The Battle of the Secrets

Hello beautiful souls. Welcome back and I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts of 2020 thus far. I just wanted to start by saying that I will not be having an interview piece for the month of January, but they will be back and better than ever starting in February. Which reminds me, if you are invested in telling your own story feel free to contact me and let me know.

Okay, now that housekeeping is out of the way, let’s get to the goods. I have been feeling some type of way and I’ve enjoyed exploring those feelings more as of late. Interestingly, I have started a new form of birth control that I swear has evened out my hormones. I know a lot of people say they feel more mood swings with the pill, but I have never felt more even keeled. I am sure there are a lot of factors that go into why I am feeling like this, but I really think that is one of them. Now, when I say more even keeled, it does not mean I am not emotional. I still cry on the regular, don’t you worry y’all, gotta get that release somehow. However, those low-lows that I used to have, get less and less. I haven’t had a real low-low in about a month, which is impressive, if I do say so myself. Plus, that low was triggered by alcohol which I have been avoiding as well. So, I am sure that has helped a lot. While I do feel more stable there is an area of my life that is bringing up a lot of feels and a lot of what I’ve been exploring this past month.

Ey-yo, low self-esteem check! (Tiktoc reference, for you oldies. JK I’m old, but I like to stay up-to-date on what the cool kids are doing). But seriously, I’ve been feeling not very powerful and it has been really interrupting my groove. As someone with a history of eating disorders, the new year is the hardest time. Everyone around me is talking about their diet; the weight they have gained over the holidays; the desire to be thinner, thicker, taller, shorter, beefier. Every “I just need to loose 5 lbs, 10lbs, 100lbs” scatters about me and I don’t know how to respond. I oscillate between wanting to be happy with who I am and wanting to be thin. Should I want to loose weight? Should I not? How do I feel about myself? So many thoughts constantly echoing in my brain. “The Biggest Loser” flashes across my screen and  brings me back to the image of fat people puking while a thin person berates them. I play Demi Lovato’s new song Anyone on repeat while I think about all the things she has overcome and how glorious she looked on that stage at the Grammy’s.

Last night, with Demi in mind, I stared into the mirror and I saidyou are worthy of everything you want’ and I began to cry because I didn’t know if I believed it or not. Everyday I wonder if I am loving myself correctly. In this instance, is self-love admitting that I want to change? Is it wanting to feel okay in my current skin? Is it both? I think it is both… No, I know it is both. Why can’t I have a desire to change while also loving who I am? Both can exist at the same time and both can be a beautiful admittance. My worth does not depend on whether I want to change or not. My worth is a value that comes from  inside of myself, even on the days I get self-love wrong, I am worthy.

This morning I stared into the mirror and I said ‘you are worthy of everything you want’ and I began to cry because I knew it was true whether I believed it or not. That’s thing about being gentle with yourself. It’s okay to be exactly who you are at all times, even when it feels like you might be a walking paradox. It is hard to feel worthy, unless you start to accept pieces of yourself that might feel scary to accept.

In light of this revelation, there is a secret I have been keeping to myself that I feel I need to let out. I joined Weight Watchers again and typing that is really scary for me. There it is, out in the open. Even just typing it out loud feels liberating. I think this is scary for me to admit because it feels like I am failing in some way, like wanting to change means I don’t just fully embrace who I am now and that means I am doing self-love a disservice and everything I’ve said before is a lie. The thing is though, that I do love myself as I am today and I want to be able to eat more reasonable portions and I wouldn’t mind losing weight. I do not want to feel shame or guilt in that. Weight Watchers, to me, is a place where I find community, where I can talk about my struggles with eating and feel no judgement. It feels so good to not be holding that in any longer.

Keeping secrets is a heavy weight to carry around. As a social worker, I think the number one phrase I’ve heard in my position is “I’ve never told anyone that before“. After they say it, their change in body language can only be described as amazing. There is always a deep breath and a feeling of relief. The power that I witness firsthand in letting out a secret is one of my favorite parts of the work I do. I feel that feeling each week as I sit at my computer. Each post accompanies a deep breath and feeling of relief.

There are pieces of me that are hard for me to admit, but with each blog post, with each conversation with a friend, with each confession, I feel more and more worthy of what I want. It all starts with ripping the bandaid. Telling your secrets to the air, your pet, a piece of paper, a computer screen, a trusted friend, a stranger, your therapist – is powerful. Scream it out or whisper it quietly. Secrets that we keep inside are the real parts of ourselves that we need to battle. Today, take out your sword and be brave- tell a secret you’ve been holding on to. If you don’t have anyone/thing to tell, you can tell me. Just go to my contact page and if you want to remain anonymous just make up a name and email. I just want you to know that you have a place here that is safe. I feel safe in telling you my secrets and I hope you feel the same in return.

Today I am going to be brave alongside you and I am going to tell three more secrets before the day is done. You will be able to find them on my Instagram page.

A[wo]men

i feel the aching-

today in my chest,

yesterday in my bones,

tomorrow in my stomach.

it will always linger,

always want out.

i close my eyes,

open my mouth,

let the words

escape my lips

i’m free.

-letting go of secrets

 

 

 

 

 

Heavy Lifting

In the name of honesty and bravery, I am beginning today’s post with some realness. I don’t want to write this. I didn’t even want to open my eyes this morning or even fall asleep last night. I ate this morning out of necessity, not out of hunger. I brushed my teeth with the will of 100 men in battle. I’m still, of course, going to write this; just as I powered through the other tasks of my morning, because I know that fresh air is coming.

