I used to have a hard shell. Well, more like armour. With a castle, complete with a moat and crocodiles.
If you got too close I cut you. Not intentionally. Not thinking to hurt you. But to keep you away. Hugging a porcupine is not a good idea. I was a porcupine. But I changed. I softened. I opened. I took down my walls. I got rid of the crocodiles, the moat, the castle.
I invited the world in. I opened myself, without discernment to who I was letting in.
And it happened. I was punched in the power chakra. The worse part was I saw it coming. I knew it would happen, well, sort of, we never really think it will happen, do we? There were warning signs. But I kept returning, I kept going back, I kept convincing myself it was me, that I was wrong.
I didn’t see the red flags as warning signs. But I knew better. I just didn’t listen. We’re good at that, painting over our intuition and thinking we’re the “bad” person. I told myself maybe I was jealous, I always have a problem, it must be me, don’t take it personally… I told myself everything possible to see the best in someone and I kept ignoring those red flags.
They were not garnish, they were there for a reason.
But by the time I saw it fully, it was too late. I was slipping away. But not to the castle, the fortress I had torn down, the walls were not accessible anymore. Escaping was my superpower and I was sneaky enough to miss the signs of finding a new fortress, slipping into a space that I had never been before, becoming someone I didn’t recognize and didn’t know how to get away from.
It wasn’t a castle, there were no crocodiles, so I didn’t notice it as first. At first it seemed like softness. At first it seemed like surrender but the telltale negative self talk, exhaustion, fatigue, can’t breathe, contained feeling was there. But I liked to not see, what I didn’t want to see.
I was a mess.
I was messy. I was incapable. I was lost. I was frozen. I was scared. I was over feeling. I was a victim. I was devastated. I was overwhelmed. I lived in doubt and fear. I became a shadow of the woman I had become.
And I liked who I had become. I fought hard to find her. And I was losing her again, but not the same way, not the way I knew. I knew those walls. I knew that castle, I knew that space. That was home. Even the new empowered version of me wasn’t home. I hadn’t been her that long. I hadn’t been internally strong for long. The hardness, that was home, but that home was torn down, thrown away, no longer accessible, all paths cut off to the walls, the fortress of hiding, nothingness, the amour and the spikes.
The escape was sneaky. Unseen almost. I had to look closely back to see where I had changed. One minute confident and empowered but there was an erosion. Tidbits here and there, comments here and there, stabs in the back and in the dark, pulling away the new found power and peace that I had found. It wasn’t stable. I didn’t have long enough there to have built a solid foundation, it was rocky as I was taking those first steps, those formative years into finally finding and being yourself after decades of being lost.
It was too filmsy and I let too many people in. I started listening to the doubts. I fed the fears. And I attracted people who liked to point them out to me. And I slipped into a new fortress, a new cocoon but this one I did not know.
I did not know out of control, lack of discipline, messiness. I didn’t know incapable, fear, doubt, I didn’t know frozen, stuck, lack of action. I didn’t know this version of me, the victim.
But I began to wear her. Like a cloak, like a warm blanket that let me fade away into the background, but different this time, not hiding, not harsh, no spikes in my armour, no moat, no bricks to throw or teeth to bare…
But I became her. Incapable. Lost. Messy. Undefined. Undisciplined. Unmotivated. And I I didn’t like her. I didn’t like the messiness, the fatigue, the never enough, the anxiety, the overwhelm.
I didn’t like how I reacted to things, I didn’t like the sadness, the nothingness in a different way. I’d rather the nothingness of numb, of shut down, than the nothingness of stuck, hopeless, fear, doubt and lost faith.
I saw it in people’s eyes, heard it in their words, processed it in my mind – I was a mess. I felt a mess. I felt the judgement, the shame, the inability to get out of it. I felt the containment, the loss of breathe, the smallness, the stuckness.
And I realized this was a place I had never gone, never allowed myself to feel. I had never been here before. I had never gone through the emotions of being a victim. I had never let myself sink this way. I had sank in other ways. I had sank in anger, frustration, sadness even.
I had never sank into giving up. I had never let else do anything for me, never relied on anyone, never surrendered, never let myself be weak. I had never been in this place before.
But somehow in this place, this persona, this whatever it was I had become, I needed a lot of things. This identity, this version I had become, played small, stayed down, didn’t shine, had lost her sparkle, had lost herself, her confidence, her power.
And it sucked.
As I faced the darkest days, the deepest feelings, I had to go down. Way down. Further down than I had ever gone and ask myself some deep questions…
Like would I not listen to myself? Why would I not listen to the warnings? Why would I always blame myself? Why did I always think it was me? Why did I think it was my fault? Why did I lay down, roll over? Why did I forgive too easily and open the doors back up?
Why did I not trust myself? Why did I get off my path because someone else told me to?
Why did I still look for that permission, approval in places I couldn’t get it? From people who couldn’t give it? Was I looking for this? This place where I lived in doubt and fear? Did I like it here? Did it feel like home?
