Lying on my side in bed, I let my mind wander far away from the day’s objectives. My thoughts take me to that feeling in the pit of my stomach, the feeling that won’t let me forget it’s there. I’ve tried so hard today to be better, to feel better. That critical voice has drained my very soul. It’s hindered my progress through multiple work assignments, talked me near mental ledges, and has even aroused irrational insecurities. I take a deep breath and close my eyes.
My reason surfaces and I walk myself through memories.
“I know it hurts,” nudges that gentle inner voice, the one that took 30 years to recognize. “But I need you to hear this.”
I oblige and listen with my heart:
“Do you remember the pain of betrayal? He looked you in the eyes and promised he wasn’t lying, but deep down you knew he was.You thought you would never trust anyone else again…but you did.”
“Do you remember the chains of abuse? He bruised you with his fingertips and fear kept you in your place. You were so scared to leave…but you did.”
“Do you remember confronting your demons? The self-hatred, scars of emotional neglect, and stones of judgment. You had to wrestle your own darkness. You had to forgive those who hurt you, beat you, curse you, hate you, use you, leave you, blame you. No one else could be there for you because you were fighting yourself.You had to wrestle your own darkness.”
For a moment, I relive my previous distress. I feel the cold touch of dirty tiles under bent knees, forehead pressed to ground, fist banging violently. I hear my wails echoing on bathroom walls and tears swelling from deep within me.
I hear the voice of reason gently whisper.
“It was you who forgave yourself. So many years of suffering because you couldn’t accept yourself. You thought you’d never know how to love yourself…but you did.”
I open my eyes.
A decade’s worth of pain emerges from their corners. I raise my finger to stop them only to freeze midway. In utter disbelief, it hits me: I am enough because I am me. Relieved, I drop my finger as my tears stream down my cheekbones and onto the sheets. My mind has softened and my anxiety has passed. I sit up and crack a half-smile and assure myself confidently,
“Remember all those times you thought you’d never make it through? You did.”