I have been working on a project the past few months. This project involves my having to reflect upon, and write about my life, and then put it all to Powerpoint. This has been one of the oddest things I have ever had to do.
Another odd thing, is that while I have been working on said project for two months, I have very little to show for it. A handful of family photos filed away in a folder on my desktop, a slew of my favourite quotations highlighted, their pages dog-eared in all my most cherished books, and a scribbled walk down memory lane on paper. But that's it. And I feel ok about that. It is my story after all, and no one knows it better than me. No script required.
I have been contracted to do a talk about overcoming trauma. Because that is what I have done; or, am doing every single day. Does my past make me an expert in this area? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is for sure -- I have no qualms talking about any of it.
To say that I am over all the heart-breaking, soul-crushing events that have transpired in the last three years is a stretch, however. To say that I have learned how to accept them, love them, and own them, is fact.
This project is so very welcomed. You see, I want to tell my story. Just this week I had a conversation with a woman I have known very casually for all of a month about just this. We concluded that my being so open about my experiences is what drew us together. That we found kinship in our secrets, made public. Thirty days into our relationship and she knows all about my eating disorder, that I was a "cutter", that I once had a fiancé, and that my nephew had a brain tumour.
She is fully aware of my need to talk about the fact that my father is gone, because each and every time I say it out loud, another layer of shock that has been shielding my 20/20 vision begins to fade. She knows that I was once bankrupt, and that I used to drink myself into unconsciousness as a teenager. This new friend and I were able to connect through our truths. And know that we are not alone.
Why do I choose to share all of this? Because it is all ok. It is ok that I have a history. It is ok that I have let people down, I have embarrassed my family, made a poor example, and pissed people off. It is all ok. It is the truth, and it is real. And all of it makes me who I am.
I would not be here, writing this, preparing for this lecture, had it not been for all the chaos. Had I not screwed up, thrown up, and finally grown up, I would not be able to share my journey and with that, hopefully inspire some acceptance in other peoples' hearts. And the acceptance I am talking about is that of the self. We all need to accept and love ourselves as we are, now. Full stop.
It is high time that we all ditch the guilt, toss aside the shame, and just be. Our innate desire as humans is simply to be loved, and we can give that to ourselves. We can BE love. Because we are all ok. And love is always the answer.