It was a beautiful November morning. I walked into the tiny room, hoping like I always did that I was in good form and that progress would be made. And I was. And it was. And it felt great. I was in such a good place and it was exciting. All my hard work was paying off.
And then the words came.
"Okay, so let's talk. You are sounding really good. These kinds of roles will be great for you. But if you want to play them - you'll need to get in better shape. You need to lose 20 pounds."
The words rolled off her tongue like nothing. And they hurt. A lot.
I went from feeling so accomplished to feeling so defeated. I wasn't what I should be. As I was, right in that moment, I was not enough.
It was also my birthday.
Fast forward to about one year later. Same room, same purpose - get better at this thing that will very likely be my livelihood. I was tired - I had just run from an hour of dancing to this, and was operating under little sleep. It was the middle of the semester, and my plate was full - like always. It was only a make-up, so I sang through my rep quickly and braced myself for the comments. I knew they were coming. But I didn't know how brutal they'd be.
"Okay, let's talk. You look pale. And you say you're in all these dance classes, but they're not helping. You're not taking care of yourself. You need to stop doing so much for other people and take care of you."
I was stunned. Who was she to tell me how to live my life? I wasn't here for this.
But typical me, I smiled, and tried to bear it with grace. (read: I let her walk all over me.) And I also started to wonder if perhaps she was right.
I left, frustrated and confused and hurt once more. I still wasn't enough.
Fast forward a few more months. My room, long past my bed time. Me, in the thick of the struggle - staring at my foreign reflection - grappling with the anxiety - and wondering where *I* had gone, and how I'd wound up in this terrible place.
It was a lonely place, ugly and dark, marked by anxiety and secrets.
It certainly didn't happen overnight. Oh no, it had to have happened gradually - over time. And over time, it escalated. Now it was so bad - I couldn't leave my house without going through a rigorous process in front of the mirror. I had dug myself into a hole, and I had no idea how - or if - I could get myself out.
At the time, my life had changed form a bit, and now there was a newer, kinder, and very thoughtful voice speaking and asking hard questions - "What's going on here?" he asked - But I couldn't handle it. I was too raw. I was still in the thick of it. I was still on the battlegrounds, but totally unaware that I needed to pick up a sword and start fighting. So the words - though they were spoken with love and care - pierced me, and wounded my pride. I felt embarrassed and undesirable. I'd been trying so hard to be put together, to be right, to be worthy - but in reality I was all wrong. I was building a balloon house on a paper foundation. All it took were the winds of care and the needle of help to knock down my unstableness and deflate my false sense of security.
I wish I had seen was what was happening at the time. But I didn't. It took me a long time after that to realize I was wrong - my choices, my thought process, my heart. All of it. Totally wrong.
And recently, I realized why.
I believed the lies.
You see - it is all about what you believe. And I mean really believe - with your whole heart. Those beliefs motivate and instruct your daily choices and habits. And mine were getting really bad.
This world is going to tell you all kinds of things - things that, if you're not rooted and grounded in truth, you will be all too receptive to. You will hear them and not even realize you should be fighting them off - let alone what strategies to use to do that. You will be rendered helpless by the brutal attacks on your appearance, your worth - your identity. Believing the lies will paralyze you.
And I believed. I believed it all so blindly that my body, heart, and soul were ALL damaged in the believing.
And here I am, years later, standing in the ruins, picking up the pieces, trying to find the remains of the girl I used to be. I find little pieces here and there - and there are probably more - but right now they are so hard to see. Because they are buried. Buried under years of secrets and lies and guilt and shame and plucking and powdering and lining and shaping and covering and covering and covering and covering...
Will I ever find her? Will I ever get her back? Oh, those are questions I ask myself everyday.
And if I do, will she be strong enough to change her ways, and wise enough to start listening to the truth, not the lies? Will she go back to the ancient past and latch her heart to the ancient mast and hold on for dear life to the Hope that so desperately wants to take a hold of her and never let her go?
I can hear Him whispering.... Go back.... Go back.... You'll find your Way. You'll find Me - The Way. Just go back....