“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”— Anais Nin
It was just over two years ago that I made the decision to stop fighting who I had been decades ago, and instead to try accepting who I was then as part of who I am now. It was just over two years ago that I sat down and told someone about the parts of my life I had been hiding away in shame for so long. Really told someone in a very conscious and directed way. It was just over two years ago that I realized what it was costing me to keep hiding my secrets, and that it was a price I didn’t have to keep paying.
So I made the choice to stop hiding. And that has made all the difference (Robert Frost). Wow, I am full of quotes today. But seriously, it has made all the difference. To an extent and in ways I hadn’t even imagined when I started down this path.
I spent my whole adult life before then feeling like I was two distinct people. I’m sure for some people this may sound weird, but that was how it was for me. I wrote journal entries and short stories about it that no one would ever read. My double life. The happy, confident, successful woman and the scared, self-loathing, self-harming girl that never got a chance to grow up. Instead, she just got left behind, unwanted but refusing to let go and be forgotten. I spent my whole adult life trying to outrun her. It turns out the only way for me to escape was actually to turn around and look at her. To acknowledge that she is a part of me, and that’s ok. I am not two people. I am one person who has lived through a lot of life.
Recently I’ve been thinking about what the last 6 months of my life would have been like had I not started down this path of trying to finally heal my old wounds. I would have gotten through it, but it would have been so much harder. Unnecessarily harder. To be sure, I have spent the past 6 months filled with anxiety. But it’s been out of worry for things that are happening now. Out of concern for my family and worry about how my children will see the world at the end of all of this madness. My anxiety has not been tethered to my past. It is huge for me to be able to say that. For the first time I have the freedom to be worrying only about the present. Undoubtedly, the present is extremely crappy and horrible (fuck you 2020) but still, I’m able to be just here and not back there too.
And so for that, today, I am thankful. Thankful that I can spend all of my energy dealing with the shit show that is 2020 and not have to save part of it to deal with the memory of the shit show that was my teenage years. Thankful that I can be here and present to help my children deal with the emotional trauma this year is causing them instead of being completely consumed with my own past emotional traumas. Because if the world had fallen apart 2 years ago, I would not have been able to do these things. Today I am thankful that I made the choice to integrate my past and my present two years ago, so that when the world went completely crazy, I was ready to face it as a whole person.