Sunday, April 7, 2019

Check On Your Successful Friend

For 20 years, I have been writing to save my life. Using words as bandages to hide my scars, and heal the damage of past mistakes. I AM NOT PERFECT. But, to many, I appear to be.

Spoiled. Entitled. Favored. Indeed. However, these synonymous terms do not equate to being flawless. My brokenness is still too painful to confront.

For quite some time, I’ve been sitting, unbothered, on a pedestal that is now rusting and losing its quality. Secrets that I’ve locked away are beating against their cells, begging to be released. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be freed from the guilt if the world is invited in to examine my shame. So, I press forward meticulously, granting sneak peeks to those who have eased close enough to prove they care and work to gain my trust.

I’ve developed a productive routine; keeping myself super busy to avoid pressing issues. Working myself crazy. Consciously and subconsciously creating intentional distractions that lead to a dark, secluded hole. Every now and then, I peep out for praise, for encouragement, for support. And crawl back inside, impatiently waiting for loved ones to dive in and inquire about my well-being. My visitors’ log is often empty. And I begin filling the blank spaces with more activities, until my calendar overflows with numerous to-do tasks that become almost impossible to complete.
I struggled to recall long-forgotten childhood memories during my most recent therapy session. Vivid flashes of previous circumstances startled me. The agony was freshly felt as closed wounds were reluctantly reopened. My therapist peered at me and said, “You’re very layered. Peel back those parts to find YOU.” She was referring to the little girl I left behind years ago, when I somehow escaped reality to enter various dream worlds that welcomed me with open doors.

This month marks one year of my mental health rehab. Soul-searching is a cyclical journey that often results in dead-ends. I’m too inquisitive to accept unresolved dilemmas, too persistent to forfeit chances at understanding. No matter how confident I may seem, I am constantly in need of reassurance. Selfishly demanding to be seen, heard, and valued—at my weakest points, wondering how an ounce of loneliness trumps the joy I have accumulated.

This blog serves as a reminder to check on your strong successful friend.

Sometimes the smile is a facade to keep the judgment away. The accolades are just mounting pressure. She’s overwhelmed and trying hard not to disappoint those who look to her for inspiration. Fear of failure is a daily burden. She suffers in silence because public complaints are misconstrued as ungratefulness. No matter how passionately she prays, she is only acquainted with instant peace when resting her head on her husband’s chest; his heartbeat reminds her that she, too, is breathing. Someone is always depending on her to radiate resilience. If she quits, they may never seek courage elsewhere. She must push through, and pull them along with her. She’s not always tough enough to bear the weight. Instead of assuming she doesn’t require consistent check-ups because she ‘has it all’, consider how heavy the load is. Ask her which pieces she must immediately get rid of. Then, help her unpack and offer to carry half. Allow her to feel light again. Before she sinks back into that hole. Gets stuck. And has no strength left to climb back to the top.

My chest tightened, signaling an oncoming anxiety attack. As my tears blended with the shower’s clear water stream, I realized that this unexpected mini breakdown was a necessary cleanse. I braced myself and washed off the worry. Secured a towel around my body. Looked in the mirror and stared at my reflection. Curved my lips into a smile and decided to compose this PSA, containing an initial sentence delivered with absolute truth: For 20 years, I have been writing to save my life.

My purpose walk isn’t easy. I’m not sure why God covers me when I don’t follow Him. I didn’t ask to be chosen. Yet, I’ve never resisted the calling. I am well aware of the power that comes with simply being obedient, and believe without my gifts, I am useless.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

I’m scheduling a few days offline this month to detach and detox. Don’t be alarmed, but please don’t hesitate to check on me while I’m striving to conquer the monster that invades my mind and dictates my moods: Success. The pursuit of its glory will not defeat me. I will win. To all my strong successful friends, so will you.




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