It wasn’t a happy moment when I realized I mattered. Who I was and what I wanted. My voice, my work, and everything I have to share. That it was okay to have wants and needs, to be considered and treated well.
It wasn’t this magical, inspiring instance in time where the heavens opened and the sun started shining down upon me. Not even close.
It was crippling.
I laid on the couch and cried for days.
I remember crying on the phone to a friend on one of those afternoons about how painful it was to realized that I had value.
“What’s so painful about it,” he asked me, perplexed.
“Everything. Because in order to really feel and understand that I matter,” I cried, “I have to acknowledge all the times I believed I didn’t, and all the things I tolerated because of it.”
There’s so much grief in growth.
For all that we’re becoming and all that we must leave behind. For all the hurt we allowed and the things we tolerated, because we didn’t know we deserved better. But mostly because the part that’s being released is fighting like hell to hold on. The beliefs, the fears, the old ways of being… they don’t go down without a fight. They use everything they have to keep us from letting them go… and that, my friends, hurts something fierce.
When I realized that I mattered, I started walking a little taller, speaking a little louder, and taking up a little more space… I started engaging with the world and the ones around me in a way that proclaimed, “I’m here too.” But not before it took me out at the knees. Not before it broke my heart and absolutely gutted me.
Just because your aha moments aren’t filled with sunshine and rainbows doesn’t mean you’re doing them wrong. It doesn’t mean they’re not important and transformational and all things good.
It just means that you’re grieving.
And there is so much grief in growth.