. . .Darkness

I couldn't think of a more suitable title for this particular post than just . . . Darkness - due to the fact that when you are in such a place where darkness seems to be all there is - what else needs to be said.
I know everyone's experiences in life are different, and I know that there is very little cross over for what caused darkness in one persons life over another. However, I do know darkness - very well. I know it like I know my last name. I know it can be scary and I know it can feel like it is consuming you. I don't think we need to worry or examine the differences of exactly how one person can feel surrounded and enveloped by darkness over another. I think what I want to do, is let anyone who needs to hear it know that I have been there. I have sat, alone in complete darkness - alone with my damning thoughts and shameful feelings. With the voices of every single person or negative idea that had ever entered my head. I have had those thoughts control me for long parts of my life. I have lived with extreme anxiety. I have lived with self hate and loathing. I have lived with the fear of rejection controlling my every thought and movement. I have hated myself. I have not known how to even think about moving forward. I have felt the stinging pain of disconnection and desperation. I have felt more than anything - not good enough - in every single way someone could feel not good enough, and self loathing that can come from feeling like you can never measure up  to expectations or needs and that you are never what others want or need you to be. I have ambushed, sabotaged, and ruined friendships and relationships mostly subconsciously because I didn't know how to face the moment they would realize that I was not good enough - that I didn't measure up and would walk away as soon as I couldn't give them what they wanted or needed from me or my mask fell off and showed them my true self.

I was not sure where to go - I just felt frozen in constant fear and became the ultimate people pleaser, that is when I was not at home hiding. I found a way to be whatever people needed me to be or wanted me to be in any given situation or relationship I was in - never asking myself what I wanted or even what I liked - from food, to movies, to drinks, to what I liked to do (that list goes on and on). I never asked myself these questions ever - I just made sure that other people were happy and satisfied, that they had what they needed.  I never felt like my opinion, my wants, or my needs were valid or that anyone would ever care what they were anyway. 

It took some amazing people that had divine amounts of grace and patience as well as an inner drive in myself deep down that wanted more from my life. It took will power and determination from myself for me to begin to find my way to where I am today.
But, there is also the need to understand that these struggles, the weak points in our lives - the core hurts and beliefs that affect us right down to our very atoms that we are made out of - they are things that you struggle with all the time. They sit in the back of your mind, in our soul, and wait for an opportunity to spring up again and prove that  the (seemingly shaky) new beliefs you are standing on - the truths that have dragged you up out of the darkness - are in fact all false. Because the struggle is with you always, you have to make sure you don't buy into the ever so familiar thoughts and feelings that can arise when the shame gremlins start calling on you or the rejection demons sit on your shoulder and tell you that you are still, in fact, not good enough and never will be. 

So, it comes down to grace. Grace saved me on more than one occasion - as Cathleen Falsani wrote in her book; Sin Boldly : A Field Guide to Grace. "Why Grace? . . . because it is the reason I'm here".  THAT, my friends, is very true... it is the very reason I am still here and not only still here - but still here, fighting. Finding my very best self to the best of my ability every single moment I am alive. To find ways from there to show others what they are capable of, that they are worth so much more than their minds can fathom while sitting the darkness - scared, alone, afraid, and full of negativity, doubt, self loathing, etc.

So, while I have probably not been through the exact things in life that brought any other person to their darkest, most lonely, self-hate filled moments. Or the scary place that fear and shame can keep you. I do know that I have been to THAT place in my head, my heart, and my soul and I have found a way to see the light- start moving towards it and fumble my way out of the darkest places and into a life that is now filled with so much light, grace, joy, hope, and love it is hard to get my mind around sometimes.
When I look back on my life - where I came from - and where I am today, I at times have a hard time believeing this is still me and not someone else.
I know this much. If you are there- it seems impossible to feel any different than you do right now. Or, if you are on your journey out - I know it's a battle and one that will not go away, but I promise it gets easier. Through this, though you must learn to love yourself, before you can truly accept love from others and believe you are lovable, believe you are worth it, and believe you are good enough - you MUST love yourself. I know that one is tricky but, you CAN get there. You can come out of these ashes and any other ones you find yourself in. The process is painful and hard - but it is worth it - allow yourself to rise out of the ashes.

I am living proof that you can and you can chase your dreams, and be anything you want to be. You can be a Leader.  You can become the best version of yourself. You are worth so much more than you can wrap your head around. Keep pushing, keep fighting, and you will see more and more light as you move forward. I am here with you, walking the road out - you are not alone now or ever.

Keep telling yourself : You are enough - I will repeat so it sinks in - You Are Enough!




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