I had the urge to share this story with you all last night but I needed to sit with my emotions on this one for a full 24 hours before I proceeded. I had not realized just how intense my feelings would be on this transformation of self and I really needed to gather my thoughts and emotions.
About 5 years ago I deleted every single picture of myself that made me sad, embarrassed, or ashamed. I was on a long journey of healing from past trauma and toxic relationships (including the one with myself) and I was exhausted from reliving my past mistakes. I went absolutely mad one night and deleted anything that held me back.
I had forgotten all about this “night of deletion” as the years progressed and something miraculous happened; I had actually started to forget about my past life.
My life of binge drinking, bulimia, abusive relationships, narcissistic abuse, drug abuse, and the constant feeling that I was utterly worthless.
I had forgotten the names of friends that I spent 24 hours a day with, I had forgotten the faces of those who used me and abused me, and I had even forgotten huge chunks of time (years even) of both happy and sad times.
You see….at the age of 21 I left my home of Chicago and I never came back. Sure, I returned for Christmas or New Years, but I never ever spent more than a couple of weeks and I never let myself revisit old hangout spots. I stayed put in my parents home and surrounded myself with love and extremely loud laughter. I always itched to leave within just a few short days. The weight on my shoulders always found a way to creep back. The past was always lurking around any familiar corner.
I traveled the World through these years. These 10 years from home. I traveled with work, by myself, with friends and even strangers. I ran and ran from my past but it always seemed to find me. I practiced yoga, tai chi, meditation, and read every single self-help book one could imagine. The past always found me.
Sometimes, when I was in a far away country and smiling at the view, the past would hit me like a ton of bricks.
The breath would be knocked out of me and my trip was over. It found me and it shattered me.
You see….I never should have deleted the past. I never should have pretended that things did not exist or that everything was just dandy. I never should have run away without facing the biggest fear that many of us have: our own feelings. Being vulnerable and loving ourselves enough to feel ALL of the pain. To sit with these feelings, no matter how long this takes.
Running away does not solve our problems. It may feel good at the moment but it does nothing for us.
22 months ago I birthed twin boys and I made a promise to them as soon as I saw their little faces on my chest; I will heal. I will heal and if not for me, it will be for you. You deserve a mother who is in the present. You deserve a mother and a friend who will be 100% mindful of her words, her actions and her love for you.
I went digging yesterday and I finally found a photo that was not deleted. I found this photo. This one photo on the left that shows just a small smidge of my past.
I sat with this photo and I let the feelings shower over me.
The feelings hurt. They were still raw as the day that the healing journey began. The feeling of sadness, being ashamed, embarrassed and worthlessness washed over me and I let it pass through me freely. I let it pass without any mental block.
No more deleting. No more running. I am here. I am not going anywhere. I will hold my past in my loving hands just as I hold the present. I will love my past self just as much as I love the present.
The truth is, without her I would have never found me.
Without the darkness, I never would have made it to the light.