To be totally frank with you all, I have a love hate relationship when it comes to my birthday. I would say, though, it leans more to the hate than to the love. It’s not that I haven’t had wonderful birthdays or that I’m not treated like a queen, because I have absolutely had amazing birthdays and always treated like a queen by the ones who love me (especially Micah). I just, well, I have never felt deserving of them.
Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment.
A few feelings that tend to pop up either right before or the day of my birthday, and what do you know…that feeling came at me at full speed days before my birthday. Then I attended The Haven Retreat, and that week right there was a “I can’t exactly explain yet” life changing event for me. I met so many amazing women there and learned so much (so much!). Outside of bonding with some really great girls (who turned into sisters), I learned a lot about myself.
Now I don’t want to get too deep into my experience yet because I want to share that first with my loved ones before sharing it with all of you who have expressed interest in it. What I experienced and gained knowledge in is a chapter in my book that is still there, something that I am still working on. What I am about share with you right now is a chapter I told myself I wanted to close by the time November 19th hit. It was a chapter in my book that I knew I could wash my hands off and finally move on after long talks with my therapist, the info that was given to me on this retreat, meditating, and a good talk with my husband.
The first one on one session with my therapist was pretty intense; we talked about what my goal was for this experience and we talked a little bit about my abuse. We talked about how I felt like I was stunted in the vulnerability department and how I was very self aware of the things that were channeling in and around me.
Anyways, lets fast forward to the part that is most relevant to this post – “what is going on in your current life?” My heart started to race, my hands were super clammy, and I honestly felt like I was going to throw up. I was already a ball of emotions and anxiety before I landed in Utah, and had those same feelings whenever we had group therapy or talks about what had happened, but I genuinely didn’t think I’d feel those same feelings right then and there. But, it was like word vomit and everything from last August when a trust line was broken to the most recent events in my life. All out on the table and the feeling of fear made its appearance – fear of being judged by some, half, or all.
What I heard back was something I honestly didn’t expect to hear. Being guided to something and having a door open that had been closed since I was a childhood was flung open during this talk. Everything, everything that I had been feeling and confused about made so much sense to me.
I don’t believe that all people are bad but like I shared with a friend yesterday, some people (friendships or relationships) might just be toxic for you. And I’m not saying they are maliciously toxic but some people have their own baggage that they’re dealing with that sometimes paths don’t cross properly. I always heard Micah say things like “some people bring out the worse in each other,” but it never really held any sort of truth until that moment in Utah.
Vomit. I really hate that word. I just feel like it’s a word that is just linked to so many bad things. I need to find another word that is better suited for my thoughts. Ha.
Without knowing it at the time, I was triggered during a trip that I took towards the end of summer. I explained the situation I was in and everything that happened during and after. I talked about how I didn’t know why I felt this eery feeling in my gut but it was there and it was unexplainable, at the time. Of course with more in depth conversations I felt my chest collapsing and realizing why I felt the way that I did.
*So let me stop right there because that whole part links to my whole entire experience and I want to wait till I share all that with my family and close friends.*
I didn’t realize how much shame I was carrying around till last week. I carried this shame and allowed it to affect almost every part of my life.
How did I allow it to affect me? Well, I didn’t speak up. When I would talk about how I want to try out this healthy diet, I would get low key shamed (and so would others any time some sort of diet was talked about). When I would talk about working out, low key shamed (this would manifest in petty instagram stories or just negative comments). Being quiet and in my own thoughts never really bothered me or made me insecure till this past year. Towards the end I would feel this anxiety creep in every morning because I felt like I had to be on my toes, peppy, and smiling. I couldn’t just be myself.
Then the last straw that broke the camels back; whenever I expressed my feelings of feeling unsafe, putting my marriage in a bad situation, and it not being “right” for me…I was given a bandaid apology with a, “but don’t say anything to anyone” response.
I remember reading that and feeling absolutely sick to my stomach but not knowing why. Yes, I shared what I shared, but I couldn’t put my finger on why…
But, then one morning I woke up in a panic and it hit me (because yes, this was something I thought about a lot – felt guilty for sharing), that conversation brought me back to my childhood. Me, expressing my feelings of safety and not feeling right. Them, a bandaid apology with a “don’t say anything” response. I remember being really quiet in a group meeting that day. I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I took a forgiveness class last week, and it was definitely not what I expected it to be. But, I gained so much knowledge from that class (and the shame class).
I do want to say this, I forgive myself in the part that I played – the venting or taking part in petty gossip, I am letting myself off the hook with that from here on out. I’m not a bad person. I know my truest self and I know that this past year was not ME. I learned so many lessons after 31. Boy did I ever. I haven’t been practicing what I preach for a good while now, and I caught myself wishing I hadn’t met certain individuals, but that’s just not fair…
Those individuals allowed me to face myself in the mirror and dig deep. They made me realize that I had a used up bandaid over a very deep wound that needed major healing. I’m not angry or hurt anymore. I know my truth and at the end of the day…that other stuff just doesn’t matter anymore. Like Micah continues to tell me, the ones that truly matter, support me, and know me will always stand by me.
32 years around the sun.
So you might be scratching your head and asking yourself, “so what was the point of all this?” I want to keep what happened at 31 with that year. No, I am not hiding it. No, I am not proud of it. But, I am going to officially move on from it and allow myself to grow. I am no longer going to allow myself to feel down because a “friend” doesn’t validate me in person or as STUPID as this may sound…social media. Yes, they were purposely not doing it, and that is on them and that’s their own issues but that is something for me to not worry about. I don’t need to have others validate me. I need to validate myself. I need to know how worthy I am. I need to love myself. I need to have more compassion and forgiveness with myself. No one else needs to be doing that, and I lost that a long time ago.
32 years around the sun has been a wild ride y’all. I have had so many ups and downs, land flat on my ass moments, married my best friend, birthed two beautiful boys, I have an amazing relationship with my mom, a great family, and I truly do have some really amazing friends in my life.
I’m pretty blessed.
I hit rock bottom this year and I refuse to allow it define me as a person. I’m making a promise to myself, no one else, that 32 is going to be the best year yet (and it’s going to stay like that for years to come). Age 31 was just a small chapter in my life and I am officially closing everything up. That small chapter isn’t all of me, but, I will take the opportunity to use it for positive growth. I know it won’t always be “cupcake and rainbows” this year with me going head first on my journey towards healing, but it will be beautiful and completely worth it.
If you read all this – thank you! This wasn’t easy for me to write because I put it out there that I gossiped or shared information, but I am working on being more transparent and vulnerable with myself, the ones who love me, and you guys. All the love.