I didn’t then, I don’t now and will never, have it all together. No matter what your outsides or accomplishments seem to be, it’s what’s going on inside that will make or break you.
For me, at an early age I convinced myself if I looked and acted alright… Everything would be all right. The convincing took root and at near-40 I’m realizing what a lie that was. The reality is, being right, meant I had to choose to do right.
It is not easy to choose right.
It isn’t easy to even see what right is. It felt easier for a long time, to not see, and by default, blindly do wrong. I guess it started with convincing myself there was nothing to see: No right way I was blind to. That meant my wrongs really weren’t all that bad. Like, if bad and wrong were deep burnt orange on the color scale, my wrongs were a buff. Pale, ambiguous, non-orange, non-white (maybe even brown if you darkened it so not orange at all) kind of wrong. Not even, really.
It seemed harmless. Who would know?
Things plodded along this way, with me embracing a kind of blindness, a lie so fully it wasn’t clear where it ended and I began. It never occurred to me that I was being harmed. That would have meant I recognized my own value.
As long as my core foundation of belief was that I’m not worth the fight, it was easy to believe harmful thoughts, behaviors and habits were not a big deal. It was the path of least resistance.
One by one, layers of lies kept me warm and safe, comfortable and shielded, blinded and ignorant. The layers were well-crafted and strategic, insulating mind, body, sight, feelings, and surroundings.
But not everything can be false.
Every encounter with another person tested the limits of my self-created ecosystem. Every honest question from the lips of people I loved. Every intimate moment met with a violent untruth or lie of omission felt like a sledgehammer slamming against the outer walls of my layered little bubble.
Eventually my ecosystem failed.
As the glass shattered down around me, words failed. My layers and shields and blindness and lies were gone. I was sitting, naked, in that shadow of wrong but now, the painful exposure was helping me see how far off from doing and being right I was. Once I could see right, I wanted to be blanketed in its warmth, inside out.
Trouble was, by then my legs had given out. I couldn’t even try to stand to turn and look beyond the shadow and move toward that right thing. But I could see right. And that was something. Everything.
It was a painful question. Stained with soiled expectations of ridicule, rejection, and violence. Formed in silence within my own mind, rooted simply by a featherweight strand of hope in my soul.
Hours turned into days, with the world moving along as though stormy chaos weren’t raging within.
I cried out inside, and this time felt the void of the silent cry. The missing response.
I knew: It had to be me.
No one could be my voice. No one would enter my heart or mind and force my will. No one could carry the responsibility for my choices. No one was coming to lift my head, body, arms and feet then propel me from inside to reach toward the right thing.
It had to be me.
Now or never.
In my silence, nothing was changing for the better. Nothing was getting easier, or improving. Every day of waiting, burrowing in my cocoon, built resistance to change like another layer of concrete poured over a broken foundation.
My silence was like another layer of insulation, shielding me again from facing the cold, hard, ugly, uncomfortable, painful, difficult truth. The insulating composition of silence was some form of the same blend: Blame-shifting, avoidance, denial, quiet. Secret.
Still, in the silence something had shifted. In my mind, something was new. I could see right. I hadn’t yet found the voice to ask for help, or the gumption to stand up and fight for myself in action. But the beginning of forever was right there.
Seeing, and knowing what was right was the first step to choosing. And I had seen. I knew.
This is still me.
Welcoming you to come along for this evolving transition. The destination is not the goal. How we move is. Nice. Slow.
I don’t have all the answers.
I know the way.