Never depend on anyone.
Never allow anyone to see you for who you really are
Always put on a brave face
Never admit your nervous or fearful
Never let anyone see you cry
Never and I mean never be vulnerable
Does any of this sound familiar?
This was my life until a couple of years ago when I decided to tear this list into tiny little pieces and change everything about this and I do mean everything!
I was raised to be strong, to never show fear, to live with an outer shell that could never be penetrated by anything or any person therefore, no one ever really saw me. I never allowed myself to fully live in the moments of grief, sadness, joy, love, or any feeling for that matter- at least not for too long. I always thought the happiness would be short lived and I needed to be brave through the sadness, as its what was expected of me.
I couldn’t let anyone down; I had to be the one to hold it together.
During my divorces, I never wanted my children to see me cry or to be sad. I wanted to show them that they could get through anything, no matter what they faced, and the only way I knew how to do this was to be strong.
But, I never showed them vulnerability. I never showed them how to hurt, what to do when they encounter pain, or how to grieve.
One day, as I became overwhelmed with grief of losing Life A, I started to sob uncontrollably as I was making dinner. All of the memories came flooding back to me and I couldn’t help it. The good ones, the bad ones, the thoughts of my uncertain future, of not being enough, of not being good enough to love, the kids- all of it. It was like a wave of thick, heavy, unbreathable fog had come over me. I started looking away at first because if they couldn’t see me, it wasn’t real right?
I couldn’t keep my emotions in much longer and I retreated to the bathroom to sob in quiet solitude. As I cried for a while, my children started to check on me and wonder where I went. I continued to say that I would be out in a minute but, I couldn’t stop sobbing and decided to stop putting on the facade that all was ok. All was not ok; my life was in complete transition and life sucked.
I was tired of pretending that I had it all together.
At work, I was a leader and needed to keep it together every moment of the day and here in the sanctuary of my own home, I had to show my children that it was ok to let your guard down and just cry. I came out of the bathroom, makeup filled with tears, red nosed, puffy eyed and showed them that mom was a real person who felt sad sometimes and that was ok. It didn’t mean that the world was over but, it meant that mom was human. We are all human.
So, all of my strong and independent women out there I encourage you to cry. Show our loved ones that being vulnerable and being authentically you is more important than being perceived perfect.