Last week was crap.
Tuesday I felt like a celebrity. It was my birthday, and so many people called, messaged, visited, texted! Especially in a pandemic, that much social interaction felt out of this world.
But Monday certainly wasn’t fun, and Wednesday was a day fresh out of hell. I mean, one or two slightly trying things might have been okay, but it was as if I woke up under water, and the distance between me and the surface, where I could catch a breath, only increased over the day.
And honestly, the whole week was just tough. Uncomfortable emotions like anger and sadness spilled over at odd moments, and often. I cried many times. I felt exposed and vulnerable and like my skin was being flayed off my back. Not one time, but continually, I crawled into bed, pulled up the covers, and stayed there.
Partly, I did it to myself. I chose—or my healing self recognized that it was time—to take a personal, private step into vulnerability last week. While I’m sure it will bring results over time, it destabilized my childhood patterns of attachment. To be attached, says my belief, one must be small. One must never ask for something one needs. One must take care of oneself, and one must never, never do anything to rock the boat. Since the divorce of my parents when I was 7, I have never expressed my needs this honestly to anyone. There have been moments when the emotion of childlike panic was so strong I felt like I might vomit.
But while I was uncomfortable for most moments of most days this week, I was able to recognize what these feelings and time in bed were. They were not depression. They were not procrastination or lack of motivation. They were a genuine need to be safe for myself and to bear witness to my private experience—to the radical discomfort of breaking free from an unhealthy pattern. I did so with hope and faith that all would be well, even while knowing it could upend my life as I know it. This death of what we are, to see what we might become, is a fundamental step of healing.
I had to speak gently to myself: “You moved forward. You chose to be honest, to express feelings and needs. You have never taken up this much space in your life with the people who mean the most to you. Vulnerability WILL feel uncomfortable. You WILL feel exposed. And the rush of feelings is normal, because they have been shoved down for too long. It was time. You did what you needed to do. So just let the feelings be there.”
Before this crappy week began, as I prepared for this action of risk and vulnerability, I twice felt a new emotion welling up in me with words accompanying it. My body, my self, saying: “Thank you for loving ME at last. Thank you for allowing me to be fully seen.”
Last week was uncomfortable. Healing is rarely pretty words and cliché ribbons tied in a bow. For me, healing is when I practice making the choice to be there for myself. To take a step, but at the same time acknowledge what it costs. Be there with my whole self for the experience. Turn inward and say, “I see and honour this discomfort. I am uncomfortable, and that is okay.”