Autumn shows us
how beautiful it is to
let things go.
I thought I was done with it. The knots in your stomach. Shortness of breath. Heart palpitations. Fear. Anxiety, Fight, or flight. I lived with it for a long time. Then I got divorced and realized I was giving my power away. I was not a victim and needed to stop living like one. Ever so slowly, I began to gain self-confidence, to believe in myself and believe that I did matter and that my photographs and my words mattered. It was a slow process, but it was a process, and I was proud of myself for the first time in a very long time. And I began to breathe deeper, and relax and enjoy this life that I was creating. And I was able to compartmentalize the bad stuff from the past, and push it way far back in my mind, and concentrate on the present and even begin to look forward to the future. Something I hadn’t done in a very long time. Sure there were bumps, and times I felt overwhelmed, but all in all, I felt strong. And then suddenly, with the push of a button on a computer, all of that positive self-talk, all the confidence, all the strength, it was gone.
All because of an anonymous comment left on this blog. Well, actually several comments, but that first one, it did the trick. And just like that, I tucked my tail between my legs and ran. I gave them my power, something I never thought I would find myself doing again. All the hard work, all the therapy, all the journaling exercises, all of it….gone. And because this is where the comments came from, I logged out of this site and told myself I would never put my self out there again. It just wasn’t worth it. I would just stay in my little corner and not venture out anywhere ever again. And that would stop all those horrible feelings from taking over my life again. The end.
The problem is it didn’t work that way. I still felt those feelings, and now, as an added bonus, I had guilt and shame thrown in for good measure. Because I had preached the message of strength and power, and self-care and independence. And I was a fraud and a failure. An imposter acting like I was something that I wasn’t. All the old voices started whispering in my ear once more….no one wants to read what you write, you have no talent, you are divorced, a single mom, you are ruining your kids because broken homes produce broken children, YOU ARE A FAILURE.
So I let that tape play in my head over and over. For 3 months. No matter what I did, I couldn’t turn the tape off. And it took my sparkle, my joy. I gave my power away and let myself become a victim once again. I did this, not the person who left the comments, I allowed it to happen. Because I chose to believe the lies. Old habits die hard, don’t they? It’s kinda like that old pair of shoes in your closet, you know they look bad, and they are worn out, but they are COMFORTABLE. You are used to them. So you default back to them, even though you have other shoes, new shoes that look so much better, you continue to choose them because they are what you have chosen for years. And you shuffle through life in your broken down shoes resenting the people who “did this to you.” But the trouble with that is that no one “did it to you.” No one did it to me. I allowed someone to take my joy. And I allowed fear to rule once more. But today, I am choosing to take that power back, to change shoes even if the new ones feel strange and shaky. And instead of guilt and shame, I am choosing to give myself grace and understanding. Because old habits do die hard, and it’s in the everyday choices that the victory is finally won. And you will fall down, sometimes it’s just a stubbed toe, other times it is a full-fledged splat on the pavement kind of fall. But each and every time you have a choice, a choice to either pick yourself up, dust yourself off and put one foot in front of the other, or the choice to lay there and blame everyone for the hand you have been dealt. Baby steps…and for today, that’s enough.