Grab Your Juice Box and Carpet Square... It's Show’n Tell
August 31, 2017
Don’t let’m see your Fear.
That’s what I told my 5-year-old self as my head smashed up against the brick wall outside my kindergarten class.
Don’t let’m know how much it hurts.
His name was Richard (not his real name) and he owned me. There wasn’t anyone else on the planet scarier to me than this 10-foot monster disguised in children’s clothing.
Feeling safe was for other people. Not me. And so every school morning, I climbed out of bed and put on my D-Day clothes. Occasionally I reined in my racing thoughts and stared out my bedroom window, searching for grey clouds and shiny objects. I’d come to appreciate rainy days as it meant recess was moved indoors and Richard could only despise me from a distance.
But not today. Today was business as usual. I boarded the school bus and did my best to ignore my body's sweaty warnings of imminent danger. With my heart racing and eyes glued to the floor, I tried to be tiny as I silently prayed no one would see me or speak to me.
Busyness, noisiness, and newness filled the classroom along with all other kinds of ‘nesses. And even though I was very tall for my age, it was all just too much for my tiny self.
I did my best to appear normal to any onlookers, but inside I was a mess—more than anything I just wanted to go home. When recess announced itself, my classmates shouted with excitement while the panic inside me grew.
I tried to swallow the lump in my throat but it was unswallowable.
My body seemed to move independently of my feeling self and I somehow found myself moving along with the crowd of little people.
Once the fresh air hit our faces, the crowd quickly dispersed, not unlike an open box of smarties turned upside down. But I was more like the red smartie that was stuck in the box and no matter how hard you shook the dang box, that smartie was NOT coming out. That was me.
My classmates made a run for the playground, the basketball hoop, and the skipping ropes. I simply staked out my empty space along the school wall.
And we all know what happened next.
Pretty much like clockwork.
Suffice it to say this was a very troubled time in my life where I incurred a lot of damage to my inner me. The physical bumps and bruises healed easily but the injuries on the inside would take decades to heal.
I sure would like to meet Richard today—that little pipsqueak. Well, I oughta #@$%...haha. Oops!
Looking back, I can’t pretend I walked into kindergarten with a fully intact self-esteem. I definitely did not. In fact, I had "victim" written all over me.
But rather than acting as a safe haven, kindergarten exploited my already weak and vulnerable self and became the perfect platform for swallowing my voice. In fact, my voice was so far down my throat that one day it literally pushed out the other end.
Yup, you know what end I’m talking about. But let me fill you in on the details.
One day I was sitting in a kindergarten class and I could no longer deny my need to use the washroom. Now, when I say I needed to go, I mean I REALLY needed to go. And yes, it was number 2. So here I was with one eye glued to the washroom door, and the other eye staring down the clock hands on the wall while the voices in my head battled it out.
I can't hold it...I have to hold it...cuz I am NOT asking to use the washroom.
My legs baulked at the idea of walking me towards the teacher and the jumble of words tied up inside my mouth refused to leave. I mean, watching my classmates’ pants suddenly burst into flames was more likely to happen than me asking to use the washroom.
No, I would not make a scene.
What I didn't understand then was I had adopted invisibility as my key survival tool and abandoning it was not an option. I would just have to hold on. Or in.
My discomfort grew by the minute and I felt the goods starting to exert more pressure. Just as the clock hands paused to torment me one last time, the bell rang.
Finally!!! I just need to make it to the bus.
I counted on gravity glueing my bum to the seat and for a short time, it worked. But I was about to learn what it's like to wage a battle against mother nature.
Squeeeeze! I quietly demanded of myself.
The contents could no longer be contained and a lumpy warmth filled my pants. The result was a mix of sweet relief and absolute horror. But I quickly realized the worst was not over as the stench slowly rose and filled my nostrils. I hoped that no one would notice.
Within minutes my stop arrived and I walked my sagging bum down the aisle. As I dismounted the bus the kids hollered in disgust over some unknown foul smell that filled the air. I practiced my best innocent face as I scurried across the street and the bus hauled away their voices.
Somehow, I managed to run home with my poop baby firmly pasted in place. My second round of self-inflicted punishment came as I confessed my sins to my mom. I mean, talk about embarrassing. My burden was initially lifted as my mom handled the situation with grace. But in the end, it didn't alleviate the deep shame that was brewing inside me. Little did I know this was just the beginning.
Stifling my voice, ignoring my needs, tuning out my desires, and blending into the background of life has been my coping strategy for decades.
And I did it all in the name of serving my mission to keep the real me hidden. I just didn't know it at the time.
So let this be a lesson to you, kids...being the invisible [wo]man is not as easy as it looks on TV and it can lead to some pretty messy consequences. Hee hee.
Now it's obvious this wasn't exactly my finest hour. In fact, I never thought I'd ever share this story publicly. So why share it with you?
Because I only very recently realized I've been in hiding. I had one of those ah-ha moments—but this was not your average, run-of-the-mill kind of ah-ha moment. This was one of those OMG, I can't believe it, wholly shmolly, how come I never realized this before, sharp blow to the head kind of moment.
Yup. Even though I’ve been a student of personal growth since my 20’s, it never occurred to me I was actually hiding my real self. And it would take years before I knew just how pervasive my hiding actually was.
So after processing this life-changing insight, I made the most important decision I've probably ever made—to do whatever it takes to bring the real me out of hiding.
And that's why I’m sharing this story with you. Because as far as I can tell, being courageous and vulnerable is the only way to become who I really am on the inside.
I also want you to know where I’ve come from...where I am today...and where I’m going tomorrow. Because the truth is, I’m hoping to inspire a bunch of you to come along with me on this adventure. After all, it's tons more fun being silly with a crowd than by your lonesome.
And why would you want to join me on this crazy, scary, exhilarating ride?
Because this is what I know for sure:
Most of us are hiding from something. And hiding means suffering—there’s no escaping it.
Like me, you may not even realize you’ve been hiding. You may be suffering without knowing the real reason why. And you can't fix something you don't understand.
You may also be thinking:
If bringing my real self out of hiding means being vulnerable, why would I wanna do that?
Here are my top 3 reasons:
Being who you really are is your absolute BEST chance for HAPPINESS.
Being the inside you is waaaaaaayyy more FUN.
You get to avoid stinky, messy consequences.
Still not convinced? That’s okay. You don’t need to be. Just keep reading cuz truth speaks a language only your inner being can interpret—and when it nudges you forward and you experience a taste of freedom, there’s just no going back.
So just hit the subscribe button below and you’re in!
And if you can relate to anything in this post, drop me a line in the comments below. I simply can’t wait to hear from you.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and I’m not a mental health professional. Obviously. I can’t possibly know your full situation so please consult a professional before acting upon information from yourpurpleswan.com. Should you decide to act of your own accord, you do so at your own risk. Kinda like skydiving.
Get My New Stuff (Free)
It took a while for my mind to play catch-up. Cuz my life was different now. I was different. Something profound had ...Read More
Ever had one of those moments when you just knew life would never be the same again? Cuz something had changed? Somet...Read More