“Maybe you’re just a crier.”
A statement my then counselor/therapist said to me...to which I immediately shut down the rest of the session thinking FUCK. THAT.
Labels are a powerful thing. Both the ones that others put on us and the ones we put on ourselves.
I remember thinking NO! No! I’m NOT just a “CRIER”. I’ve got shit going on that I haven’t processed through! This is NOT WHO I AM!! This isn’t ME! The REAL me is happy and bubbly and outgoing. Not someone who hides and cries at the drop of a hat. This ISN’T ME!’
Looking back, I’m so grateful to have recognized the difference. I give props to that broken self for not giving into the label given to me by a professional. I didn’t know exactly how to label myself, but I knew enough to know that I was not “just a crier.”
I had a lot going on during this season of life. My husband and I were trying to conceive our first child, which took help from fertility specialists and the never ending monthly cycle of stress of hope and despair was taking its toll. My career was shifting as the company was going through structure and software changes.
Through all of this I was doing all that I could to hide myself and my emotions. In my personal life I believed that I didn’t have valid reasons to be so emotional because other people were going through or have gone through so much worse. In my work life, I believed that being emotional and allowing it to show meant that I was weak and unprofessional. Plus - I didn’t want to be “Sad Shannon”. I wanted to be “Happy, Excited, Energetic Shannon.” So I pushed it all away and tried to pretend.
Spoiler Alert: It totally DID NOT WORK!
You see, TRUE Shannon, REAL Shannon, AUTHENTIC Shannon is an open book. Hiding much of anything feels so unnatural to me. I was hiding from myself and doing my best to avoid the crap that I didn’t want to feel and focus on what I wanted to feel. Ever heard of Toxic Positivity?
Loving yourself and creating your own, authentic labels starts with allowing yourself to feel how you really feel. Process through it, make sense of it, and embrace the understanding that feelings are not right and they are not wrong, they simply ARE...and they are VALID.
As I’ve worked on loving myself through books, therapy, journaling, meditation (you name it, I’ve probably tried it), I’ve created my own labels and beliefs. Ones that are true to ME and who I really am.
I am transparent.
Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.
Vulnerability and Transparency create CONNECTION.
I am grateful that I allow myself to experience a wide array of emotions. (vs. I am emotional because that seems to have a negative connotation).
I process through my emotions even when it’s hard because I love myself.
I am strong. I am courageous. I am connected.
Crying may be a part of me, but it is NOT WHO I AM.
Labels are a powerful thing. Both the ones that others put on us and the ones we put on ourselves. WHO ARE YOU? Only YOU get to decide!