It’s been hard to return to my blog, and I am only now giving myself space to ask why.
I have over-blamed busyness.
I have used the side effects of Covid-19 as an excuse.
I used my go-to complaint of never having time with the kids being home.
I decorated and organized every inch of my house telling myself that I’ll write right after this very-important-mission-critical closet organization project is completed.
They have all been comfortable distractions.
Truth is, I love to write. Why have I slowed it down?
Yes, things got busy.
Yes, Covid-19 made the simple things feel harder.
Yes, I never have time when the kids are at home.
Yes, to my environment setting the tone for my day.
Yes, to all of those reasons.
But, in this rare moment of a Sunday afternoon, it is quiet. We are all still here at the house and existing in the same space, but this moment is different than the others. This moment has every pressing to-do list task checked off the mental list. I am all out of excuses.
- Kids, fed.
- Dishwasher, running
- Laundry, moving.
- Groceries, ordered.
- Lawn, mowed.
- House, mostly put together.
So, here’s the moment. The moment that all my excuses have been complaining that I NEVER get.
This quiet moment is challenging me and also reminding me why I distract myself from quiet moments. What’s keeping me from bursting from the seams excited to sit and write and share moments with all of you? What’s keeping me from pressing record on the hundreds of podcast and video ideas that I am so passionate about? What’s keeping me from finishing the draft of my next book?
Those emotion words surface and real quick I find myself wanting to run back into my comfortable corners. I am hopeful that I can hide behind a need from my family so that I can feel anything other than fear, worry, shame, and anxiety. I have even contemplated pulling out the pressure washer and have a mental pros and cons list running in my head of why that is probably the most valuable use of my time right now.
And…that conversation in my head right there just did it for me.
“The most valuable use of my time right now is to pressure wash the back deck?”.
My therapist hat came on real quick and I asked myself what I would ask anyone else that spoke that line to me about their life.
Therapist Self: “Do you not think you bring value with your writing?”.
Self: “I do think this is valuable.”
Therapist Self: “Then where do you keep hearing the voices of fear, worry, shame, and anxiety?”
Self: “Writing got scary.”
Therapist Self: “Tell me what you mean by that.”
This inner dialogue is where I am finding my mini breakthrough in an area I didn’t want to admit was a challenge. I am questioning my value in this space that people are now actually reading. When it was small and no one knew a thing about me, it felt safe. Then I grew a therapy practice, published a book, started a podcast, and have been doing scary and brave things in places I have never been before.
My reason for starting my blog journey has shifted and without recognizing or acknowledging that shift, my current self is having a hard time authentically showing up as my old self. My reason for being here now and birthing words that uplift freedom has transformed into something deeper. This online space began with an attempt to find my voice during a season I had lost it. A small readership with strangers and safe-familiars felt like the space I was craving and desperate for in a season of intentional isolation to strengthen a wounded and weary heart.
Writing became my soft whisper as I’d spend years trying to heal my own areas of hurt.
This space was sacred when it was small, until it got real. It was sacred when it was loving and scary once I got hit with hate. I went from feeling sacred to scared and if I don’t get unstuck, I will stay stuck in fear. Here’s what I know so far: I retreat when I get scared. And for me to move forward here I have to declare safety alongside vulnerability as my mission even in this space – however we all accomplish that mission in the online solar system. Without both vulnerability and safety, not even I am willing to be vulnerable here and neither should you.
Hate showed up in this space and reminded me quickly that the public writing world is similar to the energy and passion that goes into making my house a home and then leaving the front door wide open for anyone to walk in.
A hate comment showed up here several years back. Writing was fun, until I saw it could be responded to with hate.
I am still dealing with the “publish anxiety” (if that is even a thing) that comes after hitting the “publish” button waiting for that voice to slide its way back into the comments again. It was a personal attack comment that once deleted turned into a personal email, that once un-responded to turned into an email blast to past colleagues from my life. A hate comment that escalated into a personal shame-blast. Our family was told not to respond, which I agree was the right thing to do, but when you don’t respond to the voice of hate, it tends to escalate until it feels heard. A hate comment from someone that truly does hate me silenced me in a corner. It accomplished the exact goal their voice had intended – I got quiet when they got loud.
