I was driving to the gym this morning and listening to The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown , in it she mentioned this great quote by Leonard Cohen, ” there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light get’s in”, it got me thinking about the parts of me that I used to perceive as broken and I now perceive as amazing.
I have been through my fair share of trauma, we all have our stories. Trauma leaves a trail, it leaves cracks. How I experienced that trauma or acted out on it through different parts of my life has most certainly changed. My trauma manifested in a lot of physical changes. I hid, I denied, I ran, I gained awareness and eventually healed. But, it was a long path with lots of obstacles.
Phase one- When I was younger I wanted to hide or be invisible so I overate, I ate to deal with shame, it had nothing to do with food and everything to do with how I felt about myself. I just knew that when I ate I felt comfort and that was what I needed at the time. I felt really stuck but, I had no idea what to do or how to get out of my way. It was’nt until phase two of self discovery that I actually realized I was hiding.
Phase two- I discovered fitness. It helped me find strength. I began digging myself out of the hole I was living in. Mind you I was young and there was very little balance, I ran toward fitness at full force because it felt healing. it helped me connect to my body. As I look back now I can see that finding this outlet helped me to relieve myself from the shame induced relationship with food. I stopped using food for comfort and I began using fitness to process. When I would workout I felt, I contemplated, I had a little bit of the courage to peer around the corner and look at all the stuff I was hiding from.
Phase three- I hated feeling vulnerable so I started to hide behind the muscles. I loved building strength through lifting heavy things. I always knew my motivation was anger, a crack. I wanted to prove people wrong, get stronger to nobody could hurt me. I also wanted to push people away, I wanted them to be scared or intimidated. This was kinda like phase one where I was keeping people away because I was hiding behind my weight. When I would lift I went to a dark place in my mind and played out all kinds of scenarios. I was attempting to identify the cracks. I was no longer hiding them or covering them up But I was aware of them and they didnt feel healed. This anger crack was killing me, I didnt want to be angry or sad every day. I wanted to feel better, lighter, more free
Phase four- where I landed, right where my feet are in this moment a peaceful more balanced place. I actually remember a weird awareness a few years back when I ws lifting and I couldn’t really access the same level of anger or venom that I used to use. that thing that used to feel so comfortable became uncomfortable and eventually disappeared. In hindsight the cracks were no longer filled with all of my protective layers of tape and glue and light could now get in.
So what does phase four of my healing look like? well I needed a new mental place to go when I trained, I filled that with education, I love training and connecting to the science of it and translating what I read into what I experience, it’s a much more peaceful space, art lives there. Food isn’t a thing that provides me comfort because these days if I need comfort I might read, relax, go walking with a friend. I feel great most days and when I dont I let the feelings come and watch them leave.
When a surgeon remains a torn ligament it ends up stronger than when it started, that is exactly how I feel. Because I have worked tirelessly on repairing my cracks I feel that they are kind of like those ligaments. I am stronger now but I only got here from facing my truth, admitting my cracks, admitting my vulnerability. I accept that I have cracks and I know that they don’t make me broken, they wrote a piece of my story but not all of it. The pages of my story I am living now are the most vibrant yet. I feel whole, healed and useful.
My friend Stephanie always says “no mud, no lotus”. I love that quote…hmm it may need to be a tattoo.
I am 46 (almost) and the light is finally in.
(This was seriously a whole lot of contemplation going on for a 5 am drive to the gym.)