Written by Audrey
As a child, I think I knew who I was, and I was comfortable with that.
Maybe as a young child, we are more secure in who we are. Conditioning of our parents, peers, our culture, our society hasn’t pulled us away from our true selves…yet.
Somewhere along the way, after a change of school, my earliest memories are of being about 6/7 and beginning to doubt myself. I began to feel less secure and more and more like who I really was, was not a right fit. I began to feel not good enough and like I would need to change, try to be like other people to survive. In this survival, I lost myself. The true, real, authentic Audrey fell further and further away as time rolled by.
The image I have, is of someone falling down a well or a dark hole. You can see them, and then…gone, lost. Forever falling, forever trying to reach up. Once in a while, you reach the top, you can see over the top. You’re being yourself, it feels light, free…but…hold on, no, you’re too much, you need to blend in….let go…..you’re falling again, losing and lost, but blending in. Beige.
Fear and worry and anxiety grew louder and stronger the more I blended in, and yet it had become safer to stay here than expose who I really was.
Who I really am is, a wife, a mother, a daughter, sister, niece, friend, confidante, teacher, creative, musical, kind, caring, sensitive, giddy, fun and more. Who I am, is good enough. It has taken a really long time, decades, to be able to write that. A lot of time and a lot of work to break down the conditioned cage that I was living inside of. While it felt safe, it had gotten so small over time, suffocating, tight and cramped, but I knew I couldn’t leave it. I was too afraid, too anxious, too full of guilt and shame. I knew where I was and who I was in the cage, outside of that it felt like starting from scratch, terrifying. What if people don’t like me? What if I’m not good enough, clever enough, funny enough, pretty enough, thin enough, and so on. Fear keeps things small, you keep it to what you think you can manage. Beyond that it’s just too damn scary, too hard.
I now live outside the cage, life is still scary, and sometimes hard, but that is life. That is living, feeling and being present, it’s being human. Living free and fully in this world, with all it’s ups and downs, means being vulnerable, afraid, anxious, excited, joyful, light and dark.
I know that can seem like a lot, a lot of emotions and feelings, but it’s not the same type of fear that held me captive in that cage. That fear made me believe that I couldn’t cope with anything, whether it was a night out or a death. In truth, I am strong, I am capable and I can handle life’s challenges. I might not like them and even though the cage door is sometimes open and calling, I know that I am safer living outside of it.
So now, I’m finding myself again.
What do I like to do?
How do I want to spend my time?
Who are the people I want to spend my time with?
What do I want?