by Eliza Do Lots from her blog I Run on Caffeine
For long periods in my life, I’ve felt broken. Broken by things that have happened to me, by the things that other people have done, and said, to me. About me. I’ve felt that I’m shattered into pieces, and don’t know how to carry on, and I’ve felt lost, and alone, and afraid.
In those times, where I’ve felt that I’m simply the dust that once made up a person, with no idea how to put myself back together, I’ve wished for someone or something to walk into my life and sweep me back together into some semblance of a whole.
I’ve sought out a fix, a solution, a magic Fairy Godmother or dashing Prince Charming, to take over and tell me, or show me, how to be whole, and to put my flyaway pieces back into a mould that can form the shape I’m supposed to be.
That sense of loss of shape has given people who didn’t deserve it the power to shape me, to tell me who I should be, how I should be, what I should be. I’ve given far too many people that power over the years, and always felt that the shape I naturally was, my inner self, was all wrong and was letting them all down.
The self I was inside never matched up to the standards they set, and I broke myself even more, snapping off the carefully glued together edges to try to fit myself to what I thought they wanted, what they thought they wanted, under the assumption that their views of me were more right and more important than the feelings and ideas I had for myself.
There are many reasons for this voice inside my head that told me I had to be other. There were many other voices from the people I surrounded myself with backing it up.
Even when I reached the point where I said “ENOUGH” and fought back against those cruel voices, I still doubted that inner voice, and still spent time seeking out the answer, some other voice that I could trust, who would shape me without taking advantage of me, and give me some guidance on the right way to be.
But there isn’t one.
There is no external body, no outer voice, no all powerful being who can give you the answers to who you are, what you are, and what you ought to be.
It’s already there, on the inside, and the answer doesn’t come from a guru, from a gathering, from a friend or a partner or a paid counsellor who can tell you how not to be broken any more, or hold your pieces together for you.
And it’s taken me a long time, and a lot of voices, and a fortune in counselling through various sources, to realise that and recognise it.
To recognise that the only voice that truly matters is the one that was there all along. The one I boxed away, stopped listening to, tried not to hear, and doubted all my life.
Among the many voices saying “no” or “you can’t” or “you’re actually no good at that” there is just one quiet voice, who never shouts, who never argues, who never hurts. It’s the smallest of the voices, and the one I’ve heard the least throughout my life.
But she’s the one who matters.
The one who says “maybe not, but how can we know for sure unless we try?”
The one who rumbles in my gut when something seems a little off, but I’ve always done it for the sake of someone else, only to be hurt by the doing.
The one who knows me, best of all.
That inner voice is the one I need to learn to listen to the most – the one I need to trust. Because despite the many years of being ignored, questioned, battled and shut down, that voice is the only one who has never guided me wrong.
If that voice wants it, it’s the right thing. If that voice doubts it, I’ll get hurt. If that voice questions it, I need to look at why.
And the idea that someone or something external needs to enter my life to give it meaning and paste together the dust I became when I fell apart doesn’t exist. All that exists is the knowledge that, really, deep down, I was never broken anyway. I might have shrunk, I might have hurt and been afraid, I might have doubted – but I never broke, because every day, no matter what, no matter how hurt or how afraid, I got up and did the day anyway. Sometimes just the bare basic necessities, but I did it. It might have taken time to get there, but I always protected myself in the end. It might have been hard and I might have been lost on the way, but I always found the path.
The only thing that has ever truly been broken by everything I’ve lived through is my ability to hear that tiny voice, and act on the things it says.
Even very recently I was still hoping for “a real grown up” to tell me what I need to do, and how to do it. But I sat in my little home this evening and I realised that I’m already doing it, every single day, and more successfully than I give myself credit for. And rather than thinking of all the things I’m not achieving, and the things I failed at, I looked at what I have done, am doing, and can do, and I realised that I’ve never been broken, and the only thing getting in the way of me achieving even more and reaching the goals I dream of for my life is me; the only block in my path is the blinkers I wear, and the way my inner self puts her fingers in her ears and shouts “lalalalala I CAN’T HEAR YOU” when that other tiny voice tells me what it is I need to hear.
Sometimes that little voice is critical – but when it is, it’s just because I need it to be.
Sometimes that little voice wants to celebrate, and I shut it down, as if being proud of myself is somehow shameful – but that shame doesn’t come from my own voices, it comes from all those others – and there’s a reason the people they echo aren’t here in my life right now.
I’m not broken. I never was. And the only shape I should be, when I’m building my true self, is the one that was there all along.
So that’s what I’m doing. This little voice, and me. Because we’re ok.
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