Friday, May 18, 2012

All That I Am

Sometimes things happen that leave us questioning who we are, where we are on our path, and everything we thought we wanted or were meant to do with our lives. I had a moment like that this week. Something happened that left me questioning whether I am meant to help survivors of sexual and domestic violence. It left me wondering whether I am strong enough.

For many years now I've felt that the purpose of surviving the things I've lived through was so I could help others who have suffered. Then something happened and I realized how vulnerable I still am and I wondered who I was to think I had anything worthwhile to offer. Who am I to say healing is possible when I am still so wounded and weak?

I felt like a complete hypocrite, like I had been lying to myself about all that I am, all that I ever was, and all I intended to be. Tuesday morning was a very low point and by noon I was ready to give up the idea of serving survivors, speaking again, or getting my masters' degree and becoming a therapist. I felt broken and I really considered giving it all up - the blog, the work, the dreams. All of it - all that I am.

Then something else happened. At that low ebb, I received affirmation from an unexpected source - a lovely gift from a beautiful friend. She made me a wall hanging that represented a woman breaking free from the prison of her own mind, and she wrote me a letter telling me how much she appreciated my work for survivors and telling me that I am strong.

I didn't feel strong. I felt shattered. But her words were uplifting and healing at a time when I needed it most. I was reminded that I am not alone and that I don't always have to be strong. There will be times when I am vulnerable; the key is to surround myself with people who will not take advantage of that, people who respect me and will honor my boundaries. It is okay for me to have moments of fear,  sadness, pain, or doubt. I can admit those emotions and move forward anyway. I don't have to be perfect.

How freeing it is to realize that and to feel - maybe for the first time - that all that I am is enough. Thanks, my friend; you know who you are. Your gift to me means more than I can express.

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