Originally posted July 2018
Life has a way of burying us.
Layers of dirt and grime, fear and hurt, disappointment and lies, silencing our voices and confining ourselves to a box until we forget who we are. If we aren’t careful, those layers will eventually kill us.
Because when life buries us alive and silences our voices, we self-destruct.
It’s the journey I’m on.
I could say it started in 2017 when I chose IDENTITY for my word for the year. It went along with Fearless and Bloom from the previous years. Perhaps it began the year I helped Nadine Brandes with her Called2Speak blog tour. But in reality, it’s been going on for a lot longer than that. I just didn’t realize it yet.
I’ve been digging deeper, stripping away the layers, trying to set my soul free, trying to discover who I really am. Not without my moments of self-destruction nor moments of flying high.
And then I find stories and movies that resonate with me, it tells me I’m not alone. They also show me what happens if I keep allowing life to bury me. If I keep burying myself.
No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending by Esther Fleece hit it square on the head for me. Here was a book that gave voice to my own struggles. I have been shutting down my emotions all my life. Even when I thought I was reaching out for healing. It was only surface level compared to the depth of the iceberg beneath it.
When I finally watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and saw what became of Creed because he tried to squash his true identity, it was a visual representation of what was going on inside of me. The darkness created by words held back, thoughts caged, pain silenced, feelings denied until it exploded. Not without consequences. It was warning me. If I kept denying who I was, I would self-destruct. I could feel it.
Last week I was reading The Story Peddler by Lindsey A. Franklin and there was a scene that reminded me of Creed. A lady who had buried her true identity and it was destroying her. Another warning of what happens when we try to squash our true identity.
And what was I going to do about it?
I am tired of the fear, the lies, the layers of dirt and grime burying me, silencing me. Our art, stories in my case, is the expression of the soul, and if we allow life to silence us, then our art fails. And what better message our stories can show than this: we are not alone.
I guess this is what happens when I choose a word like identity for my word of the year, or more like decade. The journey to delve deeper to discover has been wildly challenging, and I have yet to find my voice. But I’m getting there. One step at a time. I’m not sure where this journey will take me or what the next step will be. It will probably get messy. But life is messy, isn’t it?
Isn’t it beautiful when the stories we read can resonate so deeply with us? What’s a story that has resonated with you and your journey?