I often feel like I have two versions of myself. There’s Version A, the version people seem to gravitate to. The version people often compliment, “You’re such a bright, cheery and positive person. You’re such a good listener. You’re so easy going.” I love when people tell me these things about Version A me! Now Version B… well, she is harder to show.
When I was a little girl and something sucky happened, my Mom used to say, “Rachel, you have permission to feel sad. To feel angry. It’s okay. It’s okay to scream and cry.” She would create a space for me ‘TO BE.’ To be my ugly, sad un-perfect self. Now as an adult, how do I give myself the same permission to ‘JUST BE?’ This is the question I’ve been asking myself for months. How do I sit with my feelings, whatever they might be? How do I accept Version B as a part of me? I don’t! I straight up avoid Version B; I go to happy hour, the gym, I obsess about work or other people’s problems. Somewhere I decided I’m not okay with Version B. Therefore, I decided somewhere that no one else is okay with Version B. Version B is scary, impractical, emotional, and raw. NO ONE WILL EVER ACCEPT HER. I decided no matter how shitty my life is at any given moment, Version A is all I will ever show. Even in my darkest moments. What has this taught me? That no matter how much I try and hide Version B, she’s not going anywhere! Hiding her only makes her stronger. She’s like weeds of sadness and a loneliness that have grown so thick, I feel like I can’t breathe. But guess what I’ve learned, the second I dared to bring Version B out of the shadows and into the light, everything got a lot easier. I learned Version B thrives on my secrets. When I bring Version B out of hiding she starts to crumble and healing happens.
We live in a time of Version A. Social media is all our Version A’s. When was the last time you posted a picture of yourself sobbing on the couch? Oh, you haven’t? Me neither. The number of people that have said to me, “You have such a perfect life.” No one has a perfect life!! No one. Every year each person is dealing with different heart aches, no matter how magical their Instagram feed looks. Know that. Know you’re not alone. I’ve slowly started to let Version B out and about. I’m taking her to drinks, on walks, and it feels awkward…But also okay. To my surprise other people (aka my friends and family), they accept her. They are weirdly okay with this raw imperfect version of me. Some more than others. I’m learning that too.
I’m learning that this version doesn’t need to be fixed, muted, or solved. She simply needs to be. She needs to heal.
No matter what you’re going through give yourself permission to be sad, angry, frustrated. Hell, give yourself permission to be happy! Emotions don’t need our judgment, they just need our permission to flow through us like water, to pass us by like the seasons. Find your tribe that will hold the space for you no matter what Version you’re currently in.
I believe when we bear witness, accept, and share our own truths, we become who we really are. Which isn’t my Version A or B it’s just simply me.
Lots of love,
Rachel (And Waffle)