Over a month ago I found out my mom got really sick while we were away on vacation. They waited until I got back, but it was serious enough for the hospital, and something that changed her daily life and need for care.
When this happened, I was spinning. I couldn’t handle one more thing. My son was soon off to college, and the timing was tough.
I didn’t tell anyone the details for over a month. I thought, “I can’t tell people one more thing I have going on in my life.” Having a family member as an alcoholic makes me feel that asking for help with the chaos is all I’m allowed to ask for, and nothing more. I had “capped” myself off by thinking “I can only tell so much.”
The following began to happen over that month:
- I began to lack sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream, or just become alert.
- I began making lots more mistakes. I began to run into things, drop things, break things, forget things. Bruises began to develop all over my body from moving too fast and hitting objects.
- I became very quiet. Rather than conversing on what was going on in my life, I became quiet and reserved.
All of the above made me climb faster into my shell. I felt that was the best and safest way to live.
I Began to Put My Armor Back On
Often I wanted to come out of my shell to explain the reasons for all my mistakes. Like when I was training and trying a new exercise that had several parts. I had so much in my head I couldn’t comprehend the steps. It was so bad my trainer thought I was messing with him.
At the end of the session, I almost told him the effect my mom’s illness was having on me. But a voice inside of me said, “You can only ask for ‘X,’ not ‘X + a little more.’ That’s for everyone else.” So I didn’t.
And since I didn’t admit to needing help, things got worse.
One day I made a mistake about the timing of an appointment with this trainer. I had no recollection of the appointment change whatsoever. Internally, I knew I was starting to fail, maybe I needed to tell him. But I didn’t.
Because I was so off, I didn’t respond or react normally. I just froze. Then of course being the overly sensitive person that I am, I thought, “Was I rude? Was I mean?”
When Lying Seems Better than the Truth
This trainer always went above and beyond for me. I couldn’t in my heart of hearts fathom being rude or unkind to someone who had given me so much.
I went home and crafted a sincere text message of apology, and admitted to what was going on with my mom. But, I chickened out. I not only thought I was admitting weakness, but I was asking for “X+ a little more.” And that choice, that option, I still felt didn’t apply to me.
I deleted the text message and came up with pretty much anything but the truth. And that big lie was so transparent, but it felt better to me than anything but asking for “X + a little more.”
And like any lie like our parents taught us, it will blow so hard up in your face. And it did.
All of a sudden, I couldn’t bullshit anymore. I had to fall on my sword and tell the truth. I dropped my head in embarrassment and failure.
I finally needed “X + a little more,” and had to be okay admitting it. Instead of being met with a lack of understanding, or a “no,” or “that’s too much,” I was instead met with a listening ear, kind face, and empathetic smile. It was actually a laugh.
The 4 Agreements: The First Agreement ~ Be Impeccable With Your Word
My trainer reminded me of the “Four Agreements,” specifically, the first agreement, which is to “Be Impeccable with Your Word.” He didn’t have to say much after that. Because I got it, and said, “Yes, no more bull shit.”
And even though in the moment I felt as small and weak as a pebble, I realized that was the right thing to do. To admit the truth, and no more bull shit.
It was Time to Take the Armor Off
Not bull shitting people is scary for me. One, because I think I’m really good at it. And two, because now they get to see the real me. I had to admit to and allow what I thought were my weaknesses, to show.
This for me is one of the most terrifying– allowing people to see the “no bull shit” side. It’s new territory. And even though for me this can feel like dragging nails across a chalkboard, I know I have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
And to never again be afraid to ask, or admit the need, for “X + a little more.” Because everyone is worthy.
Sometimes, the most teachable parts of life can be the tripping, falling, picking yourself back up parts. It’s then that people get to see the authentic side. I’m learning to not be afraid to show it, because that’s when you get to see the real me, bruises and all.