All the tiny little breaks
It didn't happen all at once. The stripping down of who I thought I was. How I saw myself.
It was slow. It was a slow revealing. When I broke, it wasn't from one blow.
It was from all the tiny little breaks along the way.
As far back as I can remember, the prevailing feeling in me and around me was that I didn't belong. That I was not wanted. It followed me like a shadow, ever present. I have no memory of anyone speaking these actual words to me, I just felt it. And it was all of the time....at home, at school, playing with friends...and still later as a teenager...in high school, classes, the cafeteria, my volleyball team...it was a constant for me. I was always on egg shells waiting to be asked to leave. Always waiting for rejection. I felt fragile. Like everything was precarious. I couldn't trust the world around me. And I never truly felt safe. Like stepping across a frozen lake...will I fall through? Will it hold me?
That fear had a grip on me for as long as I can remember. I have a memory of playing with a little friend...we were living in Blackburn Hamlet at the time so I must have been in grade 1 or 2...maybe 7 years old or so? Her name was Bridget. She had beautiful long hair, she was very pretty and she spoke mostly French. We were listening to my favourite album "Grease" - which looking back now as an adult, the lyrics might be a bit questionable for that age lol ? But I was blissfully unaware of all the innuendo... I just loved to dance and sing to it. But I digress.
So, Bridget and I were dancing and singing and having a great time. Until she said it was time for her to go home. I remember my whole body freezing. And all I could feel was panic. No, you can't leave - you have to stay and play with me. She was done playing and wanted to go home. And so I physically blocked the door. And she started to cry. Enter my mother, who I remember being horrified that I would trap this poor child in the room with me and not let her leave. I never did see Bridget again. She's probably out there somewhere writing a blog about the time a bully trapped her in a room and wouldn't let her leave and it's how she developed agoraphobia. Ok maybe that's a bit dramatic.
Of course, I did not make the connection at the time, but looking back, it was panic at the thought of being left. Of being unwanted. Rejection.
I learned to manage my fear by over compensating...by striving to be the best at everything. It was my shield. If I'm the best swimmer then I will belong to a team - I will be wanted. If I'm the best student, they will claim me as their own - I will be wanted. If I'm the best daughter, I will be wanted. I will be safe.
I was fragile from the start. And instead of sealing all my fragile lines together with love and healing, I mounted the pressure. All the striving. All the expectations I put on myself. All the dancing to everyone else's music. No wonder I started to crack under the weight of it all. I was living from a place of trying to please everyone around me. Trying to keep everyone happy. If I can make them happy, then they will want me. And I will be safe.
But I can't make everyone happy. I can't make anyone happy actually - except for me. And I will not be the right cup of tea for some people. My songs, my music, my show, my words, my personality, my sense of humour, the way I look. Anything and everything about me will be rejected by someone at some time. And that's OK! I am ok. And I am safe.
I am filling every little crack with love and kindness. I am gently sealing every tiny little break with grace and gratitude for everything I am learning. Everything I am finding the courage to reveal about myself.
I know what makes me, me. And I know that I am loved.
I am wanted.