I believe that nothing is more important than showing up for myself; it’s the only way I will ever be able to show up for anyone else.
Growing up in my home things were often violent and frightening. And from time to time, decades later, I still have the occasional nightmare. I was a very outgoing child, despite the violence and chaos, but eventually these things tend to catch up with you. Just out of high school I met a very guy; he wanted to look out for me. So, having a lifelong need for a little downtime, I let him. As the days turned into weeks and the months, years my personality began to retreat, and I became too frightened to work, to go out with friends, to go to the grocery store, then before I knew it, I was startled every time the phone rang. Those who knew me realized I had lived through much worse than this:why fall apart now? The problem here was I could handle threats from the outside;I was used to that. This was a threat from within myself. Ironically, showing up for yourself in turmoil is often easier than showing up in safety, especially when turmoil has become the norm.
I began to realize the safety of this cocoon had become a prison, and a cocoon is a place you eventually emerge from, not rot in.So, what was I to do when I had the safety that I had always longed for, but it only made me more miserable?
I finally reached a fork in the road when my father passed away. His life had been exceptionally tough, yet he had this way of never staying down for very long. He had this child-like energy that bubbled up from his core. As I watched him pass away at the rather young age of 53, I remembered thinking that it wasn’t such a shame to die that young, if you could live that fully! I remembered thinking their must be some of that in me; I was so tired of living as a slave to my own fear. After the funeral I decided I would get out of my comfort zone: the one that was destroying me. I would walk out into the world, hands shaking, heart pounding, certain I’m about to die myself. But make no mistake about it, I went. It wasn’t easy. I don’t mind admitting I was terrified to my core. But I went. I can trust me to show up. I eventually became a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer. A CASA advocates for the rights and needs of children in foster care due to abuse,neglect, and deprivation situations. I am now in college and I have a beautiful daughter of my own. My father didn’t leave me any money when he past; he left me something much better, something I had forgotten I already had: courage.
I believe that nothing is more important than showing up for myself: even when the hardest thing to do in the whole world is to just get out of bed, and even when I don’t believe, if I keep showing up one day I will discover that I do.
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