But it’s time to move forward. It’s time to trek slowly through the barriers that are holding me hostage to moving forward. It’s time I emphasize my search for safety until I’m ready to be vulnerable again. It’s time to bring healing and uplift the message of FREEDOM to any corner and voice of hate that declares BONDAGE as a life sentence, for anyone. Even if that voice shows up here in this place. To live and write about being set free, I have to work through and heal all the barriers as they surface in my own life.
To embrace vulnerability, hurt people may only see an invitation to hate. I don’t want that to be true. But hate has a tendency to cause hurt. This is a universal statement. It is cross-cultural, cross-denominational, cross-generational, and cross-gendered. It feels nearly impossible to celebrate a story of vulnerability without first hearing someone describe their experience of receiving or projecting hate. I don’t want that to be true, this is just what I continue to experience and what I hear from the stories others have told.
I hope we can write a new truth for the upcoming generations.
I retreat when I get scared. Maybe you do too. I have retreated from this space not because my kids are a handful, not because 2020 was insane, not because I have writer’s block, not because I never have time. Because I am scared of what happens after I press send.
I retreat when I get scared, and then I need to make sure there is safety before I will step back out. That’s my personal truth. That is what my body needs when it feels unsafe. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me, it means that I need a bit of emotional therapy when my soul gets attacked just like someone may go through a slow recovery in physical therapy when their body experiences damage. My body responds the same way when it feels unsafe.
Reminders of shame and a personal attack silenced me in a corner but I am cautiously ready and moving at a pace that allows my ‘therapist self’ time to check in with my ‘wounded self’ to see if everything is ok.
QUICK REMINDER TO MY FUTURE SELF: People that want us to hurt want us to hate back. It entitles them with permission to hurt. Instead, I choose to stay focused on the course set before me. I have a mission that is currently more valuable than pressure washing the deck today – that chore still needs to happen, but it is not as crucial as taking this time was to process out my own self-discovery. You are worth feeling FREE, do not under any circumstances allow the voice of BONDAGE to claim victory.
I am ready to keep moving forward.
I am open to gently peeking into this space once again.
I am open to the power that authenticity needs if I am to promote living emotionally set FREE.
I am ready to push “publish”.
LESSON LEARNED: My heart does bleed, your does too, but I refuse to allow fear, worry, anxiety, or shame-reminders to bleed me out. I may retreat when I am scared, but if I hold tightly to the things that are truly sacred, I know it will help me heal, help me develop, and prepare me for the season that is up ahead. Hold on to what is truly sacred during times when you get scared. Seek safety, then break through.
YOUR TURN TO REFLECT: Is there an area in your life that you are declaring is important but an emotional battle is holding you back from stepping into your area of passion and purpose?
Retreat when you need to friends.
Hold onto what is truly sacred when you feel scared.
Thank you for being here! Your presence matters. We are not alone on our unique journeys. I’m glad we can journey together.
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Thank you Emily! Reminded me I need to schedule an appointment to work through my pattern of retreat as well.
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Learning the “why” behind the “what” with patterns is so helpful in my life. It allows us space and time to have that inner dialogue to ask why the retreat feels needed and what it is helping us accomplish. Glad you are leaning into your patterns, I’m doing the same with mine, right there with ya!
Love you friend!! It was so good to see a message from you and a lot of this is helpful for me to read and apply in my own life. I’m glad you gathered up the courage needed to do this post. And thankful you are healing. You’re a beautiful person on the inside and out!
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Good to see you on here Megan! Thanks for reading and glad it was helpful for you.
“I refuse to allow fear, worry, anxiety, or shame-reminders to bleed me out”
I have been dealing with a lot of trauma over the past few years. I too retreat when scared. I feel like I take one step forward and two steps back in the healing process. I know that fear, worry and anxiety are the root causes – this is going to become my mantra. Thank you for a powerful word, that spoke to me today.
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Glad to hear you found benefit and encouragement. You are not alone.