Dear Diary: It Could Be Worse
By: Brianna Marie Photography: Spirited Pursuit
I could smell her Izzy Miyake perfume as her warm arms embraced me. In a battle to stop my tears, she whispered, "One day at a time." My father had just died, my mother was still figuring out how to cope, my sister was five, my brother wasn't even a year old, and I was quickly learning life was not a fairy-tale. My grandmother looked into my big, brown eyes continuing to watch teardrops run rapidly down my cheeks. She smiled. Her smile has always had a way of assuring me life will be okay.
With nearly 18 years of practice, I’d become quite skilled at taking my feelings and filing them under get-over-it. I had all the phrases on repeat: it’s not that serious, life goes on, and it could be worse — the most dismissive and triggering one. Often times, I felt like I would be burdening people if I reached out to tell them what I was battling. The reality was I couldn’t even create an open space for myself, so I couldn’t fathom other people wanting to listen. In truth, I didn’t give people a chance to be there for me. It seemed easier and far more convenient to hide, to downplay my feelings, put on a mask, and try to navigate life on the tightrope I’d grown so accustomed to. But I quickly learned I wasn’t equipped for the circus of emotions when I was no longer able to juggle. I couldn’t hold it all anymore. I had to set it down.
It turns out I was the camel people were talking about, but it wasn’t one straw that broke me — there were several. It felt like life hit me all at once — pain from my childhood that I didn’t know existed, wounds from ex lovers I swore I was over, feelings of inadequacy from not being where I thought I would be in life. My true rock bottom; however, was having to admit I was suicidal. It was strange how feeling absolutely nothing could push me to feel something so heavy. I decided it was time to hold my heart with tender hands instead of judgmental ones. It was time to learn who I really was by digging up every part of myself I tried to bury. It was time to stop telling myself, “it could be worse”. Because, sure, there will always be someone out there who is carrying a load far larger than mine. But that doesn’t make my pain any less valid or real. It doesn’t give us permission to dismiss how other people feel. I had to make a decision to start honoring my emotions & hold space for them even when they are uncomfortable. I’m learning how to let people in, to give people the opportunity to lift me up when all I want to do is shut down. I’ve realized that inviting your skeletons out of the closet isn’t always easy. Healing isn’t always easy. Showing up for yourself isn’t always easy. But it turns out living in truth is much more peaceful than living in shame. We owe ourselves honesty. Authenticity. Forgiveness. I deserve to heal. And so do you.
I was only eight-years-old when I met suppression. I was 26 when I decided to break up with her.
xo, Brianna Marie
To read more from Brianna Marie, Gardens of Love, her debut collection of poetry & prose, is available on Amazon.