Ah, mornings, my favorite time of the day.
Every night, I set my alarm to wake up a couple of hours before I need to be at work. (Yes, I’m one of those people.) As I lay my head down and curl up with my blankets, I shut my eyes and feel excited anticipation for what is to come when I wake up.
There is complete stillness at five o’clock a.m., and apart from my coffee brewing in the kitchen, my morning greets me with a peaceful, sweet silence.
It’s dark outside, with only dim streetlights poking in through the windows of my studio apartment.
I turn on my lamp. I light my candle. And as I sit down on my couch, coffee in hand, I open up my laptop.
About a year ago, my sister and I created a secret Facebook group just for the two of us, because we live in different states.
The main purpose of this group: to share our lives with one another.
I’m not talking about the glamorized versions of life that we see on Facebook, Instagram and the like. Of course we want to celebrate the good times, but we want to leave space for the messy, not-so-pretty moments as well—authentically expressing our individual human experiences.
There are no rules, and anything goes.
To-do lists. Daily gratitude (or lack thereof). Goals. Failures. Reflections. Rants. And my personal favorite, stream of consciousness writing, like morning pages.
One morning, I may wake up and excitedly reflect on an adventurous night out with my girlfriends and bask in the soul-filling sweetness of friendship.
Other mornings, I may wake up on the wrong side of the bed and rant it out—completely unfiltered, with zero f*cks given.
I can be sassy. I can be scared. I can feel hopeful. I can feel hopeless.
I’ve found empowerment in this practice. I’ve looked back fondly on all the little encounters—the good and the bad, the sweet and the sour—that have made me the woman I am today.
I have experienced the healing power of writing as a cathartic release, and have been comforted by the knowledge that my sister, like all of us, struggles as well—and that it’s okay.
This is my sanctuary. This is my church. This is my therapy.
We live in a society that praises glitz and glamour, and we’re all just trying to keep up (just look at any of our social media accounts). Now, I’m not saying that posting our highlight reels is a bad thing; we should always be celebrating and finding the beauty in the moments of our lives. But it’s easy for us to suppress and resist the other parts of life—the chaotic, the dark, and the uncomfortable—because we’ve been conditioned to think that it means we have failed.
So, we bury it. We mask it.
And we’re miserable.
Dr. Brené Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection (and one of my favorite human beings), said:
“If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”
It’s essential to our wellbeing that we find or create a space of genuineness, because when we embrace every aspect of being a human, we free ourselves from emotional burden and turmoil. Once we begin interacting with our complex and ever-changing emotions by acknowledging, releasing and reflecting on them, we begin to heal and evolve in ways we never thought we could—over and over and over again.
Maybe your sanctuary is a blank canvas. Maybe it’s an online support group. Or maybe it’s just you and your journal.
Whatever it is, find a place (or create your own) where you can be you—the enthusiastic, the depressed , the pissed off, the fearful, the passionate, the doubtful, the adventurous, the anxious, the peaceful, the joyful, the heartbroken—the open, vulnerable and complex masterpiece that is you.
For it is the fertile ground in which you will blossom.
And so I say to my sister, my best friend, my confidant: thank you for being you, and thank you for letting me be me.
Author: Brianna Miller
Images: Author’s Own
Editor: Toby Israel