As many of you have probably witnessed, the “Me Too” movement, which seeks to shed light on sexual assault by encouraging those who have dealt with it to share “me too,” has flooded social media over the last couple days. I absolutely and completely LOVE that this subject is being talked about on such a widespread scale. Finally, right??
But I have to admit that I didn’t participate. Instead, I felt very triggered and overwhelmed, spending all day yesterday on the verge of a panic attack and all last night crying. And then I got really down on myself. I saw all these women and men bravely sharing their stories, when I couldn’t, and I thought, “Wow. Shouldn’t I be as brave as them? I’m obviously not as strong as these people. Shouldn’t I be over this by now? People have been through way, way worse than me. And here I am getting triggered…”
The thought of sharing my story made me want to throw up. The thought of even saying, “me too,” publicly- even without explaining further- still felt like too much.
PTSD isn’t something I ever talk about, though I’ve been diagnosed. I’ve sought treatment with a specialized counselor. I spent time with a pelvic physical therapist, having to relearn how to relax my vaginal muscles because they were unconsciously in a state of constant seizing and tension, causing pain. I’ve done a lot of journaling and crying and meditating.
But even so, this movement showed me how much farther I need to go, how much more I need to shed. And guess what? I’m learning that that is OKAY.
Last night, through tears streaming down my face, I told my fiance how awful I felt that I wasn’t as strong as these other women. He reminded me that everyone is different. Everyone processes things differently. Everyone is on their own path with their own timing and that’s totally, completely okay. He told me that, if I didn’t feel like sharing- even if I NEVER felt like sharing- it doesn’t mean I’m not strong too.
And this can apply to ALL the times we compare ourselves to others.
You might be struggling intensely with panic attacks and see my life in pictures, wondering, “Ugh how is she functioning when I can barely walk out of my house right now?” Or you might wonder how someone you know from high school is so successful in their career when you’re barely making ends meet.
We can spend all day comparing our journeys to others’. But it doesn’t change the fact that we are where we are. Can we meet ourselves with kindness instead of judgment? Can we offer ourselves love instead of beating ourselves up?
There is no way that you SHOULD be feeling. However you’re feeling, right here, right now, is okay. However long it takes you to get where you want to be, is okay. Even if you never get where you think you should be, that’s okay too. Let yourself off the hook of unrealistic expectations and pressures, and instead, embrace the totality of your strength in THIS moment.
You are strong for being alive. You are strong for breathing. You are strong for loving yourself day after day. You are strong for being willing to explore and learn about yourself. You are strong for each and every day that you show up in this world.
I realized that not participating was actually an act of self-care. It wasn’t something I felt I could handle so I chose to care for myself instead. And that’s incredibly beautiful. We can choose to care for ourselves, even if it means we’re doing something different than everyone else.
Let’s begin to embrace our journeys, whatever they look like. However long it takes. Showing ourselves kindness and forgiveness over and over again until finally, we see the magnificence of who we truly are.