my very first deep breath in a long time.
The tailspin of that loss caused my work to suffer. I wasn’t completing assignments on time or at all. I was giving the bare minimum but it was genuinely as much as I could do because I was so checked-out. I had to be honest with my professors. I had to tell them where I was, and I had to ask for more time. I had to or I was going to have serious repercussions for my actions and inactions.
When it came time move, I was overwhelmed by the cost of everything. Deposits, furniture, lights cable, and all of this while my teaching contract was ending and I was heading home for my sister’s graduation. I had to just be honest. Told my roommate what was going on so she could understand my frustration and my hesitation. Then I told someone who could help and I got my finances fixed.
Little did I know my finances would take a dive over the summer. Things out of my control and things I couldn’t help. I struggled and held it in and I tried to keep it together for months. Summer bled into fall and I finally reached the point where I told my friends what was happening. Not for help with the solution but because it was killing me to just be struggling, feeling hopeless and unsupported. Well, I wasn’t receiving support because no one knew I needed it!
They all serve as examples, but they happened one after the other in quick succession and from it I’ve taken the lesson that you cannot be afraid of your truth. Repeat:
YOU CANNOT BE AFRAID OF YOUR TRUTH.
Further, you cannot be afraid to ask for what you need. Asking for help has always made me feel gross, for lack of a better term. I feel irresponsible, I feel incapable, I feel like I should know better, and more than all this, I feel other people think these things of me. If they do, they never say so.
I believe it was time to begin to tell a different story. That it is perfectly okay to need. That is perfectly okay to struggle, in fact we are all struggling with something. That it is perfectly okay to not know. That is is perfectly acceptable to make a mistake. To fall down, to cry, to hurt, to bleed to scream, to take your time getting up and to ask for a hand to hold for a while. It is okay to ask people to give you time. It is okay to let go of the people who cannot, trust that it has little to do with you and more to do with them. Similarly, it is okay to tell someone their time is up with you. I am of the opinion that people may not like the truth, they may be frustrated by it, they may hurt as a result of it, but when the dust settles, they are deeply appreciative for it. Because truth makes room for other truth. It allows for all of us to show up in a more authentic way.
My truths have put me through the ringer this year. I’ve wondered if I’ll find a life partner who can accommodate and appreciate all of me. I’ve wondered how I can balance both financial stability fulfilling purpose. I’ve wondered how I can own temporary inabilities without incorporating them into permanent states of being. There will always be questions. There will always be more to unearth, but because I am always becoming.
And honestly, it is a privilege to be doing so.