My body has been the keeper of many lies over the years. I never considered myself a deceitful person until I began truth telling on a much deeper level. You see, I spent years lying. Lying through the smile plastered on my face, the “fine” responses to “how are you” questions, and by not giving air time to the simple truths that surfaced within me.
The simple truths that said…
This is not the right relationship for you.
This job is killing you slowly.
This client is not the right fit for you.
This sadness is eating you alive.
This career path is so far from aligned.
This life is not truly fulfilling you.
I was a master of deceit. Not a soul in my sphere knew the levels of my unhappiness… and I kept my cards close to my heart. I blended in. I let people see who they wanted to see in me. I made myself small. And I did this for far longer than was healthy or helpful.
These days my body doesn’t let me lie.
She doesn’t let me sit through small talk with people I can’t truly connect with. She doesn’t let me pretend I’m “fine” when nothing is okay. She doesn’t let me play small or blend in. And she certainly doesn’t let simple truths surface without adequate air time soon after.
When grief sucker punched me in the heart a year and a half ago, I was incapable of anything but truth. I was raw and cracked wide open. Any shell or wall I’d built around me was blown to smithereens in an instant, with many pieces still missing to this day. I didn’t know which way was up, I couldn’t put time in order, and I had no memory at all.
Grief showed me that people want us to lie to them.
They may say they don’t, but many actually do.
When you’re going through something challenging and uncomfortable, they don’t actually want to hear about it. They want to hear that you’re “fine” or “okay.” They want to know that “work is good” and “we’re hanging in there” or that “God never gives us more than we can handle” with a smile and a strength you couldn’t possibly embody.
I had my first major panic attack at a family reunion seven months after my loss… and my second at a cousin’s wedding. Answering “how are you” with “fine” or “good” more times than I can count. Smiling while everyone carried on as everything was normal… and yet, everything for me was far from normal. I couldn’t use my brain. I couldn’t stop the slow bleeding in my business. I couldn’t make money. I couldn’t put time in order. I couldn’t make peace with the gaping hole inside my heart. I couldn’t reconcile the gifts and gratitude that came from the most awful and tragic kind of loss.
And my body had enough.
So I started telling the truth, whether people wanted to hear it or not. I stopped spending time in situations where it was almost expected that I lie through my smile or my words. I started spending more and more time with people who could hear my truth, and who would not only listen, but help me. Hug me. Guide me. Cry with me. Hold me. Give me tools and resources and take a stand for my grief and healing.
My body guided me to a community and healing path and life that I never could have navigated to on my own. And still, to this day, my body will SHUT. IT. DOWN. if I try to deviate to any degree from my truth.
And for that I’m grateful.
If you’re still reading, maybe don’t wait for your body to shut it down. Anxiety and panic attacks are no joke, and they’re certainly not fun. Tune into what’s true for you, what’s surfacing in your life right now, and honor it. Answer “how are you” with truth. Wear whatever emotions are true for each moment. Put it all out there. Ask for help. Be transparent and vulnerable in everything you do and say. It’s hard and it’s scary… but I can tell you with certainty and experience that it’s worth it.