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My body, my home

my-body-my-home

Mirrors, they are forever betraying me.

Enlarging my flaws.

Highlighting my weaknesses.

Pinpointing my insecurities.

A sheet of glass that always manages to find my achilles heel.

 

Why are my eyes so puffy in the morning?

Are my thighs really always that big?

I scrutinize every inch of myself until my stomach feels sick.

 

But it’s not the mirror who despises me.

It’s not the glass that leaves me feeling this way.  

It’s my own head, my own thoughts that betray me, conditioned to believe beauty is only skin deep.

 

I shake the horrible thoughts out of my head. I hug my arms around myself.

I will not fight my own flesh anymore.

This is my body, this is my home.


 

I have always had a tentative relationship with my body.

 

There have been times when I have treated it poorly. Depriving it, over exerting it, attempting to squeeze it into jeans that were never designed for these hips.

 

Our relationship is one filled with one-sided animosity.

 

It seemed unfair to me that as I grew up, I expanded in some areas and not others. Like a balloon blown up all wonky instead of precisely into the standard shape.

 

I thought that women came in a standard shape too.

 

Blonde hair, check. Blue eyes, check. But what happened to my large breasts and tiny waist? Where is my golden tan and long, lean legs?

 

It seemed some pieces were missing from this perfect puzzle.

 

So I wrestled with my body for years. Desperately trying to manipulate it into that ideal shape and degrading this home of mine in the process.

 

Allowing weeds to take over the flowerbeds. Letting paint start to chip. Not worrying about the cracks in the ceiling or wallpaper beginning to fade.

 

Making it look from the outside as though everything was as it should be but on the inside I was crumbling into disrepair.  


 

But I thought I had put all of that behind me. I thought I had made peace with my body. I thought I was finally free from this crippling, self-loathing mindset.

 

In the back of my mind I always knew that my body would eventually change, I was under no illusion that I would stay the size of a twenty year old forever. I just didn’t expect gaining weight to affect me so much.

 

But it has.

 

I was surprised how quickly the tears would come when I looked at myself in the mirror. I was shocked just how easily I allowed guilt to dictate what I ate. I was saddened to watch myself slipping back into the same old habits and not knowing what to do to stop it.

 

Because it’s easy to love your body when it fits the mold. It’s not difficult to have self compassion when you believe you are the right size.

 

It’s when my jeans began to feel too tight and my stomach still stuck out a little even when I was sucking it in that I discovered how difficult self love really is.

 

Self love is not something that comes naturally like taking a breath as you come out of water or blinking when a bright light flashes.

 

Learning how to love myself, my new self  has been hard.

 

Possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Which perhaps makes me sound vain and conceited but in a world which constantly reminds me that I need to change in order to fit in and be lovable, it’s not surprising at all.

 

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I’ve been down this road now a few times and I’ve learnt that restriction and shame are not the answer. Loathing myself or fighting against my body just doesn’t work.

 

So it seems that a new attitude is in order.

 

I cannot be at war with myself anymore. It’s too exhausting. I cannot just sit idly by while the place I live begins to fall apart.

 

This is my body, this is my home.

 

And so I remind myself each and every day…

 

My worth is not dependent on my weight.

 

While this body is my home, it is not my full person.

 

I am singing along to country music with the windows down driving along the highway. I am laughing at the ocean waves lapping around my ankles and squealing when the water gets too high. I am giving a cheeky wink to my Father on stage at our school production. 

 

You cannot contain me within the walls of this body, I am more than layers of flesh and a foundation of bones.

 

I am a gentle warmth, a cool breeze, a soft whisper.

 

My body is remarkable and it deserves my utmost respect.

 

To diminish its purpose to simple aesthetics is outrageous.

 

This body can run for miles and miles. This body can hear a rhythm and melt into the music. This body can heal itself, transform itself and grow another whole human being inside of it.

This body is incredible.

 

Change is inevitable, adaptation is crucial.

 

Nothing in this life stays the same forever. It has often been said that change is the only constant.

Therefore, I will not be surprised nor phased by change, I will simply adapt and move forwards.

 

A changing body means a life that is progressing. We are growing older and wiser. We are tracking towards new adventures and achievements.


 

Women aren’t like balloons. We don’t come in a standard shape or size. We are unique and that is something that should be celebrated rather than diminished.

 

Trying to squeeze us into one mold is a crying shame. There is so much beauty in our diversity. There is so much wonder in our individuality. 

