Ah so this post has taken me awhile to write up and I couldn't quite decide how I wanted it to go BUT releasing it now is as good as a time as any so here it goes. The title is so much more than healing the heart for me. It's me as a whole person who has healed. When I took the poll and had SO many people vote they wanted to have this conversation I knew I wanted to tell you my story and let my lessons be a way for you all to heal yourselves too. We are so torn down as we grow up and conditioned that we become jaded because of experiences. Maybe not all of us feel this way, but starting this journey and talking so openly about my own healing and lessons shows me we all need a little extra TLC. I hold this space for you to do it without fear or judgement. Letting go of pain and facing it is the hardest part of the healing journey. It's so easy to numb yourself and put on a mask and get by that you eventually convince yourself it's totally okay and you're okay. Our brain is a powerful organ but our emotions is what really rules us. Realizing your life and that you are so much more than the painful experiences is not an easy thing to face. I think back to how I was before the person that sits here writing this today is. I said i'm good or not bad over and over again and I smiled when I was asked how things were going, but inside there was this fear of being myself of how it REALLY was going. I had moments where when someone asked me what's up with life or how my fam was my eyes would swell with water and i'd choke back tears because I was too embarrassed to talk about how it was going. I was both living a life of joy and pure sadness. Crazy how we can do that huh?
Growing up I had major family issues. My parents went through a terrible divorce that left my house divided for years. It started in middle school and i'd say finally ended when I was about to graduate college. During this time I left home for college and honestly kind of left my family behind. I was there here and there, but overall I wanted to get the hell out of my hometown and never go back. For a good while I lived that way and never really talked much about my family. I let most people think whatever they wanted because they didn't actually know how I felt and because most of these people were new to my life had no idea what happened. So fast forward to now, this last year has been a year of so many emotions and SO much growth. I feel like I went through it all pain, joy, heart break, anger, peace, and everything in between. If you have been following along I am sure you can tell my life has expanded into so much more and I am so incredibly thankful for it.
To begin, this journey of healing the heart started when I finally left home 8 years ago, holy cow so weird it's been that long but didn't really come to fruition until about 2 years ago. So as I stated my parents got divorced. If you're a child of divorce you know that things can get really ugly and it's painful for everyone. Custody battles are no joke and though both my parents loved my siblings and I with all they had, they were blinded by so much pain they got lost in the process of what was actually important- our family regardless of the situation. It left me in so much pain, feeling lost, unsure of what love really looked like, all I had during this divorce was the ability to numb myself from it all so that I didn't have to choose sides. As the eldest sibling I did my best to shield my little brother and sister from all that I could and dealt with everything so that they didn't. I put my best foot forward as the big sister and endured a lot of what happened. I was young when it happened and I had to grow up fast so I think that's partially why I feel so disconnected sometimes. By the time I as 18 I lived a life making a lot of important decisions for the mental health of myself, my brother and sister and my own family. I know a lot of you out there probably had to grow up sooner than you should have too so be proud of yourself today for getting here.
I honestly can't remember entirely how I felt because I did suppress a lot of the memories and what I remember of it now is probably so different than what I actually went through. All I can say is that as I got older I held a lot in, a whole lot of anger and pain. I had a lot of self-doubt, I had trust issues, I didn't feel like I could depend on anyone but myself, I didn't believe in marriage, I more often than not lived vicariously through a lot of friends who had families that were close because I rarely spoke to mine. I developed a lot of negative thoughts and emotions around life because of that divorce at such a weird awkward stage of life. I mean think back to high school you. So I went a little MIA to my family because being near them wasn't something I wanted for awhile. I came out of that divorce pretty damn bitter to be honest so I didn't want to look back. I lived that way in a bubble for a long time because I didn't want to share anything of my past with anyone and it worked out because we were so new to the adult world in college and nothing was too serious yet. My relationships deepened as time passed and I realized it was kind of hard to get to know a person entirely when someone keeps a very huge part of themselves under wraps. I am thankful I have friends who loved me regardless of it all. Eventually I had to face the past in order to truly live in the present though. Slowly I started to talk out some family stuff with the people in my life and I realize the response I so feared was the exact opposite of what I received.
