Trauma, Having a Voice, and Taking Up Space

March 7, 2018

I cried a lot yesterday.

I also happy-danced and belly laughed just as much, if not more.

Because growth is crazy hard at times.
Because being supported is beautiful and challenging.
Because stepping into new ways of being is soul stretching.
Because upper limiting hurts (sometimes physically as much as emotionally).

I’ve been at this “personal growth” game for awhile now, and sometimes it still brings me to my knees. Sometimes it still asks more of me than I think I’m capable of giving. And sometimes—every time—it asks me to let go of the people, things, and belief systems that no longer serve me.

There’s letting go and there’s reclaiming.
And I’ve done so much of both.

It’s messy and hard and I’m far from graceful in the process.

But reclaiming my voice?
That’s been the hardest of all.

A year ago, almost to the day, I stopped swallowing.

For nine long days I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva, and it was months before I could eat or drink all day and night. Despite the multiple ER visits and trips to specialists, nothing was physically wrong with me. Not a single thing.

Because, as it turns out, it was anxiety. Suffocation, smothering, feeling trapped. It was swallowing years of truth and feelings and desires in order to “stay safe.” To keep myself and others from getting hurt or dying. I’d spent so much of my life in a state of “freeze” that my body could no longer physically handle it.

I worked with healer after healer. I spoke my truth in ways I never knew I needed to. I became brutally honest and stopped caring what other people think. I chose to stop being afraid of what might happen—which was not as simple or inspiring as it sounds. I didn’t just “flip a switch” and “become brave.” It took a LOT of anxiety and intense panic attacks as I pushed my edges.

We’re a culture that prides ourselves on being “strong.”
We wear stress and anxiety like badges of honor.
We stuff things down and “charge ahead” like warriors.

I know, I did all of these things.

But all the stuffing and avoiding and not dealing with trauma and stress or toxic relationships? The not being honest or living in full alignment with what’s true for us? It breaks us down in ways we don’t expect. It keeps us small and holds us back from creating everything we desire. It makes us weak in ways we don’t want to admit. In ways we can’t ignore forever.

I’m not afraid to tell my truth anymore.

To show up fully, exactly as I am, and exactly where I’m at.

Sometimes I wobble and revert instinctively, because moving away from a lifetime of being frozen is no small feat. Until I remember that I have a say, a choice, and a voice. That I can take up more space and be who I am.

I make the choice, every day, to show up more fully and truthfully. To be as honest as possible. And I’m constantly choosing to face forward. Towards what comes next, so I can become who I’m here to be. Who I WANT to be.

Your voice matters.

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