The freedom I found in being vulnerable

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life statement

I will never forget the day these words escaped from my heart and ended up on a page. That day was May 5, 2010 — a Wednesday. It was just after 7am as I finished a morning run with a friend. My heart seemed to pound louder as the stillness and quiet echoed through my house. The communication between what my heart was sharing seemed to stall between my hand and the pen and paper. I recall thinking, “I can’t write any faster!” Without thinking, I just kept writing.

The words came.

And came.

And I kept thinking, “How will I know when to stop?”

Then, I stopped writing and read these words out loud. With that simple action, I “heard” them for the first time and assigned meaning to them. They grabbed me and shook me. They made me cry. They pushed me further than I had ever been and yet confirmed everything I wanted. They made me let go of my old self — even the one I had spent years protecting. The one I had covered up. The one I let no one see. The one I was even afraid to admit existed.

But here I was…exposed.

Raw.

Vulnerable.

Behind the walls I spend years creating, I found that it was more work to keep up and build higher walls than to just let them fall down or in some cases, stop building them all together. I believed that the walls kept me safe. Protected. Out of harms way. I always viewed the walls as being something that worked for me, not against me.

I never saw the walls as a fortress or prison.

I never felt trapped or hindered in any way.

Then something happened.

To me, it might have seemed instant, but to others, it might have been more of a transformation over time. Just like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.

butterfly Volker Schnabele

Then what happened next seems almost too difficult to describe. You can’t really understand it until it happens to you.

But with the walls down, I had this sense of freedom…real freedom.

It wasn’t so much as I was keeping people out, although that was part of it. It was more about letting myself be seen. it was about feeling comfortable in sharing my story — even the ugly parts — and being okay with it.

People were going to judge me anyway – they might as well have the entire story to base their opinions.

When I started writing six years ago, I felt compelled to listen to the words my heart wanted to speak, not the ones my head told me to hide. In some ways, it released my mind of having to carry all of that junk and allowed it to have its place in the world, wherever that fell.

In hindsight, I didn’t realize people were reading what I was writing and never, ever did I think my few simple words would impact the lives of friends and family, let alone people I would never meet.

But I had this feeling that somehow what I was sharing, however insignificant, meant something. To someone. Every moment became an opportunity to live fully.

One of the biggest obstacles I faced was forgiving myself for the parts in my story that I had wished had never happened or wanted a chance to make better. But even that taught me that I did what I thought was right and the only reason I wanted to go back was to give myself another chance to do it better this time.

Some of my freedom has come with a cost I thought I would never have to pay, but in the big scheme of things, I know it was something I could not do without going “all in.”

I couldn’t hide behind some of the walls when I felt uncomfortable and only be seen when I was okay with what people were going to see.

In 2013, I wrote my first book, “It’s Time: Changing Your Life Starts Today” — a 200 page book capturing the journey I had taken in a matter of a few years along with the observations, lessons, and insights I learned along the way.  For the most part, that journey was nothing I could have prepared for – no matter how much time I was given.

Through that growth, I became the very essence of who I have always been. I saw life with a different set of lenses and my vocabulary began to show my thoughts, full hope and love.

I started to live through my heart, allowing it to guide me with faith and believing in what I had yet to be shown. My fear of the unknown had been replaced with excitement for surprises. I could tell when I was happiest as that joy began to be something that I not only felt, but was something others could connect to and hold onto as well.

Learning more about who I am every day, I have fallen in love with the journey so far.

Here are a few of the highlights since I first wrote my life statement over 6 years ago:

  • I am more spontaneous than ever before. I have walked to the edge of the Grand Canyon and marveled at the layers of color in the rock and dance to whatever beat seems to be in my head, regardless of where I am. I will try new things and will that experience.
  • I am more comfortable with people seeing how I feel.  I have cried on a friend’s shoulder when I was afraid. I have allowed my heart to speak, through the cracks of my voice and trusted it like never before. I say, “I love you” more to the people who mean the most to me.
  • I am more willing to admit what I need. Before, I was convinced that I could do it all on my own. I was afraid to admit that needing something or someone would seem as a sign of weakness. Now, I know who I need in my life, what is necessary to motivate me and inspire me, and the roads I take to get me where I’m going.
  • I am more committed to my best relationships.  I know who I will fight for and who I have to let slip away. It is a hard choice, but in the end, I have never regretted holding on to someone I want and need in my life or letting go of someone who is toxic to me. Making some of those choices have been easier than others, but the most important ones fill me with more joy, more laughter, and more memories  still yet to be written.
  • I am more dedicated to causes that support humanity.  I understand the role money plays in our lives, but never is it what drives me. If my speaking up makes me an advocate for change, then so be it. No longer will I be silent, withhold my gifts, or remain anonymous. If it matters enough to make me upset, chances are it bothers someone else too. I resolve to be “An Army of One.”
  • I am more confident in who I was born to be. I could have ignored the purpose of my soul and pretended it was meant for someone else, but I can’t deny my calling. The journey I have taken so far has led me here and I will continue to take any and all necessary steps (even the hard ones) to continue on my path. Although unclear at times, I have never doubted it. It message never wavers.
  • I am more aware of the life going on around me.  I could just ignore the little things and keep to my busy schedule, but I don’t do that anymore.  Whether it be deer or baby ‘possum on my morning walk or hearing the laughter of a small child playing — it all connects me to being alive. In small ways that no one else sees but me. Feeling life isn’t about getting a bunch of things done…its about living in the moment and if that means eating dessert first with a bottle of beer on a Monday afternoon, then so be it.
  • I am more grateful for moments and people. I took the people I love the most for granted and in some ways, have fallen in love with them all over again. These people make me better and the moments we share that turn into memories connect us in ways nothing else can. Saying, “thank you” seems small, yet shows appreciation in a HUGE way. My greatest blessings are not something I crave, but something I have.
  • I am more acceptance of change and growth. I wasn’t always one who wanted things to end, but I have learned that some really good stuff falls apart only to be put back together even better than it was before. Growing is a part of life and change is how that growth is observed. I cannot stay the same and still grow — I must move with life, instead of always trying to control it or keep it in the same place.
  • I am more courageous than I ever thought I could be. I didn’t realize that by simply sharing my story that it would inspire others to do the same and I was afraid of being judged because of the pages I have already written. In these last few years, I have never been more humbled by comments shared with me by others who have connected to, resonated with, or simply understood where I had been, where I am now, and where I am going next. Being brave was never something I saw myself doing on purpose — it just kind of happened.
  • I am more. Someone told me once, “You are not the same person you once were.” He was right. I am better than I have been before. I am stronger. I am a believer. I am more caring, more generous, more compassionate than ever before. I am a woman on a mission to lave a legacy worth remembering. I am profound in the words I share and they way they impact you. I am living an authentic life. I am true to my life statement.

Looking back, I cannot change what has already happened. I can only move from here. Doing the best I can with what I have at the moment. My authentic life

Never did I imagine all the wasted time in holding on…when all I needed to do was let go.

If I never learn another thing, I will have learned the most important thing of all — that being vulnerable isn’t that scary and the truth is actually something better than I could have ever imagined.

In fact, it has been the only thing that set my soul free. SERIOUSLY.

Michelle A. Homme 2016 ©

 

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