Updated: 2 days ago
I used to lie in bed in the mornings and wonder whether the little energy and will I still had, would be better spent getting ready for work or planning life's ultimate escape. Today, I still leave my bed reluctantly at times, but now it's because it's a little chilly out, or I'm still enjoying the cosiness of sleep, as opposed to some gargantuan battle against existential darkness.
My crisis was precipitated by external events, but really, the problem was (and still is) internal. I had nowhere left to go. No way out of my own head. So I did what needed to be done. I surrendered. Not to God, not to darkness, or suicide, but to reality. I surrendered to the reality that was veiled under the narrative I had written for myself. I finally admitted to myself the story that I was successful, happy, and life was great, was untrue.
I don't remember exactly when that narrative began to diverge so wildly from the person I am on the inside; or when it became a story that I hid behind. I do however, remember the first time I became consciously aware of it. I was a 16 year old school kid. I was known by my homeroom teacher as the bubbly one. The one that cracked jokes, that laughed, was warm and friendly and a grade A people pleaser. I was acting out one day, prancing around the classroom and I thought Why am I doing this? I don't feel the way I'm making out I do on the outside. But I can't stop. I must be a liar. This must be what it's like to be a pathological liar. But I want to stop. It's tiring, pretending to be happy when you feel so sad inside. It takes up so much energy. Why am I like this?
I can't remember how that train of thought progressed, except that it took me another sixteen years after that rare moment of clarity, with quite a bit of drama in between, before I was fully able to surrender to reality and admit to myself. I haven't got this figured out. I'm a hot mess. I don't know what to do. I didn't get the instruction manual for life. I need help. For the first time I was honest with myself.
It takes real courage to admit you haven't got it all figured out. Especially for someone as self centred as I was back then. The phrase 'I'm not much, but I'm all I think about' springs to mind. This act of surrender was forged through immense emotional pain. It was also the beginning of change for me and my internal world. It took a lot of action before I (with the help of a few older, wiser people) was able to make my outer world match up with my inner world.
In action now this looks like the following: Allowing my feelings and regulating them. Telling people assertively when I disagree. Showing emotional pain in my physical affect and my words. Sharing my reality instead of what I think other people around me want to see or hear. Honouring my inner experience and listening to my intuition.
To think that I lived hiding behind a story I made up for myself for so long, makes me feel bad for that version of me who was struggling so much, but at the time I simply couldn't see a way out.
Today things are different. I call my blog 'Open to Change' because in my experience, that is the main quality it takes to live life authentically and aligned with your true self. I hope that anyone who opens my page/shares won't feel so alone in their experiences and will find the courage to speak out for help in finding a way through their obstacles.