I see you. The girl hiding her acne behind her long tresses or a book but cries because she hates how she looks, the child who wears thick spectacles and braces, hiding his scrawny body in oversized clothes, or the boy who is labelled too sensitive or feminine by his peers and often mocked for it, or the teen who hates puberty because it confuses them even more about the body that they've been given and yet it feels alien, all the kids who are bullied for one reason or the other, I see you, I feel you.
Growing up was hard, wasn't it? Often had to grow up too fast too soon. Teen years were often brutal. Some of us grew up to hide behind our vanity, some started using anger as a defence mechanism, some started being the good person, hoping with all our hearts that someone would treat us the same if they saw that we really cared, some developed a love/hate relationship with food or overworked ourselves in gyms and running tracks because we hated our bodies. I see you. And to the ones who take care of everyone but themselves, often breaching their own boundaries for others because they don’t even know what boundaries look or feel like. I see you.
A lot of us had to pretend to be someone we were not just to meet the expectations put upon us by others, so much so that we forgot to smile, we forgot who we were before all this happened, we forgot to laugh. Smirks replaced our smiles, the smiles we had been left with felt insincere. Many of us felt like an imposter. A lot of us started hiding behind sarcasm and wit. Some of us took life too seriously. An entire generation felt disconnected from their families. We felt lonely, emptiness and sadness gradually seeped within our hearts.
By the time we reached mid 20’s, we felt the weight of the world upon our shoulders. And while struggling every single day to survive, we forgot our inner child, the child we were before life and it’s unfairness happened to us. When we left our needs and wants behind. And We lost touch with the things that used to brighten our days in our childhoods.
We forgot what unbridled joy felt like. We stopped dancing in the rain. We stopped getting our hands and feet dirty in the garden. Our clothes and rooms and sketchbooks became devoid of the smudges of bright crayons and paint splashes. We forgot to sing our off key songs and dancing to our own beats. We absolutely forgot the existence of magic and miracles in the foundation of life itself .
I know it hurts sometimes when we come back home to our empty apartments, or when we are sitting alone, or laying quietly in our beds, staring blankly at the walls or ceiling, and if we are lucky enough, sitting on the window ledge and listening to the quite of the night.
A lot of us have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms, often involving intoxication or aimlessly strolling through our phones. And a lot of us take refuge in work that doesn’t even enrich our soul but bring us good pay cheques, and we believe that’s enough, we become workaholics. But no matter what we earn, how many things we fill up our homes with, the real happiness remains out of our grasp.
We feel unseen, unheard. And we never complain, never say a word, force ourselves to move on without acknowledging the hurt or processing the pain. So much so that we all feel some resentment in our hearts, some anger. We have developed insecurities, we don’t feel good enough for anyone. We find it hard to put our trust in people. We find it hard to be vulnerable even in our closest relationships, often leading to self sabotaging behaviours where we end up leaving people before anyone could leave us. We end up hurting both ourselves and the people we love.
For so long we have been taught to rein in our emotions, control them as best as we could, being emotional is perceived as something embarrassing.
What we fail to realize is that our emotional body is as crucial as our physical body. Our body is our home, our very first home in this world. And our emotions are like a flowing river. When we try to hold them up, denying their existence, we end up having outbursts at the most inopportune times, be it anger or angry tears, not unlike the river which gets flooded when we try to build those dams and an overflow results in flooding and subsequent destruction of whatever comes in it’s path. When we allow it to run it’s course, it’s ebbs and flows calm down. The same happens with our emotions, be it grief, shame, anger or sadness. When we allow ourselves to feel it all, willingly, we allow ourselves to grieve for things that we were mourning for.
With all this comes acceptance. This acceptance makes us feel lighter. This is the very first step for forgiveness, to others for hurting us, and for us when we abandoned ourselves for others. When we didn’t choose to stand for ourselves.
We could forgive ourselves for not knowing better and understanding that we did what we knew best in that moment. We deserve the compassion and kindness we so freely extend to others. And if we are capable of being compassionate to others then we are capable of being that to ourselves too. We don’t even owe anyone that kindness but we do owe it to ourselves first and foremost. We have that duty to ourselves above all. We have to become a parent or a caregiver to our inner child, the child which needs reassurance that it’s okay to hurt. That it’s okay to feel sad, and that they are loved, cherished and above all accepted and loved as it is.
So I want to tell all of you is that whenever you feel hurt, allow yourself to grieve, feel it because that will liberate you. It will ease away your pain like a gentle caress of the most important person in your life, YOU. And with time it would hurt less and eventually we'll heal.
In my next letter, I will talk in detail about how to deal with that grief, how can you allow yourself to feel everything deeply, gradually heal and eventually learn to fall in love with yourself. In this journey of your healing, may you feel empowered to nurture your self and your soul and maybe rediscover yourself and your zeal for life and your existence. May you become the best version of yourself which is stronger and a force to be reckoned with.
“ Everything is within your power,
and your power is within you.”
- Janice Trachtman