The last few weeks have been an incredible journey. And not in a good way.

My life overall has not been one that has allowed me to be open and express my true feelings. I recall my childhood being one of being told how to think, how to feel, how to dress, how to talk. And not like a normal childhood. When something traumatic would occur, I was taught to hold it in. Deal with it. Cope.

In my adult life, it’s persisted. I haven’t really had the relationships with men that allowed me to express my feelings. My last marriage was one of if I didn’t do something his way and the outcome wasn’t as expected, I got “you should have listened to me”. And as far as feelings go, I always felt dismissed and there was no opportunity to discuss or be understood. So I continued the practice of bottling up and keeping it held up inside. For all my athlete friends, HTFU (harden the fuck up) has always been a very real part of my life.

Needless to say, my dating relationships have not been much different.

I’ve tried my hand at vulnerability in the past, but minimally. Filtered. You only get what I allow you to see rather than true, full vulnerability. I’ve always made sure that all people saw was a confident “I got this” person. You may have seen my previous blog about the traumatic year I feel I’ve had, and it all finally came to a head. And it because abundantly apparent that this masquerade was up. I damaged one of THE most important relationships I had in my life. And that self reflection on trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it, forced me to dive in to my psyche … and it has fucking sucked.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had to force myself in to full vulnerability to try and repair the damage I did in that relationship specifically, but two other friends as well (yeah, I really fucked up). The damage came as a result of me putting up my walls. These walls are my defense against hurt or pain. When someone wrongs me or I feel like I’m exposed and could be hurt. I protect myself and shut people off. Because if you’re shut off. You can’t hurt me. I don’t often open up to people, because again, if you know me inside, you can use it against me. So even when I’ve been open, it’s been filtered. It’s been the little bits I allow you to see. But not everything.

So there. There’s some vulnerability for you. But oh there’s more!! The other thing I’ve tried to do is make sure I’m talking. Being open and honest. Expressing feeling and hurt when I don’t want to. Guys…. it feels like walking around naked. I hate it. This shit is going to take practice. It is so exposing and feels so terrible. I don’t want to talk about me. You all have problems too, so putting any focus on me feels selfish and insensitive. Interestingly enough though, there is some sense of relief that comes with talk though. Being able to unburden has a feeling of liberation.

I still have work to do. I’ve been seeing a therapist the last month and a half. And the aforementioned relationship may not be fixed…. because I caused that person a great deal of pain by putting up my walls. My heart aches and my own pain feels absolutely unbearable at times. But I know that all I can do is continue to just improve myself and try to do all this better.

I am looking forward to this year though. I look forward to being truly vulnerable. To creating the best relationships that I possibly can. To make sure that the friends I have can support me on my journey but also so that I can support them. I want to be better in life because of the people I surround myself with, and I hope that those people can also be better because of me.

The pain will ease with time. I know that. Right now hurts and sucks ass in a bad kind of way. But opening up to the world, and to each of my dear friends I hope will help that healing process.

Much love friends.

This is one method I’m using to self reflect daily…. just in an effort to try and center and ground myself. It’s on the wall I see every morning when I roll out of bed and what I see when I go to sleep. As you can see, even Marley is in on it.

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