Living Unmasked: Thoughts on Allowing Humanity and Being Seen
There are days I forget everything good in my life, even when I am staring right at it. Maybe it is because I stare at my blessings everyday and have become blind to them. Maybe it is because I have been repeatedly taught by our culture to focus on the next thing - the next achievement, the next destination, the next level of growth - that it takes incredible intention and courage to simply relax into and appreciate what I have. Most likely both.
The past week or so this is exactly the place I have found myself: wanting to be further ahead; longing to have grown more, to have become more of myself, to have received and achieved and accomplished more than I already have. Seeing friends share recent successes in their business or life, and feeling some excitement for them, but mostly feeling my own lack.
Not enough. Still not enough.
After everything I have been through; after all I have loved and healed and grown and achieved and created, there is still an insatiable part of me that makes it never be enough.
Sometimes the longing to be someone or somewhere other than who and where I am in this moment is so strong it's all I can do to just get up and show up to my life. Sometimes I lay awake all night with anxiety. Sometimes I cry on the bus. Sometimes I cry at work. Sometimes I wail and scream and rage into my pillow, or at the ocean or the moon.
Sometimes I can feel the pain of our collective longing; of the exhausting effort of our collective running up a staircase towards some destination that never arrives, and I collapse under the weight of it. Sometimes I find myself in a pit of despair. Sometimes I want to just give up.
And yet, even in times of deep pain, I am peaceful. I feel the longing; I feel the sadness; I feel the rage; I feel the despair. And I allow it. I allow it all to be a part of my experience of life. I give it permission to move through me; to teach me; to heal me; to hold me; and to shake me awake into this moment. I am no longer afraid of my own humanity.
For this peace I am so grateful.
Five years ago I was terrified of the depth to which I feel life. I avoided my own experience with food and alcohol, and by making myself busy. I refused to breathe deeply into my own body.
This past week in the midst of my inner torment I consistently breathed deeply into my gut. I felt fully the pain and the longing there. I moved through my legal work at a slower pace, but I did still work. There was the familiar despair deep in my bones, but I felt love, too, because I was present. And I did not feel the desire to numb out my experience.
I am grateful I have cultivated the strength and the faith to be with pain and fear and longing and loss. I am grateful for the vastness of my human experience. And I am most grateful for the level of honesty and transparency with which I now live my life.
My law firm knows I feel deeply, and that I am passionate with mental and emotional ups and downs. And so does everyone in my life. And anyone who will come into my life in the future will know too. I am no longer hiding this part of me. I have transformed my beliefs and my behaviours in many ways, but I am still me. I always will be.
And although I sometimes long to be someone or somewhere other than who and where I am, I now hold those thoughts and feelings with peace, and continue on. Because I know in my heart that what I truly want, and the world needs most, is for me to lay down my masks, and to just be me.