 

When I look at the women in my life I feel that this is a battle that might not be won overnight. Because I’ve seen these precious ladies fighting against their bodies my whole life.

 

But that makes me no less determined to win this war of self compassion.

 

If not for me than for my daughters, my nieces, my best friends. For every woman who looks up to me and watches how I treat this place I call home.

 

I hope they will see something different in me. A deeper respect, an honest disposition, an abundance of grace.

 

A woman who bears the wrinkles of decades of laughter. Who proudly wears stretch marks from bringing new life into the world. Who has freckles from glorious summers in the sunshine and perhaps carries a little extra weight for all the meals that make life worth living.

 

I believe that in the end, the struggle is worth it.

 

Because this is my body, this is my home.

Feeling like a failure… when life doesn’t go as planned

feeling-like-a-failure

Yesterday I tried for the third time to make chocolate eclairs.

Because is there anything on this earth more divine than the combination of the light, fluffy pastry, thick, rich custard and silky, chocolate ganache?

Eating an eclair is such an alluring prospect that I am willing to struggle time and time again to make them perfectly.

 

And each and every time, I am stumped as to how it all goes so wrong. The first two trials I followed the recipe to the letter and still my eclairs looked disappointingly nowhere close to the picture.

 

But in my flurry to bake yesterday I misread the recipe and accidentally missed out an entire cup of flour from the pastry. And even though I noticed and quickly tried to make amends it was too late, the mixture refused to thicken.

 

I thought that adding the eggs would help coagulate the dough but to no avail. I then put my hopes in the cooking of the pastry.

But unfortunately, they came out of oven looking deflated like a rugby ball that had been mistakenly driven over by a truck.

 

By this point I was extremely put out. I’d already used far too many eggs and a tonne of butter so there really was no going back.

 

After a brief reprieve I returned to tackle the custard filling. I then carefully sandwiched pairs of the flattened, pastry blobs together and merrily sprinkled the whole lot with icing sugar.

 

They weren’t chocolate eclairs but the custard provided an adequate distraction so that everyone ate them without complaint.


 

If there is one thing I have learnt over the past year it is that life is full of these kinds of setbacks and surprises.

 

When embarking on new adventures and sailing into uncharted territory, we are bound to make a few blunders.

 

We hardly ever get things right the first time around. More often than not our chocolate eclairs look more like flattened footballs than the perfect image we found in a recipe book.  

 

What has taken me by surprise is that the setbacks I most often come across are due to my wayward imagination and lofty expectations.

 

I’m a dreamer whose eyes are always starry with thoughts of the future. With dreams so vast and expansive it is hardly surprising that I find reality to be bitter and unkind.

 

I thought the year after graduation would be different. I thought I would breeze into a job and finally find my place in this world. I thought I would know what I want and I’d hop onto the career ladder just the same as everyone else.

 

But this year saw me working part time as a shop assistant, then unemployed for three months and finally working again as a waitress.

 

And a little part of me feels like a failure.

 

Because college graduates are supposed to have real jobs. Because adults should be working 9-5 and focusing on serious, obtainable goals. Because by now I should have a plan, a path forwards and an answer for when people ask me what it is that I want to do.

 

But I still have no answer. I still have no plan. I still don’t have a real job.

 

I’m not the woman that 12 year old me hoped I would become. As far as she is probably concerned, I am a failure.

 

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But who decides what is success and what is failure? Who sets where the goalposts lie? Who has the right to tell me how I should live my life?

 

I do.

 

I’m only a failure if I believe so. I’m only a loser if I give up on myself. I’m only hopeless if once I fall, I refuse to get up and try again.

 

I suppose that success looks different to me now then when I was a little girl. It’s less about finding the perfect job, husband and house.

 

Success for me now means knowing who I am. It means being true to myself and living each day in a way that makes me proud.

 

Loving people even when I feel tired and impatient.

Creating something out of nothing and sharing it with the world.

Challenging myself to face my fears, push the limits and try new things.


 

What I am realizing is that following your own path instead of sticking to the status quo does not make you a failure.

 

Success doesn’t necessarily look the same for everyone so comparison is fruitless. 

 

The truth is, nobody really has a clue what they are doing. Most of us are stumbling along, figuring it out as we go.

 

So perhaps my life doesn’t look they way I thought it would at almost 22 but that’s part of what makes life beautiful…its total unpredictability.


 

I’m going to attempt to make eclairs again. I cannot resist, the sweetness or the challenge.

I’ll probably fail a few more times but one day I won’t.

