My little universe is spinning quietly these past few weeks, yet I feel pulled inward from the momentum…in a good way? In an important way, at least. I’ve started therapy with the intention of properly committing beyond the first introductory sessions this time, and it’s roused all sorts of nameless feelings. And I’ll keep many of those feelings (and their sources) nameless over the coming months, something I don’t usually do as someone with a history of spilling my vulnerabilities across the table for the whole world to see. This time though, even here on this virtual safe space, I want to avoid specifics of my past. And that actually scares me.
In 2022 I self-published a little book that I hand-wrote (I’ve since removed from shelves). It was a collection of poems and poetic prose written as my own little self-healing diary, in my handwriting. I wanted it to feel like you’d swiped my journal, because I truly believe there’s so much healing in hearing other individuals’ lived experiences. But, this book was written in real-time; I intentionally visited painful memories and my own mistakes, and “processed” my feelings into little poetic reflections. Poem by poem, memory by memory. I figured if it helped me, maybe it could help others.
What I finally realized long after the book was published was that I hadn’t fully sat with my wounds. It sure as hell felt like I had—that year was among my most emotionally intense years, and I certainly made strides in my mental health journey. But somehow the curtain lifted and I started to see the pattern I’ve lived.
My whole life, I’ve turned my struggles into art of some form or another, be it stories, photography, poetry, music, or painting. While my intention has always been to be as vulnerable as possible and potentially help myself (and others) along the way, I think my driving motivation was actually to “flip” reality into something beautiful before fully acknowledging all the ugly—without even looking, truly looking, at the terrifying bits that scare me the most. It was (is) my safety protocol.
But I realized I needed to look at those terrifying bits, because they still effect me today. At my best, there are still things that are not right. When I feel incredible, I’m still experiencing certain psychological struggles I’ve carried since childhood and a level of anxiousness that negatively impacts me. And I’m coming to understand that I don’t have to live like this, or at the very least, I can ask for professional help and not try to fix it all on my own. So, I removed the book (for now). And I considered therapy; not by myself, but with an actual therapist.
I want my kids to have me at my best, and to know what it looks like to ask for help, and to feel comfortable discussing mental health and emotional intelligence and how we can all do a little better at supporting one another. I hope for respectful, empathetic, kind and honest communication for my family, in both our future highs and lows. It’s been humbling to realize that I need to get my shit together a bit to foster this possibility.
So…I’ve been attending therapy. At a slow pace, with the cautious intention to lean all in. To at least try to make it a possibility for me to live in a world without an anxious undertone, where I don’t have to wear multiple masks or experience the scarier bits of my psychological struggles.
I’m getting used to the idea of compartmentalizing a little and keeping this process behind-the-scenes. And as for that little handwritten book I poured my soul into, I’m glad I took it down when it felt right. It lead me to taking those first steps towards finding a therapist and seeking help. Today however, I’m coming to a place where it feels right to share the book again. Maybe over the coming weeks? In time. One day at a time.
Offering a virtual hug to anyone who needs one today. ♡