You never know what someone else is going through.
Last summer, while living in Boston, my life seemed fantastic. I was working at a law firm downtown, living in a cute studio, and smiling for photos.
I visited friends in New York City, went to museums, enjoyed baseball games, and wore designer clothes. I spent days in the Public Garden and wrote inspirational blog posts- yet what most people didn’t know was that I was on the verge of the unraveling of my final year in Boston.
Society spends so much time comparing our own lives to other people- but we only know part of their story.
We check Facebook to see what our friends are doing on vacation, we compare our jobs, and we make up stories in our own minds as to what someone’s life is truly like. We see people and their seemingly perfect families, adorable kids, and handsome husbands.
This is a reminder to check on those who seem to have it all together- the strong ones who may not seem to need help at all.
I never wanted to admit I needed help, that I was lonely, or that I was unsure of where my life was going. Thankfully, I realized that I can’t write a story that wasn’t meant for me.
Now that I am back in Michigan, I can reflect on the good times, the bad, and have immense gratitude for surviving (and thriving!) through everything I experienced.
Remember to check on those friends who seem like they have it all together- because each story has its own twists and turns.
Over the past few years I’ve learned the benefits of vulnerability and the value of opening yourself up to other people. As a self proclaimed “counterdependent,” I often have a hard time sharing myself with others one-on-one, or showing who I am due to fear of making a connection:
But connection is powerful.
Taking back the narrative of your life and owning your truth is a gift that takes time, but reaps immeasurable results.
I opened myself up to many different people this past year- some in recovery, and some not. Thanks to my friends in sobriety, I learned to safely share my story with people who understand.
However, sometimes you open up to people who don’t- or won’t. That’s okay too.
I was recently in a situation where I was called “fragile” by someone I hardly knew- simply because I am sober in recovery and showed my vulnerable side. What?!
I’m not sure who he thought he was talking to, but I do know today to keep my standards high and my expectations low.
After years of settling for less or compromising my own morals, I’m no longer willing to let someone else dictate my value or worth.
Struggle brings strength, and although I haven’t always made the best choices in my life, I survived my difficulties and have been able to thrive because of them.
The butterfly represents transformation and new beginnings- if she hadn’t struggled to emerge from the cocoon, she wouldn’t have the strength to spread her wings and fly.
She may be delicate, but she certainly isn’t fragile- and neither are you.
As I strolled through the Back Bay and down to the Esplanade yesterday, I felt a new sense of freedom. It was a beautiful fall day, and I had the chance to head to my favorite spot in Boston- the Charles River.
The freedom I felt was greater than just being able to take time out to enjoy nature, though- it was a sense of freedom within.
I went to a meeting where I saw some people from my past who I avoided due to resentments- and not only did I face those people for the first time in over a year, I raised my hand and spoke about it.
“Resentments kept me sick and my secrets held me hostage.”
For a long time, I only let half of my true self be known.
People in the group nodded and smiled. Over the years, I found every reason in the book to avoid groups, places, jobs, family, or friends- all due to uncomfortable feelings, resentments, or disagreements. Running was my favorite pastime- but not in the jogging sense of the word. I ran from discomfort.
“I’m no longer willing to water down my story or hide from the world,” I continued. In the past I was extremely fearful of judgment or rejection- but the only person that hurt was me. The more honest I am, the more I learn how accepting others are- but I also learn which people don’t matter.
I’ve been working on being my authentic self, loving my truth, and owning my story no matter what others have to say about it, and that is the greatest freedom of all:
Happy October! It’s a new month, a fresh week, and time to let go of the old. As the leaves begin to fall, we also remove the parts of our lives that no longer serve.
Last night I was introduced to Denise Linn’s Native Spirit Oracle deck, where we went around a circle to reflect on the messages of each card we chose. As I picked my card, “Elder,” I smiled and thought about the old soul I have always identified with. Always feeling a bit like the outsider yet content on my own, this card strung a chord with me.
“Confidence. Entering your power. Standing strong. You are a leader. Stepping into the light. Let your truth be heard and felt by others. Make a stand in life. You carried deep inner wisdom. You are a teacher and a leader in the deepest sense of the words. You are a beacon for others.”
The Elder card was confirmation I am on the right path by speaking my truth, sharing the stories that aren’t always very comfortable, and stepping forward even when I question myself. Having confidence in my creations is key for me to free myself from holding myself back from happiness, success, and serenity. Much like the crab who tries to escape, I must learn not to let others hold me back from the path I know I’m destined for.
Lately I’ve been around a lot of negativity, gossip, and pessimism- but the only way I’m getting through it is to rise above, share my insight, and continue to do what I know is right. I’ve learned to let things “roll off my back” and to stay in my own lane; although these things aren’t taught growing up (“be a part of the crowd!”), I’m content with being an individual as an adult.
The Elder may look on to the rest of the group, standing tall, alone in their journey, but I do know one thing: if you can’t stand strong and in your own truth, there isn’t any room to grow.