The quote goes "You have to know the past to understand the present" by Carl Sagan has never been more true for me. I was a certain way for so long I could tell in some of my relationships there was a struggle to understand who I was and why I was like that because I refused to talk about my past. I couldn't explain certain parts of myself without having to talk about my past so instead I just shut down. I was absolutely terrified for anyone to know anything about my parents divorce and what I went through for fear of judgement. Judgement on me and my family because despite it all my family is incredible. My parents made mistakes yes, but at the end of the day they are both people I am proud to call my parents. However getting to the point of forgiveness especially with my mom was a process I won't lie. So if you are/were in my boat or can relate know that you can find peace. Once I began to open up to myself it was easier to open up to others without that fear and my life changed. People saw my family struggles as just an obstacle that made me the friend they call today and they reminded me that they were there for me no matter what. It was a weird feeling I the first time someone was like you should be proud of yourself because you're stronger because of all it and everyone struggles Shay. I was told not to be afraid to talk about my feelings because we've all been through something and that's what friends were for. Something in me clicked that there was more in this life of mine. Like wow I don't know what I was so scared of because I felt so loved. I felt free. I felt an immense amount of gratitude. I felt vulnerable. I felt like I could be open. These people are not just my friends now they've become family and I don't know what i'd do without any of them.
I had to face my family demons and that divorce and the pain I went through so I could process and finally open up to who I am today and face her aka me. The version of me I had in my head that is. I am so thankful for the people who did learn parts of me throughout the years where I wasn't ready to talk and never pushed, but still accepted me as is because had they not I don't know I could have faced myself. I was scared of who I thought I was and I know now I can show up in my relationships better because I know the real me. I feel that difference soooo deeply now. That's why I started therapy last spring. I got to a point where I thought there was something genuinely wrong with me. In my head the only real emotion I ever felt was resentment if I am being totally honest. Yes I felt happiness, excitement and all of the above but never fully. There was always something in all of those moments that felt off for me like it was wrong to enjoy it or something. I can't find the words to explain it but I wasn't good at the good parts of life and enjoying them. It scared me actually. I constantly lived in this fear that if things were good eventually they'd blow up in my face because that's what happened with my family. Which is a terrible way to view life and I knew that which is why I wanted to make a change. I was sick of feeling the way I did and I didn't like the person I was becoming. It was definitely not the life I wanted to lead. I was just plain scared to face myself and feel and living a life in fear. I had learned to live in a state of numbness that feelings were scary. I mean feelings are scary all the time because heart break or pain sucks BUT it's also beautiful to really be able to feel right? I mean think of one of the happiest days of your life right now. It feels good no?! Even when we are sad there is still a lot of good we can feel because the beautiful thing about life and emotions is that in any state it's only temporary. You are master of how you want to move about it all so don't be afraid.
Feeling free and at peace also feels really good and for getting here I am proud of myself. I faced some deep seeded family issues and then eventually had the courage to face relationship issues I had. I had been in a space with relationships where I wasn't treated with the respect I deserved. Though damaged as I may have thought of myself, I have learned that you should never let anyone make you feel less than good enough. You are so more than enough. Remember this loves! In short I dealt with a whole lot of self-worth issues that came up because I was being treated in a way I did not deserve from a person who meant the world to me. Shit happens though and you only come out stronger as cliche as that sounds. It had to happen when I think back on it now! When I finally let go of the thoughts, what ifs, and self-doubt my world became this open canvas of love. I am genuinely thankful I went through what I did because without all that pain and ugliness that ensued it pushed me to finally choose myself and say enough is enough. Like that dang catch line "stay woke friends" lolol sorry I had to. All i'm saying is it truly did open my eyes.
I had to do a lot of work to feel that deeply after everything that came up, so I feel confident sitting here writing that I am damn proud of myself, I am as loving as I ever was but not afraid to show it and more importantly feel it, I am enough, I am loved, I am honest, I am vulnerable and I am truly happy with the life I lead. I want to bring that to everyone that meets me. I want you to live free and at peace with all parts of your life and yourself. I have parts of me that I know I will need to always work on, and that this journey of healing my heart will probably always be a process. I acknowledge this because life happens and triggers will come up and we are only human. However my message here is don't be afraid to do the work because there is so much life to be lived and it can feel really damn good! Better yet connecting and sharing it with other souls is the most magical feeling in the world!
I want to close this with saying wherever you are on your journey know you are not alone and it's never to late to begin. Take that step forward and set yourself free.
Sending all my love!