Joshua Tree National Park, CA
“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” – C. Joy Bell C.
I remember my 20’s.
Some of it wonderful.
Some of it painful.
No one noticed.
No one seemed to care.
The familiar demons, the voices of my childhood, my teens…the “never enough’s”…ensuring I knew everything that was wrong with me…not what was right with me.
The waves of self-hatred rising up… smacked back down, repressed, silenced…the unconscious cover up continuing…the smile hiding the sadness.
I spent the first 54 years of my life in hiding. Hiding from others.
You can’t hide from others unless you’re hiding from yourself.
I’m not hiding any longer…want to know why?
Shields of armor weigh you down.
Building layers and layers around you hides the truth of who you…until it’s buried so deep… that only a Phoenix can rise from within to burn it all away.
What’s left is you. Or me. Or us.
I’m done hiding.
The Phoenix has risen. The Genie is out of the bottle.
After recovering from a life-threatening illness and a year unable to walk, I made my way back to the land of the living.
Being on camera, in front of a lens, was anathema to me. My journey back was a public one, documented in a story told by images formerly foreign to me.
It was the first time I shared a photo of myself in a swimsuit publicly. It took me 54 years to strike up the courage, the moxie to do so.
Since that time, I’ve added 20 lbs to my frame and with that, came the old stories and the desire to hide once again.
I knew I needed to gain weight. I was too thin…weak…frail…yet my eye was getting used to this thinner version of me.
Two weeks ago, I traveled to the desert.
The old voices returned.
The desire to run, to hide, to cover up.
The shame bubbling up.
And, then it happened.
I let it happen.
It was awkward at first.
Until, I began to embrace the new me, the healthier version of me.
She’s tired of hiding.
She is who she is.