A few months ago, I wrote about needing to remember (Dancing Out Of The Box). Throughout my journey, I have discovered that there were parts of me that were trapped in a box. It was a box created for safety, but it had turned into a prison. I realized that I needed to find those parts of myself and destroy the box. Over the last month, I’ve been able to rescue a big part of myself from that box. I don’t really remember when that box was built, but I’m starting to ‘remember’ myself. I have never felt more like my true self – have never felt more alive – than I do right now. I am starting to not only see and accept who God created me to be, but I’m finding that I can look in the mirror and like what I see for the first time in my life.
In the last year, I have found myself becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve learned so much about myself, and about how fear has controlled my life. I have been able to let go of so many of the lies that I’ve believed for so long. I have discovered (or rather, uncovered) strength and beauty in the last place I ever thought I would – inside me. My own perception of myself – and the perception I always believed everyone else had of me – has drastically changed. In some ways, it has been a very quick, recent change; but it has also been a lifelong journey. There is so much that has happened in the last month, and a part of me wishes that it had happened sooner. But I also know that I would never have been ready for it until now. Each of my experiences to this point – both good and bad – have been needed for me to be me. Throughout the last five years or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a pit that I just couldn’t get out of. A friend recently used that picture in a way that perfectly describes where I’m at right now. She said, ‘It kind of puts all of that dark time into perspective…it forced you to keep stepping up every time a shovel full of dirt got thrown down on you.’ It’s such a perfect analogy. Each time I felt like more dirt was being thrown in the pit, I kept feeling like the purpose was to bury me. But I used each shovel full of dirt to step up a little closer to the top of the pit. Eventually, I had stepped up far enough that I could step out of the pit. I finally feel like I’m out of that pit, and it’s a great place to be.
Of course, I’m still not quite where I want to be. Though I’ve connected with lost parts of myself, there is still a big part of me that is in the box. Growing up, I was taught that emotions were bad. Showing any sort of emotion was a sign of weakness. I learned at a very young age to bury my emotions. They have been locked in that box for a very long time. It’s gotten harder in the last few years to truly disconnect from my emotions, but I am still very much in control. I know that I need to give up that control and allow the emotions out of the box. Negative emotions are really what I wanted to avoid for a long time. I didn’t want to feel pain. But I’ve realized that the positive emotions got buried as well. I block out pleasure, joy, and love just as much as the pain and sorrow. In order to truly connect with the positive, I also have to connect with the negative. I have to take the good with the bad. It all makes perfect sense to me, but I’m finding it difficult to go there – to allow myself to be vulnerable instead of always having to be in control.
But like the other parts of me that I’ve found recently, I have to remember. Remember those emotions – good and bad – that I have locked in that box. Emotions are a part of all of us. Without that part of me, I cannot see the whole picture of who I am – who God created me to be. He wants me to see who He sees. I have to remember how it feels to open that box and reconnect with a part of me. I have to remember how to open the box…