 

One day the choux pastry will rise and stay crisp. One day the eclairs will retain their proper, elongated shape. One day I will bake them, fill them, ice them and present them to the oohs and ahhs of my loved ones.

 

That’s what success looks like to me.

 

Never, never, never giving up.

Authenticity and finding happiness by accepting myself

authenticity

There is a temptation we face when we meet new people to put on a mask.

Strangers are blank slates. Yet to witness our baggage or keep a record against us. It is all too easy for us to morph into someone we’ve always wished we were.

 

If you are of the obliging sort like me, when you meet someone new you will agree to almost anything.

I so hate making waves that I will bend over backwards just to keep the peace.

 

I will nod along to their every suggestion. I will eat whatever is placed before me. I will go wherever they want me to go and do whatever they want me to do.

 

I’m a puppet on a string with a clumsy, oblivious master.


 

But after awhile of this masquerade I begin to feel exhausted. Worn out from pushing myself to be an extrovert, an adventurous type or the kind of person who stays up past midnight on weeknights.

 

I get this icky, sticky feeling of something not being right. The uneasy, conflicting feeling of not being true to myself.

 

Authenticity it seems is a necessity for me. Much like a lack of oxygen, without it I am breathless. Like an absence of food, I get queasy in my stomach. Like the deprivation of sleep, I get sharp and unkind.


 

I have been out of town for the past couple of weeks and with the change in routine I’ve found myself withdrawing from my blog and social media.

I haven’t written at all since I left and it has made me feel smaller and less valuable.

 

Because writing is a part of my identity. The part that makes me feel most connected to the world around me. The part that allows me to create and add something rather than just taking all the time.

 

Without my blog to fall back on, I have felt dry and empty. And like a vicious cycle, the worse I feel the less inclined I am to write which in turn makes me feel less and less useful.

 

On the other hand, my absence from social media has been refreshing.

 

I hate uploading every part of my day on Instastories. I hate retweeting pointless things on my Twitter feed. I hate the edited, filtered, lack of spontaneity that I see all over Instagram.

 

It just isn’t me.

It doesn’t align with my values. It doesn’t fit my brand. It doesn’t fill me with joy.

 

And yet as a member of the millennial generation I don’t know how to escape it. As a struggling creative who is desperate to share her work, I don’t know how to avoid it.


 

Authenticity is an internal struggle. A fight to remain the truest version of ourselves when all around us we are tempted to fix our flaws, patch up our problems and become someone better.

 

I have discovered that a lack of authenticity breeds discontentment.

 

It fosters ideas that something is missing from our lives and if we just had that one thing, we would finally feel fulfilled.

If only we could lose that last 5 kgs. If only we had a wider social circle. If only we had a supportive partner. If only we had more time to pursue our passions.

 

But it’s just a mirage. Chasing after an ideal that we can never obtain.


 

The pursuit of authenticity leads to increased creativity, deeper relationships and an abundance of new ideas.

 

When I am being myself I feel happier. Because I don’t waste energy pursuing things that drain me. Because I use my time to write, create, bake, and share, to do the things which make me feel alive.

 

When I am being myself I find more pleasure in the company of others. Without the fear of judgement or pressure to perform I find I have more patience to listen to other’s stories and more compassion for them.

 

When I am being myself I feel more inspired. Because I take the time to notice things I might otherwise miss. Because I feel confident, secure and comfortable in my own skin which enables me to stretch out, take risks and explore new ideas.

 

Authenticity requires courage. Looking in the mirror and accepting myself as I am. Going out and facing the world without make up to hide behind. Speaking up and sharing my opinions even though I could get shut down.

 

authenticity, being yourself, accepting yourself, finding happiness, love yourself, just be you, self love, be authentic, be yourself

 

I’m a big fan of self improvement so I’m always looking for ways to extend and grow myself. I want to increase my productivity. I want to tap into my creative side more. I want to push myself to try new things.

 

But perhaps an even greater challenge is to grow into myself rather than trying to imitate someone else.

 

Maybe what I really need is to become more self aware and to live from a place of authenticity everyday.  

 

For me I think that looks like withdrawing in social settings because I am an introvert and being around people for too long makes me feel exhausted.

Or making the time to write because of all of my hobbies it is the one thing that makes me feel most alive.

Or not posting all the time on Instagram because it feels like a chore to me. And when I do, not being fussed that it makes my feed look scattered and unplanned because that is what real life looks like.

 

Authenticity is a daily practice of accepting who I am and finding new ways to allow myself to shine.

