The 360° feedback certification I went through a few months ago was intense. I think it opened up a few of my cracks. I have to be okay with that.
It may not have had that effect on me, but soon after the certification I found myself, once again, facing the feeling that if I wasn’t careful, I would crack open. And not in a good way. There are times when I know I’m healthy and whole and entirely functional, and there are times when it all seems too much, or I just seem not enough. I feel like I don’t have whatever it takes.
I recently read an amazing memoir, Bettyville by George Hodgman. He’s a gay man living in New York City who heads home to Paris, Missouri to care for his aging mother. Oh, and he’s a recovering alcoholic. Oh, and he’s very, very funny (and insightful). One of my favorite quotes: “I think people who have always felt okay in the world will never understand those of us who haven’t.”
Sometimes it doesn’t feel okay. Sometimes I don’t feel okay. Perhaps telling my story, and looking (even from a work point of view) at how my experiences helped shape and form me, kicked up old feelings of not okay-ness. All I know is that while I hadn’t felt like I might crack into pieces in ages, I felt it after that. It would sneak up on me when I least expected it (and least wanted it), hijacking my thoughts, feelings, and moments. Even my body.
What I’ve learned over the years? Even when I feel like I’m falling apart, I’m probably not (at least not all the way) and I probably won’t (at least not all the way). And sometimes a little falling apart is exactly what I need. I can be someone who is way too good at keeping things together when a breather – or help, or a hug – would be a better option.
I’ve learned that I hid fears and angers (and trauma) deep in my body – and my soul – for years. And that sometimes I need to crack open a little bit to let it out. And that I need to let it out.
I heard, years ago in Al-Anon, “god doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” and “when you’re ready, you’ll face it.” I hold onto these truths when it feels like more than I can handle. I remind myself that I must be ready to crack a bit more open, to let a bit more out, and that I’m not really cracking. And that I am really okay.
And that if my cracks – my fault lines – stay with me, I am even okay with that.
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