Last night I found out an article I submitted to a major online publication was accepted. I woke up yesterday morning and decided I was going to make it happen. I had submitted months before and they rejected my article. I knew what I wanted to write about but kept putting it off. Rejection makes us funny like that… inside we haven’t really given up but we aren’t taking action either. Sort of like a place of limbo… I want to but I distract myself with other things because quite frankly rejection blows.
I woke up and knew it was the day. I have only kinda sorta maybe said I wanna be a writer. I wrote it on my vision board. And I have this blog. And I write things. But I don’t call myself a writer because… well, I don’t call my self a writer. I’m not a “real” writer I suppose, although I’m not even sure I know what a real writer is? I write constantly. I write every single day. Yet when I get quiet I realize I’m uncomfortable declaring something I am not sure I have any business saying I am? WTF?
Our psyche is like that. It’s a jumble of conflicts in there and we like busy-ness because we can’t hear the truth so we’re too busy to hear what our feelings are trying to tell us.
I submitted my article yesterday morning and they came back and said it wasn’t personal enough, they liked the message but they didn’t feel connected with me. I replied that with an 800 word limit I found it difficult to get my message and my story across. They replied that 800 words was a “suggestion” and as long as the story was engaging then it was totally fine to go beyond that!
If you’ve met me at all or read my blogs you know 800 words is just a warm up! So I dug in again and this time I told the story and the message I learned. It was fucking epic if I do say so myself. I sent it off. They initially said “if you don’t hear from us in a week, write something else” <<– blunt is a language I know well-->> so I wasn’t expecting to hear from them so quickly with the message “exactly what we were hoping for“.
I read it, I squealed, I danced, I jumped, my dogs came running. I broke into “Celebrate Good Times, Come On” (you sang that didn’t you?). My husband was mid fork to mouth at the table unsure what was happening. As he simply stared at me, I continued on my merry dance party. Once upon a time I would haven’t dulled that down. I would have calmed it down and acted like it was no big deal. But you know what? It IS a big fucking deal. I worked to get that recognition. I could have not written back after they declined TWICE! But instead I focused on what I wanted, listening to what THEY wanted and I kept working on it. And I was bloody excited and I didn’t care if it was the pope there… I would have boogied with him too!
Look, a dance party might not seem like a big deal for some but it is for me. Allowing myself to express myself in the moment is a huge transformation from where I once was. I have written openly about my struggle with being vulnerable, showing my real self, feeling my emotions when I spent my entire life pretending I didn’t have any. It wasn’t just anger, hurt, sadness that I wasn’t feeling. I wasn’t feeling the good ones either, because we can’t choose which ones we shut down. It might work in the beginning. And positive thinking can help you pretend you don’t feel anything other sheer happiness and joy, but we are human and we have a range of emotions.
When we shut down some of them we shut down all of them. I was living numb. I remembering buying my first brand new vehicle off the lot and I was so excited but the happiness quickly faded when my husband said “it’s no big deal“… but see it was a big deal to me! And it doesn’t matter WHO said it, what matters it that I changed my behaviour to suit, I pretended it was no big deal either. And that’s been the story of my life for SO long!
So many times I was over the moon excited about something… like new shoes and have a comment that said “my god, wouldn’t know but you won the lottery”. These types of comments made me reserved. I felt foolish for expressing my emotions. Since I’ve let go of so much of my internal baggage I’ve found myself allowing myself to feel whatever needs to be felt.
In order to get here though I had to go through the dirt, the mud, the stuff I had shoved down for a lifetime. The “big” things that we don’t deal with, and even the small things, that eventually lead us to suffering. My decision to end my own suffering by dealing with the emotional baggage I carried gave me the freedom I had longed craved. When we are running from things, even when we think we’re not, they impact our energy flow. We’re hiding by omission. We’re hiding the stories that make up who we are because we are afraid of how we will be judged if people knew all of the things about us… Imagine if they knew we failed out of college? Or that we didn’t get our high school diploma? Or we got fired? Or we smoked? Or had a drinking problem? Or was in trouble with the law? Or gave up a child for adoption? Or what we got paid? Or the area of town we live in or grew up in? Or imagine if they knew your cousin was a drug dealer? Or that your dad was in prison? Or your mom left your family? These are not my stories but many of the stories I’ve heard over the course of my journey.
