Note: This is a guest essay by Denise Barry
On a beautiful, sunny morning one day last week, minutes after a calming, refreshing meditation, I hit rock bottom.
I had been questioning things about myself recently: my writing, my motivations, myself as a friend, my authenticity…
Triggered by nothing more than the realization that I’m not who I’m pretending to be, everything I thought I was shattered into a million pieces, like a porcelain mask struck by a hammer.
The sound was deafening. The emptiness it left was unbearable.
I felt like I was falling into a deep hole – one damp with darkness and smelling of mold and rotting things. And I just knew there were creepy crawlers all over the place, waiting to feed. On me. I knew if I hit bottom, I’d be lunch.
It’s what I used to do all the time when I felt vulnerable. I’d run away from the pain and loneliness.
I did this mostly through role playing. I’d give myself the part of “victim” and without their permission, assign one of the regulars in my life the role of “abuser.” Once the stage was set, the drama began. No rehearsal was needed – we could act it out in our sleep.
Victim blames and accuses. Abuser denies and becomes enraged. Victim yells and screams. Abuser attacks. Victim cries.
There could be many acts to this play, in fact, it could last a lifetime.
This time, because I’m tired of running away and hell-bent on finding happiness for me and my family, I decided to sit down with my pain. Literally.
I took that pain and locked us in my room. I made myself comfy on the bed and wrapped a blanket around me. Not for warmth, but because it made me feel safe-ish.
It washed over me in typhoon-like waves. Every thought in my head rose to battle it away, while every muscle in my body became a fortress.
I allowed myself to relax, letting the waves break through my defenses and settle into every cell of my being. I breathed; in, out, in, out…constantly reminding myself not to forgo that next breath.
Like the tide, the pain ebbed and flowed. It traveled throughout my entire body – chest, arms, legs. Who knew you could feel pain in your chin, for heaven’s sake!
In between the storm there were moments of calm, where everything flowed and there was nothing but silence. A nice breath of fresh air.
Eventually, the pain dissolved completely away.
Like all good storms, many things got washed to shore. Without any regrets, I took everything I found. I had earned them.
What did I find? I found peace, calm, confidence, direction and best of all, a more authentic me.
I know now that I can let myself fall. I can be vulnerable!
Even though I couldn’t see them, there were loving hands at the bottom of that hole I was in. They were waiting to catch me. And to sweep away those creepy crawlers.
This essay was written by Denise Barry
Denise Barry is the award winning author of the childrens picture books, What Does the Tooth Fairy Do with Our Teeth? and Soap On A Rope. Shes currently working on a middle grade book titled Sweeney Mack and the Slurp and Burp Competition, so watch for that! She also writes a blog on her website called Raisin' Kids, for parents who want to raise kids who become adults, not adult children. Denise lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband and two kids. To learn more about her visit her website at www.denisebarry.net