It’s a thundering heart, shaky hands, trying to avoid looking at my computer screen kind of Sunday, so let’s just go.
I had a dream on Thursday that didn’t set in that I had had it until I was walking to work on Friday. The dream was I was in this mall which was half a trendy mall and half an indoor southeast Asian marketplace (if you know, you know).
I’m in this mall FREQUENTLY in my dreams. It’s not a real mall, but I always know cognitively in my dream that it’s the mall I’m always at, be it in the SE Asian street market area or the trendy area.
This time, I was wandering in the mall by myself when I felt a man’s hand on the small of my back. I froze and glanced over as he pushed me forward and told me to hand my phone to someone and he just kept pushing me forward.
We ended up in a food court area sitting in a corner, he had his back to the wall and mine was to everyone else and he just kept telling me how this was my fault; that I must have wanted this.
He repeatedly told me the following:
“You did this to yourself.”
Over and over and over.
And I just sat there. Letting those words wash over me. The loud sounds of the food court became muted and I just heard this guy telling me that I had chosen this. I had been complicit.
I had done THIS to myself.
When I remembered the dream while walking to work Friday, I physically stopped, took a deep breath, and shook it out of my brain. When I was telling my roommate about this dream, I didn’t truly realize how much those words hit me. And when he got Pastor Benjamin with me, I was tired and didn’t want to feel how much they hit my heart.
“I did this to myself” crosses so many lines in my life, so many places, so many choices.
It pushes into my belief that people will leave. It pushes into my belief that I’m not enough. It pushes into my belief that I’ll always be alone. It pushes into my belief that I’m not capable.
It pushes into me.
I’ve come a long damn way in the last five years of my life.
I do my best to not allow toxic influences in my life, I have leaned into who I am as a human, not caring if it goes against what people think of me.
I try to brush off the bullshit and not let myself anxiety spiral into oblivion.
It’s just hard sometimes.
And it truly does feel on some days that I did this to myself. That I allowed words to hurt and actions to sting me.
It feels somedays that I’m not strong enough.
A week or so ago I was working in the kitchen at my early learning center. It was a chaotic day, my classroom was full and I wasn’t there, I was attempting to prepare 2 other meals separate of the one for that moment and a little voice wormed it’s way into my brain.
It said, “Well maybe you just aren’t a hard worker if you can’t do two jobs at one time. Maybe, you aren’t good enough for this.”
And I stopped cutting bananas, set my knife down and stepped back.
I gave my brain a harsh, ”Hell no.” and I kept working.
Because it’s literally ridiculous to think, specifically in that moment where I was doing a job that isn’t in my job description and also my own job, that I wasn’t a hard worker.
I’ve been told that I’m lazy, that I don’t work hard and those things stir up every once in a while to tell me I’m not doing enough.
Those words I feel like I brought on myself.
I let them stay.
I let them happen.
I let them bring me pain.
I did it to myself.
Some days it’s harder to grapple with than others.
(and here’s the “but”)
BUT, damn, watch me keep moving.
Watch me keep remind you that we can get through this.
Watch me remind you that you are stronger than those voices in your head.
Because you are.
And that’s exactly why I share the words that sometime feel cringy or too much to share for me.
I want you to remember you aren’t alone.
That you can stop chopping bananas and tell that voice in your head that it’s a liar.
There are days the memories and the voices and the words of my past are too much. There are days that there is practically a skywriter following me simply with the words above me telling me that I did this to myself.
That I made the choices to believe lies for so long that now they are just a part of who I am.
And that if I don’t hold it the fuck together than it’s all going to fall apart.
I became the glue myself.
I did it to myself and I must live with it.
And that’s just not true.
It’s not true for me, it’s not true for you.
There’s a lot of noise these days, a lot of people around us telling us to be more. A lot of comparison and a lot of measuring up.
There are a lot of people telling us what’s wrong with you and that whatever it is; we did it to ourselves and they are the only ones who have the magic formula to fix it.
I’m here to tell you that’s not the way it works.
I’m here to tell you who you are.
I’m here to tell you that you bring good into the world.
I’m here to tell you that you’ve been resilient and sometimes it was hard but look at what you’ve done.
Look what you can do.
We got this.
Tears and all on a Sunday morning.