I think it’s safe to say that none of us really like struggling, but I’ve noticed I’m particularly adverse to it. But, more so than the actual struggle, I don’t like others to see it. I hate group classes of any sort. I hate learning new skills with people around. Even when I was in musical theater I would listen to a song a zillion times to get the notes down, before I would have to sing it in front of others in rehearsal.
I will share what I struggle with but I will not allow anyone to actually witness it. Well, at least if I have control over that and a couple of weeks ago in Bali, I definitely didn’t.
As we boarded a boat, I thought to myself, “Ugh I probably should have taken some Dramamine. Whatever, I’ll be fine.” You see, I am prone to motion sickness. I’m that chick that annoyingly commandeers the front seat when I’m in a group of people, because the last thing I want to do is turn green and have to try not to barf in front of others.
I’ve been on boats recently, and while I wasn’t 100% good– I was able to breathe and make it through. This was not the case here.
As the boat started moving I began to breathe deeply and tell myself over and over that I was good, but with zero air blowing through and no view of the horizon, I quickly began to feel horrible. “Shit.” I continued to breathe deep, but my hands started to lose feeling and cramp up. As calm as I was trying to keep myself, my body had other plans and was beginning to panic– in front of people. Members of the group I was with began to take notice of my state. I panicked harder. My throat and face began to go numb, I was unable to keep my hands open, and tears started falling from my eyes. One of the girls held my hands and calmly spoke to me the rest of the trip.
Afterward, I felt embarrassed. I felt incredibly weak for allowing people to see me in such an awful place. Then I began to worry that they thought I was doing all of that for attention. I felt even worse.
And that’s when it clicked.
Growing up I was never allowed to struggle, because anytime I did openly in front of others, I was accused of wanting attention. I remembered getting sick at a family event when I was younger, being accused of wanting attention and from then on every family event moving forward I would stress so much about the possibility of getting sick, that I would inevitably make myself sick over it. And so the cycle would continue.
I took that fear with me far, far into adulthood. So much so that when I am truly sick or openly struggling, I feel embarrassed, weak and ashamed.
This entire year has been a struggle for me and I have apologized over and over to my husband and others who have been a witness, but I’m now realizing I don’t need to apologize for not being perfect. I don’t need to apologize for being human.
What I need to do is give myself a bit of grace. Grace I didn’t even know I needed.
I think as you peel back the layers on your self-love, self-worth, behaviors, habits and tics you come to discover things about yourself you didn’t realize was holding you back. Once you make the discovery though, you can’t unsee it and the only person who can help you break free from those things, is you.
So, will you?
Big hugs & self-love sprinkles,
Read the next installment of Self-Love Sunday here.