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February 18, 2021

What has been your greatest life lesson?

At times, it has seemed like my life has been nothing but lesson after painful lesson. Sometimes the same lesson over and over again, and I still can’t seem to overcome the roadblocks. Many things still cause me pain and it’s a bitch when you feel like you keep circling the same issues over and over.

There have been so many lessons that I could probably write a novel. But I have come to realize one very important thing. Despite the number of issues that have come and gone throughout my life, there was one strong underlying current that drove them all: I just never believed I was good enough.

I attempted suicide three times when I was a teenager, only to be told by my mother I was going to hell for even thinking like that (news flash! was already there….). I battled an eating disorder for decades, trying to be pretty enough, thin enough, self-controlled enough. I walked the tightrope of being the perfect girl – quietly successful instead of being passionate, refined and feminine instead of being a tomboy, demure and modest instead of playful and sexy. I have been battling depression for most of my life, but instead of getting support and help from loved ones and ones I thought I loved, I was always told that I was too cranky, too morose, too volatile, too shy…just too much of all the wrong things and not enough of the right things. Whatever those were.

What I ended up being was a self destructive, hot mess. I knew what I was, even if I could not define it when I was younger. But, instead, I listened to the critical voices all around me telling me what I should be, what I should want, how I should act. And I was miserable, and I took it out on … myself.

I just couldn’t get it right. Living as a shadow of who I really was, trying to fit in, playing by rules that didn’t work for me. Living a life that was happening to me instead of having a life happening through me. I would be lying if I told you the road to this epiphany was easy. My path took several passes through hell (whatever meaning you want to assign to the word), and I lost my way more times than I can recall.

I am not trying to tell you that I now have reached enlightenment, that all is well and I have learned the hard and painful lessons, and am blissfully cruising through life. Hardly. But let me tell you what has happened.

After the earth shattering epiphany that I was navigating through my life trying to be everything to everyone else, I realized  all that mattered was what I was to MYSELF. Which leads me to the heartbreaking conclusion that I wasn’t fucking this all up because I would never be good enough; I was fucking this up because I wouldn’t let myself be ME. The messy, emotional, shy, passionate, nerdy, imperfect, tomboy that is me.

And right now, that is the biggest lesson of my life that I hope I can pass on to you. YOU are the most beautifully imperfectly perfect you. Rock it. Embrace it. Love it with all your heart and soul. There will never be another you, or me. Lesson learned.

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