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  • Writer's pictureJ.L. Whitehead

When life gets in the way

Life can be overwhelming. Sometimes, just getting through the day to day can be challenging. Emotions can be just as heavy as physical baggage and carrying them (especially over a long period of time) can be exhausting.

I realize that it's been months since I've been here and for that, I am sorry. Life can be and oftentimes is overwhelming and admittedly, I got caught up in "life." And yet, with each passing day, I am learning to adapt. I am learning that doing the day to day is hard, especially when you are in my circumstance. I stay on dialysis, assisting with caring for an elderly parent, work full time and work to follow my passion in life.

"Life" can often get in the way of doing what you want to do. "Life" has a way of hitting you hardest when you are down; or at least it feels that way. I'm sure that this is the case for many of you.

I have said this before and I will say it again because it bares repeating, "who you would have been prior to any childhood sexual trauma is gone." That changed when you were abused. The trajectory of who you are has been altered. We will never know the person that you would have been. But you can control who you are becoming. Just understand that there are wounds that need to be healed; and until they are, you will always feel off kilter. Something will always feel "off." Some people call that "life."

I have felt "off kilter" all my life. I've always felt like something was wrong with me. Now mind you, when you have received the message that something is wrong with you your entire life, you have a tendency to believe it. I heard it from my mother, my childhood friends, my teachers, my supervisors and some people that I had become intimate with.

But here's the thing: You get tired of being "life's" whipping boy. You start to feel like there has to be more to life than this. You learned or are learning to lift your head up and walk with your shoulders back. Most of all, you get tired of being in emotional pain all the time. You get tired of people seeing (and oftentimes saying) the worst in you.

Some people do this to keep you in what they perceive to be "your place." They don't care or want to know about your back story. But what you should know is that this is your time to claim yourself. Give yourself a do-over.

"Life" will always be there. That doesn't mean that you have to allow it to dictate who you are or what you want to be. Life requires balance. Part of what was lost is your sense of balance. The off-kilter piece is who you know yourself to be versus what life is telling you, you are.

Sometimes, people...especially family will not believe what you are trying to tell them when you choose to confide in them about the trauma that took place in your life. Sometimes the response is visceral and you are branded a liar. Sometimes they will shrug their shoulders and say something like, "that's in the past" or "we don't talk about things like that" and then move on like nothing happened. Or they may choose not to listen to you at all.

The only thing that you can do in circumstances like this is remind yourself of who you are. Remember, you are not what other people say about you. You are everything that you think you are. It is your job to think the best of you. It is your job to lift yourself up and move forward.

How do you do that when you feel broken? Unfortunately, being broken may be something that you will have to deal with until you decide that you are no longer broken. Here's the thing, I had to decide who I wanted to be. Me doing what I am doing to help others heals me. It's a balm to my soul you might say.

Everyone heals differently...and because of that, I cannot tell you how to heal. I am still healing. But healing doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes, you have to go through more fire to come out on the other side. In my case, I had to bury myself so deep in my activism and have people respond to what I am trying to do to overshadow what I have heard about myself all my life. I also surround myself with people that I believe will lift me up instead of the ones that are more than willing to tear me down.

Healing is a process. It is not a destination but a journey. It is a journey that you will hopefully learn the best in you. You may have to put boundaries in place where boundaries didn't exist and dare people to cross them. You may have to have a "sit down" with people that hurt you in the past or they may be hurting you presently.

Here's the thing; you need to understand that when it comes to your mental well being, you will have to make some hard decisions about who you want to permit in your inner circle. I have found that people that I thought were friends, were more like acquaintances. Family needed to be loved from a distance.

That, my friends is called, "Life."

~ J.L. Whitehead

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