As the great Irish poet, Oscar Wilde has quoted, “be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Easier said more times than none, isn’t it? How many times do you embrace the vulnerability and then suddenly you stop dead in your tracks? If you’re anything like me, you may be afraid of the judgement that will find its way to you. Worse yet, the judgment from those closest to you. “They won’t understand my journey”, you say to yourself just as you’re about to share your truth.
Circa 1992, I’m about twelve years old, living life fearlessly. I had a great life lived thus far. While being raised in a lower income family, my mother, being a single mother, and my grandmother did everything in their power to see that I never felt less than my classmates. Looking back, I had everything I ever wanted, and that’s all I knew. Mother raised me in the entertainment industry and by the time I was four, I had entered my first modeling contest. Following that came a slew of dance competitions, recitals, more modeling stints, cheerleading and pageants… OH MY!!! As I read those five activities, one word comes to all of them. Judgement.
As I continued through my teen years, I struggled at most. While I was a happy young girl surrounded by a core group of friends that brought such joy, there were select others who felt to share their opinions on my life and the person I was. I became picked on (bullied as you may know it now) more and more. Each time my name and photograph made it to the local newspaper, the worse it got. “Look at little Miss Pre-Teen”, they would taunt as I walked down the school hall. The gossiping whispers got louder, and the laughs became more and more intolerable. The heartache ripped through me for how could anyone be so cruel? The genetics I was blessed with became more a curse. I would be teased not realizing that the judgment from my classmates was only a form of their own insecurities. They didn’t care to know who I was on the inside, only to make their own assumptions based solely on my physical exterior.
For years these types of judgments and the nasty gossip continued. I ran through life holding onto the baggage so heavy I could have maxed out the weight limit on a jet plane. I didn’t realize the kind of damage my suitcase of hurt was doing to my inner self. Looking back, I truly acknowledge that allowing for that negativity to take up so much space in my heart, it led to many years of bad decisions and hurting others in the process. I chose to reach for alcohol and men to numb the pain. Heck, men were the easiest way out. It wasn’t hard to cover up the agony when you were smothered with infatuation. This is where I fully put my palm to my face (insert emoji here).
I’ll never forget those years. Funny, how something so long ago can reside in you until you decide to release it. Understanding how to purge these feelings of judgement didn’t come until I began my own therapy back in my very late twenties. The first part of the therapy was to break down the hurt that I really didn’t even know I was holding onto. Box after box of tissues I would bawl at each session. “It’s time to tear down the curtains Nicole, let go of these personas. Stop being who other people want you to be, and be who you truly are,” he said.
I can’t speak for all of you reading this. I can only take a guess that I’m not alone here. I recently had a discussion with a close friend and she opened up about the recent judgments that came her way. “You are not allowed to keep that feeling,” she said to herself. See, judgement is two fold. If you are on the receiving end, it’s hurtful, malicious and extremely soul damaging. Remind yourself that you cannot control other people’s opinions for they are none of your own business. As mentioned above, typically this behavior is a poor reflection on the other’s insecurities. Allow yourself to feel the hurt, then as Joey would tell you, crumble the emotional paper and throw it away. Pull your shoulders back and remember that you are living this life for one person only, YOU! Once you are whole, once you find your inner peace to let go, the more alive you will feel. You will suddenly feel free of the weight you’ve been carrying. Go ahead, give yourself time to heal. I promise you this, your light will shine.
Now, listen up buttercups, on the flip side, if you find yourself casting the defamation net, hear yourself before you let go. Once you start to realize the anguish that these words, thoughts and feelings provoke in others, I hope you find the temptation to be less and less. Look deep within yourself and discover the areas that make you unsatisfied and shift your focus on such. Tearing others down only will implant such negativity that will carry with you.
"Words once spoken can never be recalled." ~ Wentworth Dillon
We should be embracing each other. We should offer a safe place for one another, a system of support with no intention, no judgement; only guidance and understanding.
Life is messy my loves. We should all be allowed to dance in the rain and feel the sun on the other side.
Go with love my blossoms ~