It has been a tough week for me. Nothing in particular to note, but just a feeling of longing. I’ve spent a lot of time alone this week, mostly watching TV and lounging. For some, this can be a refreshing activity, but for me it often creates feelings of isolation. The more I feel disconnected the more I disconnect. I think I am currently in the dun dun dun ‘suck zone’. For those of you wondering what exactly the ‘suck zone’ is let me quote the great 1996 film Twister: “‘The Suck Zone’…when the twister… sucks you up. That’s not the technical term for it, obviously.” Obviously… but it is just the term I needed, Dusty. See I’ve been sucked up into the twister of loneliness.

There are a few things that I have noticed that may be playing into these feelings:

Number 1. I still don’t have a good schedule down. I keep having random appointments, odd trips, weird bed times, and strange work hours which I let take over any semblance of a routine.

Number 2. As I try to increase the reach of my blog, I have become a little too intense about social media. I went from taking a two week hiatus, to checking my stats every 20 minutes. It is too much.

Number 3. I still think about my breakup much more than I care to admit. This is a hard one to be honest about because I get embarrassed by this fact. I know, I know. I keep hearing it over and over… “It’s a process. Don’t feel bad and don’t try to rush it. This will pass.” And I get that. I know they are right and breakups are hard, but, like, I do feel bad and I want to rush it and could it just pass already?

Number 4. It’s Amazon Prime day and I don’t have enough money to buy unnecessary things for the sake of sales. Sometimes, I just want to be frivolous. I want to throw hundo’s around like I’m in a cool music video.

Number 5. I want coffee. Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’m an addict. I’ve been coffee free for one month and it’s been harder to resist the sweet bean of life, now, more than ever.

Number 6. I am still not Lizzo and that’s all I really want in this life.

So, as you can see, I’m not really setting myself up for great success. The good news is that I recognize this and I am being really gentle with myself. I am ensuring that I still do things that keeps the war at bay.

How, might you ask? Let me count the ways:

Number 1. I am requiring myself to spend time outside for at least one hour per day.

Number 2. I am still going to my therapist! This is the longest standing therapeutic relationship I have ever had. (Aside from my dog Brandy, who was my therapist growing up. RIP. [And yes, she was named after singer/song writer/actress Brandy. I really loved the show Moesha and her amazing rendition of Cinderella.]) In fact, I will be seeing her (my therapist, not Brandy) in about 2 hours. I always feel lighter after therapy.

Number 3. I am not really scrolling on social media. At this point I am just checking my own page, so the comparing is still down to a minimum. Baby steps = baby wins.

Number 4. I am planning a solo camping trip. Which means I have to buy a sleeping bag and, oh would you look at that, there is a sleeping bag on sale on prime day. How convenient. May not be throwin’ hundo’s, but I am getting turned up with nature. [That was the most embarrassing thing I have ever typed out loud. Sorry, not sorry.] Also, may not be a cool music video, but it is like a Henry David Thoreau story. So that’s pretty cool.

Number 5. I’m rewatching Riverdale to be reminded of the love I truly want… #bughead #Bettyandjughead4ever #iSHIPit

Number 6. I continue to sing Lizzo songs daily and even if I can’t be her, I am her in my head for at least 20 minutes a day.

Number 7. Exactly what I am doing right now; I am writing.

All in all, I would say my coping skills are pretty successful. I even had an extra coping skill compared to the aforementioned list of hold-ups. Sure, tasks feel heavy right now, but they don’t feel so heavy that I can’t lift them. I’m just becoming a pretty toned heavy weight lifter. “The beach is that way.”

While I am starting to grow emotional muscles, there have definitely been points in my life where I felt too weak to lift anything. In the past my coping skills list consisted of 1. binge eating and 2. self-hatred. Look at that growth. I guess this is how strength builds though. One day you’re lifting a 5 pounder and the next you are lifting in the hundo’s. +I think hundo’s is my new favorite word, BTW. Again, like a break-up, it takes time. You don’t just jump into it because then you will break your back, or is it your mothers back? Oh, wait, that’s only if you step on a crack. Either way, pain is involved.

But the real problem is we don’t talk about it; we don’t talk about any of it. We expect the quick turnaround because we don’t see all the hard work that we put in day in and day out. We see the end results, not the grueling work. The first time I opened up about any of my feelings outside of joy was in a chat room, on the Post Secret Website. If you have not heard about Post Secret, it is a brilliant site and I encourage you to follow the link. Essentially, complete strangers from around the world send secrets to another stranger who then posts them weekly to his blog. The reason I felt safe to open up there is because of the honesty and bravery shown by everyone else. I learned in those moments that feeling this way was meant to be secret. We tend to not open up about feelings outside of happiness, unless it is to complete strangers.

While I loved and continue to be thankful for the opportunity that chat room gave me, I also think it’s important we give space to those we love to hear how we are feeling. I’ve been trying to correct my way of thinking because for a large part of my life only telling strangers held me back from feeling okay. I had to be a different person depending on where I was sitting. Quiet Sarah at home, happy Sarah at cheer, sad Sarah on the computer, sassysarah600 on aim… When all I really wanted to be was Sarah Lorraine Robinson. *Gasp* THAT’S THE URL NAME.

This blog allows me to open up to strangers, but also to those closest to me, with my name right there in the website address. I am no longer hiding my identity, I am shouting it from the tops of webpages. Earlier, when I said I am still going to write and do my normal activities because I know there is fresh air on the other side, this is what I meant. I feel like I held my thoughts in for so long it was like holding my breathe under water. When I write, when I tell people the truth, just out in the open like this, it’s like I am able to exhale. In fact, breath work, i.e., the inhale and exhale, are some of the greatest coping skills we have.

I suppose I have a number 8 to add to the list: Breathing.

A[wo]men

PS- My hope is to continue the #honestyrevolution #braveryrevolution on social media. Please join me in showing your own journeys, not just the results, and all the emotions that go along with that. For more information on this social media campaign read my previous post- The Social Media Revolution

xxoo