And I unravelled deeper parts of my trauma, deeper, older experiences that made me feel like I was always wrong, I realized that was it. I was always wrong. I never believed in myself, I never believed I would be right, that I must have done something to be at fault for things.
It was a million small things, and a lot of big things, conditioned into me that so I believed I wasn’t enough. And when I opened to the world, too soon, too fast after finding myself, my footing, my braveness, my wildness, I was reminded of why I closed to people. I believed their version of me, I believed what I see in their eyes. I believed I had to change in order to be enough, somehow.
As I unpacked this I realized I didn’t have to pick it up and wear it like well worn jeans. I didn’t have to slip into the story and take it on as my own. I didn’t have to believe it.
But I just wasn’t there. I didn’t necessarily believe it but I feared it and because I feared it, I focused on it and because I focused on it I became it.
Before I could believe fully in myself and reclaim the deepest and fullest parts of myself I had to dive into the depths of why I didn’t believe in myself, I had turn the stories around, change my language, my beliefs, explore the aspects of my own brokenness and the feelings of hatred and disgust that I felt for myself.
I had to explore my love hate relationship with people who liked to remind me why I’m not enough, to tell me how I needed to give up, go away, or why I wasn’t capable. Why did I like to spend time with people who liked to remind me of all the things I wasn’t instead of all the things I was?
And I realized this image, this persona, this identity, these traits and qualities I had adopted helped keep me safe, different safe than the castle and moat and crocodiles. Safe in that I didn’t have to rise, safe in that I didn’t have to strive, safe in that I didn’t have to shine.
It was another layer between not anymore and not yet. This phase was new. I couldn’t push and force my way through this one like I could behind walls. This required a deep feel, a deep low, deep work to really reclaim my power, to take back all of who I am so people can’t impact me like that anymore.
So that when they come, and they will, as I rise higher and higher, I won’t doubt what I feel or see. So the person I trust most is me. So I can truly be me, without looking over my shoulder, assessing what someone else thinks, believing someone else’s version of me, giving someone else that much power over my life.
While it was ugly, victim playing, sob story, unmotivated, low vibe ugly, it was beautiful. It was beautiful because I had no choice but to surrender. I had no choice but to heal the deepest parts of my soul, to face my shadows, to sink into the depths and find the holes in the foundation of my life, my beliefs, and reclaim them.
And I realized maybe I was afraid to shine, maybe this suited me fine, maybe either hiding behind hardness or messiness was just another version of the same thing, not taking ownership of my own life, my own power, letting someone dictate how I showed up and what I believed about myself.
Maybe I was afraid to shine because I didn’t know what else the light I cast would bring up or bring to me. Maybe it was easier and safer to stay there, unmotivated, messy and filled with doubt than it was to risk being hurt again, risk failing again, to expose myself again.
Maybe I was afraid of what the light would show that I hadn’t dealt with. Maybe I was just afraid of the light after years in so much darkness. Maybe the light felt uncomfortable, scary. Or maybe there was just a lot to deal with, layer by layer, more depth and unpacking than I realized, more time to really integrate and become the wildest of women, like I knew I was.
Like an arrow, we have to get pulled back in order to move forward. Sometimes we get pulled back because we want to go somewhere and we need to deal with something inside of us, that we’re holding onto, or something that hasn’t been released, seen, or dealt with, so we can go where we want without the baggage holding us back.
Because the truth is, she wasn’t me. That incapable, uncertain, lost, messy, frozen girl wasn’t me. She was parts of me, parts of my trauma, parts of my humanness, my fear, but she wasn’t the real me. She wasn’t the wild soul within me, she was the opposite of that. She was my conditioning.
And it wasn’t until I let her go that I realized how much she had been holding me back. The story of incapable, fear, doubt, lost, trapped, stuck were not true. They were only true as long as I believed them.
And that’s the greatest lesson I could have re-learned. What we believe is what comes true. What we focus on is what we get. And in order to live our best lives we have to repair our foundations that were fucked up. In order to see the holes in the foundation we have to be introduced to people and experiences that will lead us directly to them.
If we allow ourselves to explore where we are and why we’re there, that’s where our true power lays – underneath and right through what we’re avoiding, what hurts us and what holds us back.
That’s where the real us lays, underneath the baggage and bullshit we keep telling ourselves to bend ourselves into some version that will make us less intimidating, less fierce, less rejectable than the real us.
But wild one, we didn’t come here to fit in, to sit silent, to make nice. We came here to usher in a new way, a new paradigm, a new world.
And you and I can’t do that as long as we’re playing fucking nice and bending to someone’s else version of who we should be because they have the salt to our wound that cripples us when they rub it just the right way in just the right spot.
But I’ve learned that pain can make us hide or it can make us rise.
I choose to fucking rise. What do you choose?
PS… I write about this in my book “Unchained”. It’s not available for public release until Feb 2020 But I have early editions that you can get your hands on -> https://www.wildsoulwomen.com/unchainedbook Grab a copy and I’ll send you an advance copy!