Standing Up

 

When my internal critic’s voice reaches a shrieking pitch and I can’t bear another judgment, sometimes I imagine myself in a fetal position, making my body as small as possible, willing my cells to disappear. As if the silent prayer “sorry sorry sorry” will be enough to make the words stop. They die down, but the pain reverberates through a sudden migraine or wrenching stomach ache. My mind has no defense and so my body must take the beating.

My natural response is to shrink away from the painful words, cowering and apologetic. Just like when I feel the hot sharp pain in my eyes from a migraine. I retreat to a dark bedroom and try to sleep, to feel the heaviness of the drug and let it take me to oblivion.

I think recent efforts to assert myself have intensified the self-criticism. It feels like my internal voice is realizing that I am evolving — and wants to snap me back into the familiar as quickly as possible. The only way to do that is to cripple me with insecurity and depression. Therefore, the words are cutting deeper. They are getting at wounds that hurt most.

I am admittedly very tired. Lately I want to give in, step back and let the hurtful words take over. Writing all this in the drawing above was an effort to get it out of my head, where it has less power. Even though I keep hearing “shut up!” here I am, sharing this, speaking my truth. I might be bruised and wobbly, but I’m standing up.

 

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Searching for Purpose

I feel like my life is an enormous word search, rows and rows of random letters. I was given this puzzle to solve, but no one provided me with the list of words to find or even a theme to guide me. I must find the words on my own and piece together a story of who I am and what I’m supposed to accomplish in my life.

Through the years, words have emerged from the chaos. Perhaps a personal strength or interest, a clue to the direction I should take. These clues were mysterious and confusing, but I made the best choices I could. I’ve also searched in vain for words that just weren’t in my puzzle, no matter how much I wanted them to appear.

However, in all my searching, I’ve never found a word that gave me a true “aha!” moment. Something that spurred me to immediate action and gave me a sense of purpose. I find words that resonate, but I don’t know how they fit together. They are not magically forming into a sentence that says “Here it is! Personal fulfillment ahead!”

Maybe that’s too much to ask.

I remember my favorite assignment in elementary school was when we were given a list of vocabulary words and told to create a story. The words usually had nothing to do with each other, which was the challenge I loved.

Well, my puzzle has given me a challenging list of words. Time to get creative. I need to stop searching for “the word” and instead place the ones I have into the context of a story I write for myself.