Because I have spent a lot of time trying to change myself but I’ve never been happier than when I was just being me.

 

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Daring to be vulnerable and my fear of feeling joy

Behind every sun lit tree there is a lurking shadow.  

Beyond every summer breeze there lies a winter chill.   

 

No matter where I try to run, the sadness seems to chase me.  

It’s a cumulus cloud, a tenacious oppressor,  

Always on my tail.  

 

All that is good is tainted by the darkness.  

Everything sweet is shadowed by bitter.  

All that is living is fleeing from decay.

 

These shadows they haunt us,  

A reminder that everything is ephemeral.  

 

The flowers will fade.

The grass will wither.   

Our skin will become dust.  

And these shadows too shall pass.  


 

There is a feeling that rises within me every time I feel great joy. A sense of haunting sadness and a chilling panic. A cloud that sweeps across the clear blue sky and leaves goosebumps on my skin.

 

An awareness that soon the joy will pass. Without notice, the blinding happiness could be taken from me.

 

So I am quick to extinguish the joy rather than dwell on it. My mind scurries to latch the windows and draw the curtains.

 

I have this firm belief that it is better to shield myself than feel these overwhelming emotions.

 

So I smother them. The darkness and the light. The joy and the grief.

 

Brené Brown talks about this concept as a shield of armor we use to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable. She calls this sensation, foreboding joy. In those moments of absolute bliss we are exposed, laid bare and defenseless.

 

When we feel love, connection or a sense of purpose, we are vulnerable because we have something to lose.

 

So rather than taking our time and sitting in the joy, we trample over it quickly with fear and sadness.

We picture these worst case scenarios. Our partner leaves us, one of our parents passes away, we lose our jobs, our plane goes down.

 

We prepare ourselves for the worst instead of living our best.

 

We think it is safer to keep our expectations low so that we won’t have to face the awful pain of disappointment.


 

I didn’t realise how often I was doing this until I recently read Brené’s book, Daring Greatly. I thought this shield of foreboding joy was just another idiosyncrasy I possess. That for me, everything was just a little bit tainted by sadness.

 

But as it turns out, I’m not the only one who lives this way. Darting from joy and dwelling on sadness.

 

It’s just another way that we try to escape that missing-the-last-step-stomach-drop feeling that comes with vulnerability.

 

None of us are particularly fond of the delicate balancing act we must undertake in order to find connection and meaning in this life. Wearing our hearts on our sleeves, sharing our art with the world, showing up wherever we go.

 

There is so much at stake. Sometimes the risk feels like too much to ask.

 

I’d rather stay in bed than face the fear of rejection or open myself up to the judgement and criticism of others. 

 

Unfortunately, as I’ve got older I have come to realise that all the best bits in life require vulnerability.

 

Those laughing-until-you-can’t-breathe friendships. That flying feeling of sharing something you’ve created with complete strangers. The dizzy dancing rush of saying I love you for the first time. Blushing when someone compliments your cooking. Traveling some place not yet explored and losing your sentiment in translation. 

 

vulnerability, feeling vulnerable, feeling joy, courage, brave, daring greatly, brene brown, inspirational, motivational, joy, intentional living

 

I used to hide from the joy because I wasn’t brave enough to reach that depth of vulnerability.

 

But now that I recognize this problem I’m striving to have the courage to feel joy.

 

Whenever I find myself softened by happiness, instead of allowing the sinking feeling of weakness to set in,  I’m practicing the art of gratitude.

Giving thanks in that moment for the joy. Taking time to lean out onto the ledge, the uncomfortable, unknown abyss that stretches before me.

 

Observing the way it makes me want to squirm and choosing to bravely trek onwards regardless.

 

So I’ll hug my friends extra tightly. I’ll smile even wider at the words I write. I’ll unclench my fists and relax my tense shoulders.

 

This is what it means to love loudly, to live wholeheartedly.

 

We share all of ourselves with others. Every last messy, imperfect bit. We know that vulnerability is strength not weakness so we force the shadows back and allow ourselves to feel the light.


 

I know now that feeling joy is incredibly courageous. It’s so very brave to allow ourselves to dive headfirst into such a powerful and unpredictable emotion.

 

But in the end both the joy and the sadness teach us what is truly valuable in life.

 

I consider it a privilege to feel sadness and to fear loss because it means I have something worth fighting for, living for, and loving with all I have.

 

For me, daring greatly means dropping my shield and welcoming the joy even though it terrifies me. That’s the most challenging, audacious and rewarding work that can be done.

