The more I am brave to share my story, the more I realize everyone has one.
I titled this blog “This is Me.” This topic has been brewing in me long before I saw the movie “The Greatest Showman.” But since then, the phrase has really taken such depth.
This past weekend, a school-mom complimented my hair. Most of the time I simply smile and say thank you. But this time, I decided to initiate a real conversation.
Being transparent makes me feel more genuine and strong. Telling people makes me feel free, it’s like I am stripping alopecia of the power to control me. When I just blurt it out there, it feels like I am beating it. I can share, I can laugh, I am not hiding anymore!
So this mom was a person I was familiar with. We had been friendly at school parties over the years. We certainly knew each other’s ’ names, but we absolutely did not know each others’ our stories.
As soon as I started to share, it felt as though I let down a drawbridge— we leaped past our normal casual conversation, and ran right into the heart. When I explained I wore wig, she immediately offered that she struggles with fibromyalgia. We were instantly able to share a sincere conversation about the uncommon and mostly unknown struggles of chronic auto immune illness.
Prior to this conversation, I honestly had made assumptions about this mom. She was always in put together. Cute clothes, her makeup was daily on-point, hair was thick and healthy… I hadn’t seen her vehicle, but my guess would be a mini van, but a really clean one!! She just struck me as the lucky mom who got to volunteer at the school and be with her kids. I assumed her life was easy; husband must make plenty of money, and she chosen to spend time at the school just to eat with her kiddos.
It never occurred to me that I was judging her, especially since I was thinking all good things. At that point, I regarded her as a caring, attentive mom that I admired.
But now I know more of her story. Fibromyalgia is terrible. One of my best friends has it, and I have seen the impact of it’s life-altering effects on her. It sucks your energy, wears you down with pain, and tries to steal the joy out of everything. With fibro, the simple tasks of daily life are hard. Now that I knew, I immediately had great compassion and a connection of empathy with this momma. She explained that she volunteers at the school because a job would likely fire her for having to miss every time she had a flair up. She talked about the days she couldn’t move or times she simply didn’t have the energy to put on makeup or fix her hair.
I shared. She shared. And now, our stories connected us. We opened up and found commonality.
Why don’t we do this more often? We may not realize it, but we live life guarded. (Actually, we are both guarded and in a hurry.)
I believe it’s altogether too common for people to live without full self awareness and even more so, without true self acceptance. I believe this may prevent us from showing our true self to the people around us. The issue with this is that, long term, for whatever motive, we begin to hide a part of who we are. If left unchecked, that small area may grow and the feelings become stronger. When you hide, what your hiding will eventually take control. It will lead to fear, shame, and the general belief, in the misconception, that no one cares. We don’t even know it, but we start to inch towards being withdrawn and guarded. We build fences around that one area, we harbor such pain, and declare it off limits for discussion.
Let’s change that. Let’s be real. Let’s be honest. Let’s take back the power! Let’s stop living with darkness and be freed by the power of the Light!
Now, I am not recommending a public laundry list of all your sins and regrets. Or a confession of all the people you have hated and wronged. No, for me, my journey of self acceptance may not even be for the public’s sake. To you, it my appear to be about my auto immune disease, about Alopecia, or about wearing a wig… But nope, that’s honestly just the surface.
For me, self awareness and self acceptance began when I allowed myself to be honest with past hurts, injustice, insecurities, sin, strongholds, scars, and wounds. I may not share all my life on social media, or in the blog… but I am more aware of who I really am and likewise, who I am not. It means I know my identity, and I won’t be suckered into believing anything less.
This is a journey, and it’s only just beginning. This is Me: Brave.