Telling the truth.
Welcome to back to our dry January journaling series, my loves! We have arrived at day 5. Look at us go - here is our prompt:
"What do you think it means to be honest with yourself?"
I have never been more honest with myself, my people, and my life more than I was in 2021.
I can't really say why. Could be motherhood, could be 2020/2021 - fuck, it could be both. I know to some people it feels really tough to hear that motherhood could be anything but blissful and perfect. In reality, motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever been asked to do. In the midst of becoming a new mom in the middle of a pandemic, I also realized I had years of unhealed childhood and religious trauma woven through my subconscious.
5 months after becoming a mom, I decided to get sober. As if life wasn't hard enough, I decided to get rid of my biggest crutch.
The thing about alcohol though, it's like walking with crutches when your legs aren't broken. You convince yourself that life is easier because you have this "crutch" but in reality you are removing your ability to live and move as you were meant to in your life. When you use crutches when you don't need them your leg muscles get weaker and your hands become an expense to carrying around the extra weight.
You're convinced they will help you heal but those crutches are the one thing holding you back from experiencing life fully.
Alcohol was not my problem. My drinking was a symptom of something greater.
I drank because I was lying. To myself, my partner, and everyone around me. I had spent my entire life lying occasionally. Saying yes when I wanted to say no. Forcing a smile when I felt completely broken inside. Imitating strength when my entire being felt weak.
And at night when all of my masks came off, when I stopped being who the world said I should be - I drank. A lot.
I drank to silence the parts of my brain that told me I wasn't good enough. I drank to numb the parts of myself that felt unworthy to be shared with others. Shame kept me hidden and alcohol kept me numb.
When I finally quit the booze, I felt like I had thousands of thoughts all at once. Emotions, senses, ideas, all of it. It came rushing into my mind like a ton of rapids in the middle of a once calm stream. They knocked me over. I remember actually saying to my therapist, "I have so many more thoughts and ideas and projects I want to do" - it was like watching someone come back to life.
I remember feeling really scared of my emotions at first. I had spent my entire life letting my emotions be either 0 or 100. I wasn't quite sure how to sit with them and process them and work through them.
But sobriety gave me the key. The key was honesty. Honesty not only with myself but with my partner and my friends and my family. When I told the truth about how I was feeling and what I was going through, I was sending a message to my brain and my body that our thoughts were valid, our emotions deserve to be heard, and that we were worthy of being honored and loved.
Shame tells you to keep quiet. To not let anyone know what's happening. In order to keep up some sort of façade. Shame whispers "do not tell people the truth because if people know the real you, they won't like you and if people don't like you, you aren't worth anything."
All of that is a lie. Our honesty is the key to our healing. Our honesty is the key to embracing emotions. Our honesty with ourselves is how we get free.
Telling the truth is the most liberating thing I've ever done. And the best part is, when I do it - I liberate you too. Because I tell you that your truth is valid, that your stories deserve to be told, and that healing is for all of us.
So here's my deep dark secret - I've spent my entire life trying to achieve perfection and praise in hopes it will make people love me. I learned that no matter how much I achieve and no matter how many people love me - If I don't believe I'm worthy of love, I'll never let myself receive it.
I'll stop myself from receiving the most bountiful gifts of this life by not believing I deserve them. So I am choosing to believe that I deserve them.
It's hard to believe you deserve good things. It's hard for me to believe I'm worthy of that. I'm choosing to believe that today.
Honesty is the key, loves. What truths will help you be freer?