The fear and the thrill of the fall

the-fear-of-falling

I have been ice skating three or four times in my life and every time I set foot on the ice I feel the same sensation.

 

The wobbly knees. The racing heart. The sheer terror of trying to move the thin blades on the slippery ice.

 

For the first few minutes I am nearly paralyzed. I jump at every passing person’s shadow. I teeter on the edge of the rink. I breathe deeply and attempt to slide forwards but the motion is less smooth and more like a drunken stagger.  

 

If I could only quieten my noisy mind and still my anxious heart, I know I could do this.

 

But the fear of falling always slows me down.

 

The panicked feeling of losing control makes my legs stop working.

 

As I look around, I see kids who barely come up to my knees, who are careening around without a care in the world. I wonder why that is?

Is it because they have sweet, innocent minds not yet tainted by the worries of this world? Is it because they’ve fallen once and they know it’s not so bad, so the falling no longer scares them? Or perhaps, it is just because they are closer to the ground so when they fall it doesn’t hurt as much.

 

I wish I had their fervor. I wish I could skate with their gusto. I wish I too, wasn’t afraid of falling.


 

The thing about fear is that it immobilizes us. It keeps us rigid, tense and hyper-aware of our surroundings. It prevents us from having the fluidity needed to move forwards.

 

There is something known as the fear-tension-pain cycle which women often experience in childbirth. The more afraid a woman feels about giving birth, the more tense she becomes and the more tense she becomes, the more pain she feels which leads to more fear.

 

To break the cycle, she must lean into the pain. She must face the fear and reduce the tension.

 

I see life as somewhat similar to giving birth.

 

We are constantly creating something out of nothing. Painting gentle strokes onto the canvas of our lives. Making art and beauty with the words we speak out, sing in the shower and whisper under our breath.

 

And in this birthing of something new and not yet known, we have to lean into the pain of the process. If we give into the fear, if we allow ourselves to tense up or pull back, we’ll find ourselves stuck.

Our ideas will run dry, our dreams will fade in the sunlight, our creativity will crumble like dust.

 

We have to allow ourselves to feel the pain in order to create. We must push through that fear of falling and make something anyway.

 

We have to be like those little children, unhindered by the slippery ice and sharp blades. Undaunted by the chill in the air and their lack of coordination.

 

To live, we simply must fall.

 

And that is what scares me the most. The lack of control. The absence of order.

 

There isn’t a road map for following your dreams or a safety net for falling in love, it’s just you and the ice. Miles of frozen water stretch out before you. An endless, unmarred horizon.  A blank, white unknown.

 

At some point all of us are faced with a choice, will we hold ourselves back or will we wobble out onto the ice?

 

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There is a time to hold back and there is a time to leap forwards, the key is recognising which move will serve you best.

 

I’ve been foolish with this decision before and of course, I have been hurt in the process.

 

But what I have found is that most often, it is better to take the leap because the fall is never as far or us fatal as I am expecting. And somehow, I always recover after the fall. It’s as if the fall makes me stronger. I suppose that dropping down to the lowest possible place means there is nowhere to go but up.

 

Taking a risk isn’t the safe option but it’s the only one that will allow you to fly.

 

You’ll never know how it feels to glide around the rink if you don’t step out onto the ice. You’ll never find love if you keep your heart locked up. You’ll never experience an adventure if you don’t seek it out. You’ll never know your full potential if you don’t give yourself a chance.


 

Because the other thing about the fall is this…it’s exhilarating. It’s breathtaking. It’s intoxicating.  

 

The reason we come back time and time again is because the fall makes us feel alive. Fully human. Impossibly free.

 

The truth is, our broken bones will heal. Our shattered hearts will mend. Our deflated ego will be restored.  What do we really have to fear when we’ve survived every fall we’ve ever had?

 

Because the alternative is to live a despondent life. To stick to the side of the rink. To hide ourselves away from anyone and anything that could hurt us. To never know the dizzy, dancing way it feels to take a running leap.

 

I don’t want to live that way.

I don’t want to be afraid.

I don’t want my thirst for control to limit me.

 

I’d rather fall on my face a thousand times than be the kind of person who isn’t willing to try.

 

“When you get the choice to sit it out or to dance, I hope you dance.” – Lee Ann Womack

Healing from the past: unraveling our stories and struggles

healing-from-the-past

I found a thread hanging loose from my shirt.

I tugged it gently thinking I could stop it from running.

