I woke up this morning in a bit of a panic. Today is the 7th day of my project and the end of the first week. Writing every day has been a challenge in both positive and negative ways. One the one hand, letting go of much of what I held in for so long has been liberating. I feel much freer, and the scary feeling of being vulnerable is starting to subside.
On the other hand, so much attention on me has never been something I sought after, and it will continue to take time to adjust to it. With the recognition comes the feedback and influence from others; then comes the shame and guilt, and questions about my motivations. Interactions like these can be internalized as unfavorable, festering until we stand up to them. We can turn them around and identify the reaction as proof that some things need to be said because they had a more significant impact than we may have realized.
An essential part of this project was to write all these stories and thoughts out in the open to help people realize that there is no shame in working through your past to lay the foundation for a better future. While yes, there are paid professionals who can sit and talk all these topics through, but that isn’t going to help remove the stigma around mental health. I feel very secure in how far I’ve come on my own journey, and at some point, I may go to a therapist for some of the topics I covered and didn’t cover in this project. That doesn’t mean that I am “healed” in any way, or that I won’t regret some of which I share farther down the line. I’m doing what feels right. I can’t deny myself the opportunity to see where that takes me.
Even with all the loud feedback from some, the silence from others can be the part that’s deafening. We need to continue to assess our self-reflection processes but also evaluate if a change is necessary. The key is to prioritize your voice and health, then accommodate as much as possible without being untrue and hindering growth. At the end of a transformative period, people will stick with you, or they will have moved on; both outcomes are okay, natural, and beyond our control. When we get out of our heads and listen to our instincts holistically, they are usually right.