Today I remembered that I am fulfilled. Today I remembered that I love and am loved. Today I remembered that I want for nothing. Today I remembered that I am whole. Today I celebrate this bliss, this win because the memory of how it felt to be broken was fresh on my mind just a week ago.
After all this time, I thought I had healed. I thought I’d distanced myself, created a safe space, a protective environment. I had regained control of my sense of self, my sense of worth. I was intentional about prioritizing my needs and wants. I pruned the negative from my life and saw the fruits of my labor. I was happy, healthy, and fulfilled.
And yet, all this time later, it reappeared. I was reminded how weak I was, how pitiful I was, how unworthy I was. One minute I’m high on life, the next I’m ready to collapse under the weight of a sorrow I thought I had long since escaped. Chest tightened, face flushed, pulse quickened. I was trapped in my own body and the only thing free was stinging my eyes and slipping down my cheeks.
Where do you escape when no place is private enough to escape your own judgment? I was ashamed to let more tears fall, even in darkness and solitude. And yet, the tears fell indiscriminately at home, at work, on the train, for days. I was ashamed to let myself feel broken again. I was angry at myself for feeling broken, and sad for being angry. It’s OK to not be good, but why can’t I just be OK? I paid my dues – why can’t I cross the bridge and get over the river of tears I’ve long since cried? I don’t want to cry about this past anymore. Why do I have to relive the pain and emptiness I worked so hard to overcome? Why can’t I just be forever happy? Isn’t what all this therapy and self-care was supposed to help me prevent?!
I put a lot of pressure on myself to be in control of my feelings. Sure, these old wounds had been reopened at the most unlikely of triggers, but why would I let that cause me to become a shell of myself? I put in all this work to be in a good space, to be past the bullshit, I should be cool as a fan. Truth is, I’ve always labeled myself as “emotional” – as if expressing negative emotion was the worst thing I could do. Being emotional is uncomfortable for me and I don’t like to feel out of control. But the more I tried to get a grip, the more I tried to hide the pain, the worse I felt.
I knew the only thing that would comfort me would be to let the emotion happen and to admit to myself and those closest to me that I wasn’t doing well. I was reminded that I can’t put a time limit on my healing, or my grief. And I shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed by the things I felt now or then. I had to give myself permission to feel however tf I felt for however long I felt it. Remembering what it’s like to be broken does not negate the joy and happiness I know today.
So while yesterday I remembered how it felt to be broken, today I remember how it feels to be whole.
The above picture was captured of me at a rooftop day party. A friend posted it in our group chat and the sight of my image caught me off guard. Rarely do I see photos of me that I didn’t take myself or that I am OK with being viewed by others. [Note: The last candid photo that was taken of me and posted in a group involved one hand on knee, one holding a drink, mouth agape, and a short dress hiked even higher.] I don’t know when during the party it was taken or what I was doing in that moment. But I know that I was having the time of my life. The delight I see in my own face is reflective of my general disposition.
And it seems that those who know me can see it too:
This Joy >>>>>
*Obligatory “happiness looks good on you” comment*
That look and smile… happiness is sexy on you
You look like happiness and prosperity.
Awww, the look of complete joy… Love this, it made me smile too!
I’m not sure what made me smile harder, my face in this picture or the comments that others left in response. I truly am grateful for the space I inhabit, and it shows. Every moment is another moment to be grateful, and to be happy. Everyday isn’t Pacific Northwest sunshine and Portland roses, but I’m in the best place I’ve ever been, and a bad day/week/month and a hard cry won’t change that. I don’t know if the pain, humiliation, grief, and shame on the journey to get to my happy place were necessary (like, couldn’t there have been another way, Lord?), but it certainly was not in vain. It has all worked together for my good. And that damn sure is something to smile about J