Last Thursday, I posted about how I was feeling anxious. By the end of the day, I had gotten multiple texts and e-mails checking in on me. That’s a lot of love for a girl who wasn’t doing much more than hyperventilating. But it was more, I was overwhelmed with shame. Shame that I wasn’t good enough. Shame that I wasn’t handling my emotions as well as I could. Big, ugly, indignant shame.
Somewhere between friends telling me they had been there too and reminding me I wasn’t alone, I found courage to speak my shame. I found a safe haven and I let it out. You know what happened? There was was less weighing me down.
Have you ever watched “The Shawshank Redemption”? The protagonist, Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins), is wrongly imprisoned and plans his escape from Shawshank. He spends his nights chipping away the cement wall of his cell and carrying out the small pieces in his pockets to the exercise yard daily that he drops to the ground from his pockets. The wall of shame I had built around myself was slowly being chipped away as I spoke my truth and these dear friends who reached out to me were hauling away a small pocketful.
This other thing happened as my wall was lowered, people who had no idea I was hurting were like a salve to my wounds. In a rush to get home, I ran into a co-worker on my walk to the employee parking lot. For a quick ten minute chat in the bowels of the underground parking structure, we covered a lot of ground and none at all. It was mostly an exchange of how being a mom is hard and that it never ends. It made me feel understood and not alone. I opened the door allowed myself to be loved. Friends, you helped me move past the feeling of unworthiness to a place of value.
Lesson learned: if you are feeling weak, call on your tribe. They will stand behind you. They’ll fight for you (and make you realize you should fight for yourself, because you deserve it.) They will carry a bit of your pain. They will bring a bit of lightness to your day. They will give you a high five for doing what you thought was impossible. They will pat you on the back and remind you there will always be a next time.
My goal for the week: find ways to carry a pocketful of rocks away for someone else. We all need a tribe and we all can be part of those tribes.