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I’m fine is the barrier between me and my pain, and you reaching in.
I’m fine is my way of letting you off the hook, and letting myself off the hook.
I’m fine is the way I distance myself from being vulnerable.
They are words I utter to separate myself from others as I retreat into isolation, to be alone with my pain.
Two words that reinforce the wall I have put up between the outside world and myself.
They are the mask I wear everywhere except in private.
They strengthen the idea that I am strong, that I can cope with anything.
I’ve played the game so well that I have completely isolated myself, only disclosing small fragments of pain when absolutely necessary.
With those two words I have made myself an island.
The more accurate description would be f*cked up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional. But who wants to be that vulnerable? Who wants to let down the mask and let someone know how much you are struggling and risk the chance of them thinking you are anything less than perfect?
We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.” ~ Brené Brown
I am slowly learning the truth in Brené’s words. Slowly and painfully because that, it seems, is how I navigate the world, using my pain as a touchstone for change.
Recently I have been through some gnarly life challenges and they are ongoing; every time I think I have it, a new one comes along. I’ve been pushed to my wits end and have been firmly there for some time. I have been attempting to battle it out on my own, and the truth is I can’t. Not if I want to have my sanity intact at the end of it.
Life hands us some unwinnable moments, moments that crush us, that drive us to breaking point. Moments that spiral us firmly into the dark night of the soul, that makes us question how much more we can handle before shattering entirely.
Pain is evitable; suffering is optional. I chose my suffering too long, in an effort to save face, to hold onto the bravado that I have it all together, that I can cope with anything life throws at me—when the truth is, I can’t.
What has helped once I shoved my pride out of the way was reaching out for help, taking off my mask, letting myself be vulnerable, and letting another person see my reality. And you know what? The world didn’t end. In fact, sharing my struggles has helped me more than pushing them down, ignoring them, or battling through alone.
Life was not meant to be lived alone; humans need connection, and part of that is letting people see the real us, underneath the bravado.
There is no shame in not being fine, that is the nature of life.
In the moments that I struggle to reach out, I need to remind myself that were the tables turned, I would gladly be there for someone in need.
In moments that I struggle, I need to remind myself that vulnerability takes courage, and it offers the greatest rewards.
In moments that I struggle, I need to stop lying and saying, I’m fine.