I used to think, particularly after my mother’s bout with cancer, that something tragic needed to happen in my life in order for me to heal. I would be feeling a kaleidoscope of different things: sadness and anger and guilt, shame and disappointment and grief, and I would long for some sort of balm to heal my raw and aching wounds. But I would feel — even deeper than all of these emotions — that I couldn’t possibly heal if I had no legitimate reason to be hurting.
I’d brush these thoughts away and tell myself what I’ve heard from people my entire life — that I was simply being dramatic.
Since then, mostly because of my wise pal Sarah, I’ve begun to listen to myself when I feel these things. When the ache of grief settles amongst my soul like a heavy blanket, when shame contorts my vision, when tears stream down my cheeks for reasons I can’t explain, I begin to listen. I hold these things quietly at first, fitting them in the midst of my open palm, and then I ask myself questions: why am I sad? why am I ashamed? why am I crying?
Sarah tells me not to shame myself for feeling. It’s taken me a long time to start listening to her.
I believe that it takes courage to admit that you are hurting, and that even though that healing hurts, even though it makes you feel loose and flimsy and like the whole world can peer in and see your churning soul, I believe that it takes courage to heal.