I wanted you to know that I am okay. I am good. I am fine. No great.
Who am I fooling.
If I told you that I am fine, then I would be lying. To you. Most importantly to myself. If I created a lie then the person who hurt more was myself. Not you.
So I am going to tell the truth.
I lost myself somewhere between 1988 and 1999, in a place called life. Or when shit got real. The realness was that I had to face myself in the mirror with no photo shop, no masks, no disguise. I called myself by name but it was foreign. So I was just who I am. Not what they called me, but who I was.
In that moment, I found myself intrigued and hopeful. Intrigued at how I was comfortable with real and hopeful life would allow me to be real.
But somewhere between life and more life, I lost my way. It may have been when I started my first job and I endured being yelled at for $6.75 an hour. Or maybe it was when I sold myself for an A, because of the scholarship I needed to have. Or was it when I found empathy in a pile of crazy in a back alley in Toronto smelling like urine & earth. Somewhere as I traded up my car so I could fly on the highway at 160 km per hour. Or even the moment when I turned a blind eye to my husband stealing from his employer, then sleeping with his colleague, then slipping me ecstasy filled with broken promises… but sometimes, it wasn’t just my life that seemed crazy. It was all the other things I seen, heard, smelled, ingested and accepted.
Somewhere within myself I lost myself in life.
I’m not going to lie again, but I know life has its moments. There were days I was filled with happiness and joy…my home sang with laughter. ..and the richness of good meals encompassed the air. There were days my pockets were filled and I could spend any way that I wanted. I remember those days, those trips, those moments… but I also remember the pain, the heart ache, the smell of death and the questions which always lingered… why, was he, how did, could he have, I wonder if he, and so much more. Somewhere between joy and pain, laughter and sorrow, hurt and healing I lost myself. I blame it on life.I know you have been there. We all have. I know we have that insight where we just want to sit down and find ourselves for one minute. We all have those moments where we want to pull back life and sit with our joy…
I want to sit with my baby being little and holding her tightly. I want to sit with loving you wishing it can last forever. I want to sit with this meal, praying all my meals are that good. I know we have times where we want to sit and just be ourselves. To not have to pretend to be anyone else but ourselves. To want to enjoy the person we saw in the mirror in 1988, and love her completely…despite how life has tried to get in the way. To love her accomplishments, to love how far she has come, to love her smile, her generosity, her heart… to remember her dreams and hopes. To wonder if there is still time… to think it is possible. I know we all have those times when we just want to be real.
This isn’t just my life. It’s the lives of people. Fragments and pieces of a puzzle that don’t quite fit, but do. For them this is life. This is the stuff that is real and this is the stuff meant to break them or build them up. I know because lay persons claim they know about life. They claim they understand and they know how to manage life. Stress relief they claim! They present you with their potions and motions to make you buy into their dream. They tell you that you can know yourself again by losing weight, by travelling to Punta Cana, by telling off your boss and joining a pyramid scheme. They tell you that this is how the wealthy people do it…and by looking like a rock star you wiĺl discover the real you.
You find the real you within. You find the real you by listening to your inner world. You find the real you by slowing down life and taking time to breathe in piece. You find the real you though love. I found the real me in 1988 when I dared to love myself more than anyone would. Now in 2014, I’m searching for the newest version of me.
So how are you?
Nicole Perryman is a psychotherapist skilled with guiding adults heal from difficult experiences and uses art, such as storytelling to enhance the therapeutic process.