I’ve been working on this post for a while now. Again, my perfectionist comes out to play and I am left with nothing else to do but acknowledge that she is there, say hello and nurture her. This seems to be a bit of a common theme for me lately. I’ve done some soul searching over the last few days and realised that my perfectionist comes out to play when I am fearful, when I don’t feel safe and when I am feeling stressed. I think I have always been aware of this default position of mine, but I haven’t REALLY looked into it in much detail.
The reason for my procrastination over this post = FEAR. Fear of judgement. Fear of what people will think of me. Fear of people rolling their eyes. Fear of people thinking that I am not a ‘good enough’ role model and voice for recovery. Fear of not being ‘good enough.’ FEAR of NEVER being ENOUGH. Period.
I thinking it’s important for me to share these thoughts with you. I was only talking to a dear friend of mine over the weekend about authenticity. This is something that I have worked towards, especially in terms of the work I do with Project HEAL. I have a whole lot to say about authenticity, but I will leave that until the end of this post.
With the success of Project HEAL Sydney Australia over the last 12 months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazingly inspiring people. I have also had the opportunity to tell my story, to share my journey with so many people and to be a voice for recovery. Lately, I’ve had this unrelenting feeling of never feeling as though I am enough. This feeling has weaved its way through my soul and rested inside my head and heart. “Hello old friend. I know who you are, and I know why you’re here.”
I struggle. Sometimes this old chestnut of never feeling like I am good enough is enough to cripple me and make me weak at the knees, but never in a good way. I start to doubt myself. I start to think that I am not a ‘good enough’ voice for recovery, that my experience with my eating disorder and recovery hadn’t given me enough ‘experience’ (read: I wasn’t ‘sick enough’) to share my journey and inspire others along the long and windy path of recovery. The ‘I can’ts’ and the “I shouldn’ts’ start to surface and I find myself doubting my worth as a person.
When I was in the throes of my eating disorder, I was ravaged by the thoughts and feelings of never being good enough. Except, in that instance, my eating disorder had be believing that I was not ‘good enough’ at playing by her rules – I was never sick enough, or thin enough…even my diagnosis had me feeling like I had just received the last place award for ‘participation.’ I saw the awards ceremony play out in my mind, “Thank you for coming, and thanks for trying, but here’s a ribbon for your efforts.” As I began to recover, my feelings of not being good enough warped into the idea that I wasn’t good enough at recovery, I wasn’t doing recovery perfectly (I believe I have a post on this a few posts ago), and I wasn’t getting better fast enough. So, what does this tell me? That those feelings, regardless of how they present themselves, will probably be there for a while to come. So, conclusion – it’s any wonder they are surfacing now.
In sharing my story with others over the last twelve months, and in founding this chapter of Project HEAL, I have had to leave myself fairly vulnerable. I have exposed parts of my soul to the world that I would have usually shied away from. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to hide behind a computer screen – I can allow myself to be vulnerable, BUT… “Hello old friend. I know who you are, and I know why you’re here.” FEAR. Fear of judgement. FEAR of never being enough.
What have I learned? I’ve learned about authenticity. I’ve learned about showing my imperfect self to the world and I have learned that vulnerability is pretty damn attractive. I am human, and humans are hardwired for struggle and connection. My wounded child gets scared sometimes, and that’s OK. I have feelings, lots of them. Sometimes those feelings are so huge, they’re threatening. Sometimes those feelings are so painful, it’s terrifying. Sometimes those feelings are so joyous, it’s scary.
I was not dealt a perfect hand. The cards I was dealt have allowed me to experience this gloriously messy life, but it’s a gloriously, messy life that I love with my whole heart. Sometimes I hurt and sometimes I’m left with the fear of judgement. My default position is to shut down and run away, but I am slowly learning that I don’t have to do that anymore.
I do not have to be perfect before I can inspire others, I just need to be myself. Here I am – raw, vulnerable and exposed (I was going to use the term ‘unedited,’ but let’s face it, I’m sending this post to a friend to edit for me before I post it, so that’s not entirely truthful, is it?) My feelings, my thoughts and my struggles make me who I am. I make mistakes, I falter, I fall and I bruise easily. But I also stand tall, I stand strong and I use my voice.
I am enough. Just as I am. I am so enough. And so are you.