Did you know that today is the two year anniversary of the day I broke down completely? I’m not sure if anniversary is really the right word to use when remembering a mental breakdown you once had, because the word ‘anniversary’ usually connotes something happy that you’d like to remember. And that moment is definitely not something I really want to remember, but at the same time, I do in this weird way. I want to remember because something that came out of it is something worth celebrating – the rebirth of myself.
I like to try to find silver lining in everything, the good in every bad you could say, because you know there is one somewhere deep down in there. While that experience was incredibly terrifying, it was also the moment when I found out I could be brave. It also pushed me to recognize that there was indeed more to who I was, and that I was made for something more as well. I figured out how to love myself. To take care of me for once, after a life full of constantly dimming my own light and making sure that everyone else around me is still shining.
This post is difficult to write and even as I sit here and write, I still struggle with these flashes of memories from that awful day that are currently making my body tense up. I remember how deathly afraid I was and incapable of understanding that I would be ok, and that I was not going to die right there. Panic attacks are no joke. And to those who have experienced one, they will understand. But for those who haven’t, it is not something to be taken lightly. They are real. And they make you feel like your worst fears are really real. And no, you can’t just snap out of it.
I want to write about this, not only just to celebrate another year of growth in my own personal journey, but because I want to start living in a more honest world, even if that world is so small and I am the only one keeping that policy. I figured I’m pretty tired of hiding. I’ve been tired for a long time and it can get pretty annoying keeping up this charade of acting normal. Let’s just be real. We’re all weird in some way. We all struggle with something. And nobody, even Kim Kardashian or Cher or any other celebrity who you might envy, is perfect.
I want to start telling the truth. After being inspired by one of my most recently discovered favorite writers, Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery, she claims that the reason behind the creation for her blog, was simply because she wanted to start being honest. She wanted to be her real self. And she wanted to start “living out loud.” I think I want to as well.
So let’s be real.
I know it’s scary. And to tell you the truth, I still hide parts of myself in some way because it’s terrifying of showing your real self to people. Humans can be so cruel and I’m not even sure why because it’s not like they are any better themselves. So what if we appear to be weak? At least we are honest about our struggles and I think that in itself is more brave and a sign of strength than pretending to have it all together.
I don’t really know exactly where I’m going with this. I think it’s more of a post just trying to reach out to those of you who are struggling, who are dealing with something, some kind of human crisis. I want to give you permission so that you will know that it’s ok. It’s ok to be where you’re at. It’s ok to not be perfect. And you know what’s even better news – that you will be ok even if you’re found out.
I wish I knew that back then.
And I think if we knew this early on, we wouldn’t have so much unbearable pain weighing down on us. We would almost feel a kind of freedom or lightness to just be. We wouldn’t have to hide parts of ourselves that we were ashamed of. And maybe, just maybe, if people did actually give us permission to be imperfect, we would want to get help and better ourselves or our situations. But because we are living in such a pro-shame society, we feel like these weirdoes and outcasts that have to hide our true selves, which only puts more pressure and stress upon our bodies and minds, and then it’s almost impossible to get better.
I think the reason why I was able to push through it all was because of these “love warriors” as Glennon describes them. Love warriors like herself, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Jennifer Pastiloff, and Cheryl Strayed. These human beings did the brave thing by simply being honest about their struggles or the fact that they were imperfect. And you know what that did for me to hear their stories and to see how real they were; it gave me permission to be myself and to start living authentically too.
So thank you my fellow writers who I cannot thank enough for being brave souls. And I wish someday you will be able to know just how much you helped me and inspired me to be brave too. I think this why I have an even greater passion and burning desire to write. Because I aspire to be as brave as they are. I want to be honest. I want to show others that it’s ok to be imperfect, and it’s ok to love who you are, and it’s ok to struggle. I want to start that revolution inside of you beautiful human beings so that we can combat this false idea of perfection.
What can you be honest about today? Maybe you don’t have to take that next level and live honestly with everyone around you, but maybe it’s time to even just be honest with yourself. Because sometimes we even try to fool ourselves into believing we are perfect. And after years of doing that, I can say it is definitely the worst thing you can do.
That’s want to challenge you with today. Just that. Just be honest with yourself first and then see how that feels. Does it make you feel scared? Anxious? Depressed? Angry? Are you disappointed? Whatever you feel, accept it and then tell yourself it’s ok, because I love you anyway. Then see how you feel. Don’t be surprised if you begin to feel a little lighter and little bit more free.
And it’s a process. Just because you’re trying honestly out today, doesn’t mean it’ll last until tomorrow. You have to constantly choose to be honest and authentic. You have to constantly choose to give yourself grace. Trust me, I’m still working on it.
In fact, I’ll share with you a little struggle right now. That anxiety I mentioned, it’s kind of rearing it’s ugly head right now. Not permanently and not as intensely but I can feel it lingering around and it’s definitely not welcome. My body feels tense, too tense, and I just can’t seem to slow my mind down. It’s most likely from stress, and thank God, I am much stronger than I used to be so I am able to function pretty well, but it is still extremely uncomfortable. And you know what I’ve noticed, I am beginning to try to hide it because I’m ashamed. Because that fear inside me has welled up into believing that people are going to think I’m weak for this or that I’m going to relapse and all of my progress is going to mean nothing. But you know what I say to that…
“It’s ok, I love you anyway. I’m not going to hide you from anybody. In fact, I’m going to shine some light in your direction, just so you know that I’m not intimidated by you anymore. And when you pass, I will still continue on being brave. Still being me, my imperfect little self.”
You are much braver than you believe, my friends.
The Self Love Daily Challenge: Be honest with yourself. Accept what you feel and tell yourself it’s ok, I love you anyway. Then try incorporating that same honesty and acceptance in your life with others.
Don’t forget to reach out to me. It gets a bit lonely not seeing anyone respond (haha) and I’d really love to hear from you. Follow me on instagram @christina.ciro or Facebook!