“Are you o.k.?”
It was as if everything started going in slow motion.
I have not really allowed myself to be vulnerable or comforted in any way so it surprised me too when I asked a friend for a hug, probably to their surprise too. Imagine my shock when I actually started to feel emotion. The first tear I felt made me jump away like my life depended on it.
“Are you o.k.?”
Should I tell the truth and sound like a whiner, confess that I had been having a hard time, ask to be heard without judgment and lay down the last twenty five years of anxiety that keeps me up at night or should I just suck this up because ain’t nobody got time to listen to my drama or deal with my emotional self?
I confessed. Then I lied.
I said I was not o.k. Then I said I was o.k. I then proceeded to hit the floor and do push-ups. That’s what strong women do: push-ups. We move on.
My heart was stuck. My heart is still stuck in the fourth grade sometimes, sometimes in the ninth, sometimes in the first, sometimes in my twenties. Sometimes my heart is stuck in all of the times I was told I was too sensitive or too weak or the times I was left alone when I needed to be held, comforted, understood. It all led to me working harder, working myself to death to be perfect, going insane trying to hide my imperfections.
It led to years of eating disorders, excessive exercise, sleep, anxiety, depression and negative self-talk. I still can’t believe some of things I’ve said to myself about myself over the years.
I remember a therapist suggested I was bipolar once. “Tasha” is not bipolar. The masks she wears are. I made it an art to switch back and forth between who I needed to be to get the love and attention I so desired. I learned to turn off my emotions because so many people close to me didn’t want to hear it or be bothered. Now when I need people most, I do push-ups instead of talking. I’ll throw my shoulder out before I pick up my phone and say, “I really need to talk.”
Did I mention how sore my shoulders are?
It’s hard to trust people because of what’s going on in my life. I’m still running around keeping quiet to protect the guilty. And, until today, I’ve never asked myself, “What would life be like if I were just completely honest….with myself?”
I’d realize that the people who love me do and the people who don’t just don’t and if I keep trying to solve my life’s problems with exercise then I’ll be on anti-inflammatories for the rest of my life.
Did I mention my shoulder hurts?
Today is new day about being o.k. with my faults and my wants, being o.k. with being supported by those who love me and making loving myself more a priority. Am I o.k.? No. It’s been a hell of a week but I feel better already.