The New Year is here and for some, there is absolutely nothing new and for others everything is new. A new job, new relationship, new home, or new outlook ready to define the start to 2022. Or maybe you are one of those people who does not desire anything new, you are firm in wanting and needing the old. I fully understand both positions and with this new year and turning 50 (yes, I said it) last week, I find myself creating new experiences and new a way of moving through the world. Trust me there is a part of me screaming to stay comfortable and not push any boundaries or expand. This jockeying between new and old gets tricky as we grow older, have more responsibilities, and become comfortable (although not necessarily truthful) with who we are, how we show up, and how we move through the world. We especially become comfortable with accepting the “just is…”. At some point, we have all used the lines, “it is what is” or “nothing is going to change.” Is this really how it is, or are we choosing to not put forth the effort to create change?
I am in a constant state of curiosity which by default brings change to my life and sometimes I find myself transitioning into something I didn’t expect. Sometimes this curiosity gets me in a bit of trouble (nothing I can’t handle) and there are times it delivers me to something beautiful. In both instances my self-awareness increases, and I learn. A week into 50 I know there is still so much I don’t know and so much awareness I don’t possess. Learning is lifelong and when we surround ourselves with others who are also open to continuous learning, the experiences and growth are tremendous. I am incredibly blessed to have wonderful friends and family who help guide me through living and learning. They allow me to see them, their messiness and their awesomeness and everything in between. They talk with me about what I am writing and help me expand by generously sharing their thoughts and feelings. I am able to feel and translate my feelings into words because of their openness.
I have a few go-to people when I need to articulate my swirling thoughts and emotions. When I need to know I am not alone and speak unfiltered from my wounded heart, my crushed soul or erratic mind they are there for me. They hear me, acknowledge me, and often can relate to my words. These are the people I have choose to allow in and see me. They are my trusted tribe and I keep them close. I don’t trust many people and it is difficult for me to process through my struggles out loud. I’d much rather write or keep them bottled up. It is uncomfortable for me to show vulnerability even to my friends and family. In order to keep learning and building awareness I have accepted that I need to be vulnerable. And I know that maintaining an open and vulnerable heart and an open and vulnerable mind will continue to bring beautiful things and beautiful people to me.
A lot of what I have been processing through lately is how hidden I have kept myself. I have mastered masking myself and conforming to others’ expectations of me. I played the parts well, so well that I believed my own lies. Vulnerability and being seen scared the shit out of me, so playing a character outside of myself made total sense and was quite comfortable. I lived for almost 50 years not realizing how much I hid and how much I really believed that if I put my authentic self out into the world, I would get crushed. I literally believed I’d get my ass kicked and this is how I showed up within every relationship. I showed up guarded and believed heartache and disappointment were inevitable.
We all hide on some level. We place on a heavy armor before entering into the world for a magnitude of reasons mostly based on what was modeled for us growing up, traumas we’ve experienced, and messages provided to us. For me I walked out my front door daily believing someone was going to harm me and if I showed emotion or vulnerability, it was a sign of weakness. This has a lot to do with being the granddaughter of a genocide survivor and the messaging I received to “be tough and not take shit from anyone” as I grew up. I lived on the defensive and reactionary and entered my relationships in this mode. So, I either avoided relationships all together because of the energy drain they caused me or failed within them. Learning this now makes me chuckle at my lack of awareness and also has me smiling at my ability to keep learning.
The outcome of living with an open mind and open heart, finally realizing how guarded I was, and deciding that going forward I would show up authentic is I met a new someone I can practice being myself around. I feel completely comfortable sharing who I am now that I see her and accept her. I am unguarded, feel safe showing up as me, the unabridged version and even share what’s in my heart without my mind filtering it first. This is all very new for me. When we can take an open-hearted look at ourselves and accept every part of who we are, we are able to experience meaningful connections others. It is impossible to connect with someone intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally if we don’t know ourselves or if we stay hidden. Unmasking and stopping the soundtrack that convinces us of danger and causes us to be guarded is necessary. Living guarded limits our ability to experience the splendor and our ability to learn about ourselves and others. To stay safe trapped within the lies we create and accept diminishes our capacity to feel, connect and unequivocally engage our senses. It leaves us in a state of half living. I’ve been awakened from my dreadful slumber of survival and now that I am awake and vulnerable, I see the most glorious sunrises. This is how it is for me at 50: uncomfortable, truthful, full of light and extremely new!