A year ago I was crumbling. If you asked me at the time I probably would have brushed it under the rug and said it’s fine. I’m fine.
What I didn’t realize was how poorly I was dealing with things. My dad’s death (among other things) were buried so deep inside I couldn’t even recognize them, and eventually I couldn’t recognize myself either. The hollow smiles and unspilled tears that settled at the bottom of bottles were feelings I had become comfortable with.
Emptiness and sadness weren’t unfamiliar to me, but I’d be damned if I let myself dwell in them. I was so afraid of falling back into the black hole I had clawed myself out of plenty of times before in my life, that I refused to let myself slip into any emotions I couldn’t control. Instead of working through my pain and being patient with myself, I felt that as long I held it together outwardly- I was making progress.
I was so wrong. Pain has a way of becoming warped when you hold it in. It’s subtle and powerful and will often allow you to think you’re in control.
And then you find yourself warped too. Unrecognizable. Questioning who exactly you are.
There’s a quote I like:
“Unexpressed emotions never die, they just come forth in uglier ways”
Which I was unfortunately finding to be true. I was doing things out of character. I was working for the weekend. Blacking out every single Saturday night and pushing through Sunday Fundays. Week after week.
My energy was so low and eventually it turned into self hatred. I hated how I looked, how I felt. I had no clarity. I was totally disconnected from my true self.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but I was subconsciously building a wall around me. To keep my emotions in, or to keep others out? I’m not sure.
I didn’t want to be hard to the world. I desperately wanted to feel normal again. Or to feel again, but it just felt like a concept that was so far away. I was numb.
In a way, icy coldness or fiery anger are both easier to deal with than numbness.
They are outer directed and you might actually have some control over them.
Being numb just is. When you are numb you lack empathy. You lack heartfelt reasoning. People become collateral damage because your indifference is more hurtful than flames or frost.
It took months before I could come to terms with this. It took months of working on myself. Releasing old pain. Forgiving myself. Forgiving others. But mostly just focusing on who I knew I wanted to be and aligning myself to that.
Self development has always been a big part of who I am, but I learned (yet again) that the strongest lessons we take home with us are the ones we walk ourselves through and out of. We can read page after page of someone else’s life, but the lessons don’t truly resonate until we’re the ones putting out our own internal fires.
I had dog eared a page titled Numbness in a Rupi Kuar book. I found it today and reread it.
Reading it was so sad. Not because I could relate, but because at one point I did. There was a moment in time where I was so broken… I read this poem and identified with it so strongly that I marked it.
I had to read it twice before the memory of when I bookmarked it came back to me. Then it all flooded back in…
More than anything I feel relieved. To stand in a moment of time and feel the distance between who I was and who I am is powerful and humbling.
As days pass we don’t see change.
As months pass we feel change in what we see as microscopic increments.
But in the space of a year, the difference feels monumental.
Never doubt yourself when working towards anything. Ever. Those microscopic decisions pile up and eventually they’ll take you where you need to be. Just don’t stop. Be patient with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Seek growth.