“Lie number 1: you’re supposed to have it all together. And when they ask how you’re doing just smile and tell them “never better.” Lie number 2: everybody’s life is perfect except yours. So keep your messes and your wounds and your secrets safe with you behind closed doors. Truth be told, The truth is rarely told.” – Matthew West
So I started writing this post a month ago. And then couldn’t decide if I was actually going to post it. After a month of back and forth, I am realizing that this is more important than ever. In the past month, I redefined what Family is to me. This allowed me to process the holidays much different than I have in the past.
With Thanksgiving come and gone and Christmas coming in fast, it is important to remember that you aren’t the only one with messes. You don’t have to deal with them alone. For me growing up, the holidays were always that time that we got together with my step-mom’s family and we all had to put on our fake face as if we had the most perfect life. When in reality, there were a lot of fights behind closed doors. Throughout my last year of therapy, I have realized the amount of damage that actually caused me. I have worked on that and now only surround myself with people that I know are being as real as I am. This has been a huge pain point for me and still something I have to remind myself daily is worth it.
Some of the people I have had to remove from my life are those I held on to for so long because “they’re family” or “they have always been there.” I realized that these people were fake to my face and real behind my back. I can only control the interactions that I have with them but I cannot control how they interact with me or what they do afterwards. This caused me to end up deeply wounded and lying in the fetal position in order to keep my most vulnerable organs from being destroyed. To be totally honest, I was afraid of getting hurt that I never let anyone else in. But in the last year, I’ve realized that getting hurt only serves as a lesson to not trust that person again, not as a lesson to never trust anybody again.
Everyone used to think that our family was “perfect.” But, as I write this today, I can tell you that is the furthest thing from the truth. My own sisters would gossip about me to everyone in town. My own family would judge me in high school if I ever got above 120lbs. I went to college and healthily gained weight to 150lbs and was told that I “could afford to lose a few pounds” at THANKSGIVING. What did I do as a result? I stopped eating… again. I was all the way back down to 130 when I graduated college. Looking back at pictures, I am sad at how skinny I was and how “normal” people thought it was. I truly believe that there is such thing as a healthy weight. I definitely was not at that then, nor am I at it now. My weight has always caused me to be self-conscious, but what I really should have been learning/paying attention to was how I treated people, how honest was I with people about how they made me feel or ways that we could be better. I never had a safe place to talk about my feelings, so they got pushed under the rug so deep that I became numb to any feeling at all.
You may think “numbness isn’t always a bad thing.” But, I promise, it is when you are married and have zero feelings. My marriage was about to end because I literally did not feel. This meant that I didn’t feel happiness, sadness, anger, ANYTHING. Can you imagine being married to a robot? Because I’m sure that’s what it was like for my husband. This also meant that he probably felt like he could never make me happy or that he was never enough. But in reality, I just had zero feelings on the surface and was feeling every single emotion all the time.
The moral of this story is that as long as you can let the truth be told about how you are feeling or how something/someone makes you feel, you will be set free from the pain of “what if.” Let your truth be told.