We all have things… some as simple as “I got fired from 3 jobs” to as a big as “I planned a murder suicide for myself and my family”. What if people really knew us? What would they think if they knew all the parts of us, those dark places where we haven’t made the best the decisions, where we hide the truth of who we are, the things we’ve done, experienced, seen or even just thought about. And what if they knew where we came from? What if we’re actually the good people but we run from the truth of our roots?
A rejection of self.
I’ve seen so much pain in so many because of the secrets, some small, some big that they keep. When people share their darkest moments with me, I feel honoured to be there with them, that they trusted ME to share with. And I have shared some of my darkest moments with others, the things my soul cries about and have been held in their embrace with no judgement.
The process of getting unfucked is learning to speak the truth. It doesn’t have to be flag waving in the air, or spilling your guts to everyone who will listen. On the contrary it’s about finding a safe place, person, mentor, group or program that will allow you the freedom and space to heal, to say what needs to be said, to be processed, to let yourself speak YOUR truth. Not everyone can offer that space because they are hiding their own stuff, they haven’t explored their own darkness and they want you to stay in the dark too.
I used to desperately want to push people back into the dark. I would feel my chest closing as they disclosed personal details of their lives and I would think “why are they doing that? They need to get over it”… I was so heavily triggered by their vulnerability because I saw that as weakness; that was something I was never going to feel! When we speak to the truth to those who can’t allow us to speak it, it doesn’t mean we should stop speaking it, it means we need to ensure we’re speaking in the right space where we can get the healing we need.
It might seem counter intuitive, but digging into my feelings of nothingness, numbness, emptiness, loneliness, anger, rage I was able to let them go. At first I resisted feeling it because I was afraid it would consume me and I would be one “those” people. I would rather be numb than an asshole. The anger was actually a manifestation of years of not standing up for myself, of giving up my power in life, of not engaging, not speaking up and most importantly, in not being myself. As I allowed myself to feel the anger I quickly realized anger was masking hurt and as I allowed myself to feel the hurt I felt peace. Yes it hurt at first, that’s what hurt feels like – chest closing in, throat closing off, squeezing back tears, feelings of shame, humiliation, not good enough all mixed together in that hurt. But then it was gone just as quickly as it started. And a lightness appeared. I could make sense of what happened.
And then my positive thinking and the tools I had learned could work… but not before. I could reframe the experience and see it in a new way, no hurt, no anger, no frustration just an acceptance of what was without it meaning I was less than. And 35 years of “stuff” was a lot of processing. So I spent a considerable amount of time weeding through the experiences of my life that left me trying to be someone I wasn’t.
And just like when we let our experiences pass through us and we allow ourselves to feel hurt, sadness, loneliness, pain, disappointment, failure, rejection, it becomes easier to feel all the good stuff again. It’s no longer forced. It’s no longer wishing I could feel it. It just happens and I no longer suppress it. I allow myself to feel the happiness, the joy, the excitement, the pride, the belief in myself, the realization of who I really am and how easily life flows from this state, instead of a state of trying to be something else and running from those stories which make up who we are.
Instead I embrace all of the stories that made me who I am. I wouldn’t be the dedicated, driven, happy, motivating, inspiring, stand up for justice and wanting to change the world kinda girl if I hadn’t experienced what I had. The greatest pains of my life have become the fuel on which I live my live, to help others end their own suffering, to find their own value, worth and happiness. There’s nothing wrong with feeling excited, happy, proud of yourself. Who better anyway? You’re the only one who knows what it really took you to get where you are 😉
It’s a beautiful feeling to feel…
PS… if you’re on the same journey, join my group of Wild Souled Women!