But the slightest touch made it come undone.  

Before I could stop it the seam had unraveled.

Long, looping strands pulling away from neat stitches.

I tried so hard to keep it together.

I knotted the ends as tight as I could.

I meticulously sewed myself up so nothing could get in.

And yet a single strand sent the whole thing unraveling.

A tiny flaw in an integral stitch and everything fell apart.


 

I never thought I would need to see a counselor. I never thought my problems were worthy of such an extreme measure. I never felt like I was broken enough to need help putting the pieces back together again.

 

But I was wrong.

 

Strong people still feel weak. Happy people still cry. Sensible people still snap.

 

I didn’t cry. Not at first anyway. I was so proud of myself for that. At least I was still in control. At least I could still be contained.

 

But if you pull on a thread, it hardly ever snaps off a single piece. More often than not you’ll find that the thread you pulled keeps unraveling.

 

So that’s what happened.

 

One story looped through into another. On and on the pain I’d bottled up came flooding out.

 

Funnily enough, my biggest fear before I began was that I would have nothing to say. That we would sit for an hour in awkward silence, watching the clock hands inching around, eyes flickering from abstract art pieces to the flower vase on the coffee table.

 

You can imagine my surprise then that I found I could not keep the words from spilling out. I was a kitchen timer. Tick, tick, tick. I twisted around and around, a constant stream of stories, a tireless monologue.

 

I found myself smiling at things that weren’t funny. I laughed to mask the sadness.

 

And after every session I was always surprised that I felt nauseous. Physically ill from sharing such deep parts of myself. Like I had taken my internal organs and laid them out on the table in front of me. Inside parts always object to being outside.


 

This kind of vulnerability, this kind of healing is always painful. The deeper the wounds, the longer the healing process.

 

I wish I had sought after the healing sooner. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time wallowing in the mess and brokenness. I wish I hadn’t tried to keep myself sewn up neat and tidy.

 

Because the unraveling of our stories is beautiful. The unwinding, the coming undone, the letting go…it’s exhilarating. We find the source of our sorrows. We discover the roots of our fear. We realize the truths that will set us free.


 

The unraveling made me aware of threads that had run through my entire life. Lies that had shaped me. Burdens that had strained me. Core beliefs that had hindered and blinded me for far too long.

 

Shame was one of these threads. Deep and sometimes indistinct. Winding itself around every good and lovely memory, choking the very life out of them.

 

It taught me to hate my body. It led me to hate myself. It taunted me until I had no choice but to hide my full self from the rest of the world. I put up walls around my heart, a sturdy shield of armour to avoid getting hurt.

 

Shame swallowed up my voice, never allowing me to give an opinion or share my real thoughts. It distorted my vision, making me believe I was never good enough. It whispered constantly in my ear that my body was a distraction to others and a burden to myself.

 

And at the end of the thread, where the knot meets the fabric, I found shame whispering to me that I would never be enough.

 

Week by week as I sat on that scratchy, white couch with its chevron cushions, I shared all of the ways shame had entangled me. Slowly but surely, in the releasing of words and the surrendering of tears, I felt the weight begin to lift off me.

 

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I learnt that love and shame can never inhabit the same space. Shame needs darkness, dampness and very little oxygen to thrive.

But to love is to be free from shame.

 

Love is authentic, all-consuming. With nothing to hide. Nowhere to run.

 

To fight shame we must expose it to the light. We must drown it in truth. We must recognize its many faces and challenge each one of them.

 

That’s what counseling did for me. It caused me to notice all my loose threads that needed to be pulled.

 

It taught me to extend grace towards myself and others. To be kinder, gentler and more vulnerable. To wear my heart proudly on my sleeve once again.

To knock down the walls I had constructed as a defense for my fragile heart. To recognize the ways I was intuitively protecting and doing what is best for myself. 


 

I thought counselling would be like taking a sledgehammer to my foundations. That I would tear everything down and start all over again. But for me it was more about recognizing the parts of myself that needed redecorating. Attitudes that needed shifting. Negative thoughts that needed replacing.

It turns out that I didn’t need to be completely rebuilt…just reminded of the beauty I already possessed.

 

I was afraid that counseling would be a waste of time. But perhaps the biggest waste of time is denying yourself the opportunity to heal.

 

At the end of the day, that’s what we all need more of. Healing. Honesty. Hope. A gentle tug on our loose threads that begins the beautiful unraveling.

 

“I am nothing but a ripped fabric stitched together by God’s grace.” J.A. Anum