All Of Me
March 9, 2020
This journey is mine. All of it. All of me. All at once.
I am the me of right now, of this morning’s stress, of yesterday’s levity, of the weekend’s pain, of last week’s progress, of whatever tomorrow may hold. The one who shook through tears, balled up under the covers, tossed and turned in the dark. That girl who put on a full face of makeup, smiled with friends and strangers, ate out at a restaurant. The same individual who wept in public, felt victorious after walking a block, struggled through the stutter. The person who was relaxed and relieved, sad and scared, happy and healthy, worried and weary. All me. All okay, more than okay even. I’m healing, changing, adapting — and don’t need to be anything else or have anyone else understand or validate my being.
Healing is non-linear with no proven path, no likely patterns, no finite nature for suffering, trauma or recovery. Contradictory, complex, even paradoxical, all shifts, expands and contracts without regard to norms, timelines or expectations. Judgment, rush and comparison help nothing, especially when most happenings are inexplicable, coming to pass absent of apparent rhyme or reason. I have the right to feel what I feel, to do what I do, to share what I share on my own terms, in my own language, from my own point of view — owing nothing to anyone, as I work to not only make it through, but also to make some sense of the challenging, often harrowing and infuriating situations in which I continue to find my body and brain.
This is all uncomfortable, painful and deeply troubling for ME; it hurts, causes turmoil, wreaks havoc. I have released myself of the need to be grateful for or understanding of anything in the moment, or even in retrospect. Sometimes things just suck. Sometimes it’s all a mystery. Sometimes there is no answer. But that too is okay, if for no reason other than the unchangeable fact that it IS. I am allowed to be, grapple with and process many things at once, living out those truths as a complex creature — and one who chooses to feel and express fully, unable and refusing to strip emotion from the equation.
I share honestly, opening vulnerably, exposing weakness, baring my innermost processing — with varying degrees of bravery, consistency, confidence or lack thereof. What is the right thing to share? To what extent? At what moment? There is no solid answer, no perfect science, no definitive boundaries that anyone can claim ownership over, not even me, the beholder. A candid, unfiltered view of grappling with daily problems or particularly difficult ones is neither pretty nor clear cut. Just because I struggle however does not mean I am a perpetual victim or altogether helpless. I remind myself that exposing hardship, darkness or failure does not negate strength; nothing about healing or vulnerability is binary, either or, right or wrong. And denial is in no way healthy. I can maintain multiple identities simultaneously and experience shifting realities without inherent contradiction. Because together, all adds up to the living, breathing integrated human being that is me.
It is because of deliberate, revelatory internal and intimate reckoning that I am able to put myself out there to others — largely free of expectation, unmet need or desired outcome, rather to simply share, to process, to move forward. I am certainly mindful of personal boundaries and intentions, guided by my values far more than any particular motivators behind what, when and how I share. If I dwelled over drivers or nitpicked every last detail of why I disclose or whether it is ‘right’ in the eyes of someone else, I would stifle my voice entirely. My guard is down, my soul exposed, my trust in others apparent — and through my shares, I have found unexpected meaning, light, support, fortitude, connection and blessings. With risk comes reward, and my gratitude for the presence, goodness and love of friends and strangers alike knows no bounds. I do care about and respect others’ thoughts, yet am not defined by them, remaining open and invested in listening, learning, receiving and engaging in worthwhile exchange among community, albeit not obsessed with external perception or pressures.
Navigating healing is a messy practice, an ongoing challenge, an uncertain road. I stay present, attentive, committed to my health, to growth, to progress, whatever that may look like. I feel quite safe and supported in sharing sans filter in real time, though can’t not wrestle with at least some fear of judgment, attachment to outcomes or sense of shame. I can never be certain how my vulnerability is perceived or what risks I assume now or lasting through such intense emotional exposure, especially amid a culture that struggles acutely with discomfort, with failure, with lack of absolutes, with vulnerability and emotion in general.
Have I erred? Yes. Will I err? Yes. Is this all a struggle? Yes. Attempting to recover physically and psychologically, let alone choosing to do so out in the open, to just exist requires courage and comes with no guarantee, certainty or ease. My capacities, realities, limitations and priorities continue to shift without warning or explanation hour by hour, day by day, even six months after my accident. Nothing is given. Nothing is normal. Nothing is necessary. Nothing is okay, yet all is. Because it is me — all of me. My body. My healing. My journey. My words. My truth.