Vulnerability is terrifying for me. It sends a visceral urge through my entire body to shut down and put the walls up.
July 4th, 2015.
This photo was taken during one of the darkest periods of time in my life. I had just ended a 3 year relationship, jumped into a rebound distraction, and was doing anything and everything to avoid feeling the impending weight of grief.
I was stone cold sober, but emotionally, I was void of my true self.
I can still remember what I was thinking in this moment as the fireworks were exploding and then slowly disappearing right over my head. I looked up and them and thought, "is this all there is? Is this ever going to get better? Am I ever going to get better?"
It took some time, but it did. I did.
The absolute only way I was able to walk through such intense emotional pain was to stop running in the opposite direction and start leaning in. Leaning into the discomfort, the fear, the pain, the grief, the emptiness.
And once I leaned in, I started attracting people who were on similar paths or who had gone through similar experiences.
We connected from all over the world through social media, blog websites, and phone calls.
We learned how to seek connection rather than isolation in times of great pain.
The pain eventually subsided. I became more whole.
Today, I am very far removed from that pain, but I am still fallible the daily human experiences that involve discomfort and fear. Now, however, I don't avoid. I don't run the other way. I lean in.
Accept. Feel. Radiate peace. Acknowledge pain. Be nonjudgmentally aware. Cultivate self compassion.
"Grow through what you go through."
And most importantly, lean in.