Stepping into My Own Skin
December 27, 2018
It took a while for my mind to play catch-up. Cuz my life was different now. I was different.
Something profound had happened inside me. Yup, ever since those four words hung in the air during my counselling session, I’d felt a shift. And not a tiny one.
But this shift wasn’t static. Or identifiable.
I couldn’t capture my feelings with a label. I couldn’t quite wrap my fingers around it.
Instead, it teased me. It played with me. And when it figured I was closing in on my newfound awareness, it defied me. It’s as though it didn’t want me to rein it in too tightly for fear my mind might squash it altogether.
COME OUT OF HIDING.
Four little words that danced around me. Darted in and out. Sorta like how my youngest brother used to snap me with a swirled up wet towel.
Except this time it didn’t sting. It was delicious. And expansive. And I wanted more, more, more.
I kept trying to wrap my brain around what it would be like to feel completely free. Trying to let go of who I THINK I am. And embrace the discovery of who is WAITING ON THE INSIDE.
Trying to give her space to dip her big toe into these brand new surroundings.
Sometimes I’d have brief moments of sheer joy imagining what complete freedom would feel like. I remember looking in the mirror, smiling, and saying out loud “Oh my God, I’m coming out of hiding!” And I’d be overcome with a rush of energy so powerful it was more delicious than the most exquisite gourmet chocolate I’d ever tasted.
I felt completely weightless, soaring in this beautiful, incredibly vast universe.
And my potential? Literally unlimited. Such a stark contrast to the tiny world I’d been living in! The world I made tiny. And lived small in. Outta fear.
But these glorious images generally didn’t stick around for long.
They gave way to moments of sheer terror thinking about what would be required of me to fully remove all my armour. All my safety nets. All my guards. All my pretending. To lay down all the tools I’ve used over the years to conceal the real Vicki.
The thought of this bore such fear in me that sometimes I strongly questioned what the heck I was doing.
Am I crazy?
Am I completely insane?
I didn’t feel ready for this journey. I wasn’t packed yet.
But the universe doesn’t give us a push when we feel ready. Because let’s face it—we’d always have just one more thing to do before we’d be ready.
And I don’t know about you but I can be a pretty great procrastinator given the right circumstances.
So, ready or not, this IS my time.
Coming out of hiding, without a doubt, is my biggest ah-ha moment to date. As in, ever. And it spurred a flood of thoughts and feelings, past and present, mixing them together like a chocolate swirl ice cream cone.
As I reflect back, I can honestly say I didn’t realize I was hiding my inner sparkle. Cuz I didn’t think I even HAD an inner sparkle. And you can’t hide what you don’t think you’ve got. So, I wasn’t looking for ME because I didn’t think ME was missing.
It’s sorta like when you’ve been using your toothbrush for way too long. It still works so you keep using it. Sure the bristles look like you could surf on them. But function over beauty, you tell yourself.
Then one day, on a whim, you decide to replace it. Welllllll, you can’t BELIEVE how great it works compared to your old flat one. Your teeth feel so smoooooth. And you wonder why it took you so long to replace your brush with one that works and feels better.
Well, that’s what the process of uncovering my inner being feels like to me. Until I started breaking out of my protective costume, I really had no idea how wonderful I could really feel. Or how deep and pervasive my hiding really was.
So I began taking tiny steps. Making little wee changes.
I started allowing myself to speak. To be seen. And got curious about what stirred inside me.
And guess what?
I started feeling tiny twinges of joy. It’s like I got rewarded for my bravery.
And I liked being paid with happiness. And peace. And lightness. And freedom. Because just a trace of these was more than I’d managed to muster up while living in full-blown hiding.
On the flip-side, when I took the “safe”, familiar route, I started noticing how crappy I’d feel afterwards. Of course, sometimes the immediate feeling was one of relief. Mostly, because I didn’t have to fully face anything scary or overwhelming. But not long afterwards, the heaviness and gloom would creep up and drape over me. Like a wrestler pinning it’s opponent.
And it felt crappy.
I realize now that denying my needs is actually the opposite of self-love. That swallowing my voice is an act of self-betrayal. And stuffing rather than releasing is akin to suffocating my natural being and living an extremely slow, painful death.
And that feels super LOUSY.
Yes, the truth has a way of staring us down, square in the eyeballs. As I see it, I can either make choices that embrace the true Vicki or NOT. That’s my choice.
Every day, I stand at a fork. And it’s all up to me. My choice.
What’s it gonna be?
Am I gonna make choices that allow my inner being to flourish and reap the beautiful rewards?
Or am I gonna stay safe, keep the real me tucked away and brace myself for more suffering?
There just ain’t a 3rd option.
So I’m chipping away at my crusty coats of concealment.
Sometimes my choices and actions come easier than expected. And I feel super proud of myself. And exhilarated. Excited. Happy. Strong. And powerful. Yes, the rewards can come swiftly.
But other times I feel completely terrified by what lies in front of me. And when I say terrified, I mean completely freaked out. And outrageously vulnerable. Sorta like public speaking in front of thousands of people who all know you. And you’re naked. And they’re not.
It’s as scary as heck—you could even use that other word…you know…the opposite of heaven.
Like when I know I need to speak up and say something I normally would have swallowed. And I feel all this pressure in my throat because the words are right there, sitting, begging to be released.
And my nervous system is reacting as if it’s life or death with full-on fight or flight. I’m sweating and my heart’s racing and I can hardly think. But I know what I gotta say or do.
So I say it. Or I do it. Or sometimes I don’t. Cuz this IS a process and I don’t have a perfect success rate.
But even when I’ve done the deed. And I’ve allowed a little more Vicki to show herself. I don’t always get my rewards immediately.
Instead, this happens…
- My body visibly shakes. Because trembling is a natural way for the body to release stress. So it shakes off the stress of the unfamiliar and the risky.
- My mind enters runaway mode. It freaks out about what I’ve said or done or not done and tries to gauge the “fallout”. Basically, it obsesses about woulda coulda shoulda.
- Slowly the shock begins to wear off. This can take minutes or hours. Or sometimes days.
- I begin to feel physical relief. My mind quiets and my body relaxes. I’m no longer consumed by the event.
- I praise myself for having taken the risk. I do this even though I haven’t been “rewarded” yet. Because letting my inner being take the lead is what I’m shoot’n for.
…Waaaaait for it…
A wave of CONTENTMENT washes over me…
And I feel a tiny bit LIGHTER…
And a wee bit HAPPIER…
And the world looks a little BRIGHTER.
And I let out a scream of excitement silently in my head…or sometimes out loud…
It’s working! The process is working!!!
And I smile to myself.
Because I’m stepping into my own skin. One day at a time. One moment at a time. One decision at a time. One choice at a time.
I’m choosing ME. Appreciating ME. And embracing ME—in spite of it being ridiculously hard and scaring the bejeebers outta me.
I’m peeling away at the costume I no longer need. And the more I reveal, the further I realize I have to go. But that’s okay. Because every tiny milestone gets me closer to love and light. And peace. And freedom. And let’s not forget joy.
And that, my friends, is worth the price of admission.
That’s why I’m dead set on uncovering my true nature.
And that’s why I’m sharing this intensely personal ride with you.
Because now I know, for SURE, we ALL have access to joy. We ARE joy. And, more than anything we’re ABSOLUTELY meant to FEEL GOOD.
And if I can feel good, YOU can feel good too.
And that’s a fact, Jack! And, ah, Jill!
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.
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