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I never really thought I had issues to work on. I’m independent and self-sufficient. I have to be and that’s all there is too it…or is it? It started when I was 14, maybe earlier. The heaviness, the responsibility, the feeling that I had to keep it contained within myself so it wouldn’t hurt anyone else. Ever since college I’ve been learning a lot about myself I never really thought about.

Freshman year, I discovered I really didn’t like myself. This actually came as a shock if you can believe it. No one told me. I figured it out on my own. Well, no one told me unless you could God who has been dropping bread crumbs for me to follow since I can remember. I decided I didn’t like myself so I wanted to change that. One of my biggest problems was how closed off I was. I was a castle with tall walls, an island lost in a vast ocean.

I wouldn’t let anyone in because I didn’t like myself and I was terrified they wouldn’t either. So I put up a front and pretended to be who I thought they’d like. I don’t know where I got those ideas or expectations. Freshman year I met the man who would change everything, the man I would marry, the man who would see the real me and love me for who I was. I was afraid of rejection but I was more afraid of being alone forever. So I plunged head first into the craziest thing I’d done yet. I opened the door to my quaking, damaged heart just a crack and let him peak inside. Over the years I’ve learned to open the door and let him in, let him see more of me, especially the parts I want to hide. All my insecurity, vulnerability, my fears, the hopes I think sound crazy, the things I desperately hope for.

I’ve even begun letting other people in. I’m letting my parents back in. The whole dynamic of our relationship changed when I got married but I like it. We’re more like equals…most of the time. I’ve found a new best friend to confide in. I kept all the old ones of course but a crucial part of the position is proximity.

It feels weird unloading on people and sometimes it’s really hard because I still wonder how they will react. Will they think less of me? Will they worry and blame themselves? I know what pain feels like and I would never want to inflict it on someone else. However, I am also learning that I need to trust people more. They are not all the fragile china dolls I think they are. I think other people must be as fragile as I feel so sharing with them could lead to more sorrow but I’m wrong.

I’m not used to opening up and showing people my vulnerable side. I’m friendly and caring, but believe me, I can hide behind that smile quicker than I realize I’m doing it. That’s why I’ve started telling people my secrets. So they can call me on it. I’m still very good at hiding but I’m learning to come out more often. It feels good to be able to unload some of my stress to another person, to know I don’t have to carry it all by myself. And sometimes people surprise me and I find I’m not so alone, that there is another person who understands what I’m going through.

God has been good to me. He puts the right people in my life just when I need them most. I’m still in process and that drives me crazy but I’ll get over it. One of my frequent mantras is: “I’m not okay, but I will be.”