There is something within me that refuses to admit my brokenness, some rebellious part that clings to this idea that everything is fine just the way it is, nods hello and says I’m doing just fine, thank you, pushes the hurting parts way down deep and ignores them as much as a constant ache can be ignored.
Maybe you do this too: pretend to be strong for the sake of your spouse or kids or parents or siblings, or maybe, like me, you do it for yourself because you’re selfish and afraid of looking someone in the eye and saying “I’m not okay, and I don’t know when I will be, and do you like me still?
Because really, for me, that’s what it’s all about. Will you still like me when I’m not strong and sturdy and reliable? Will we still be friends when I wipe off the make-up and you see all the imperfections I’ve been hiding? Can anything I say or think or dream still hold weight when you are faced with the fullness of how broken I am—or the emptiness that is all I can do for myself?
It’s scary because nobody talks about it. It’s terrifying because before it becomes a conversation and people can participate and share, someone has to open her mouth. One person has to decide she’s ready to take the risk and say the hard things, reveal that hurting side of her that I think everyone has.
It’s easy to keep your mouth closed; you don’t need to tell me twice. It’s easier to blink hard and think, nope, this is not the time or the place or I just don’t feel like it and you can’t make me and I’m not going to, so there, Laura.
And that’s your right. You’re allowed to push it down farther, to say you’re okay and know that you’re lying. But you’re denying yourself the freedom that comes from seeing all parts of yourself, accepting who you are and where you are and all the things that make up the person you see in the mirror every day.
You’re sitting in a prison cell with the door wide open.
If this sounds stern or direct, it’s because I got the same thing this week from my sister. She’s bold and she’s honest and she tells it like it is and some days I don’t ask her opinion because I already know what it is and I’m not ready for it.
But this is a conversation you’re never ready to have. You’re never ready to hear that you’re lying to yourself and the people around you, that you are missing out on huge liberties in embracing the messed-up pieces of who you are. Really, we’re the ones who decided it wasn’t safe to talk about.
Listen to your heart. The next time it starts to open your mouth with the hard words on your tongue, let it happen.
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Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.
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