Breaking Radio Silence – From You’re Not Too Bad to You Are Good Enough

In May 2014, I turned forty and like a lot of women I began to think about where I was at in and where I’d been. And at that time a thought came to me:

You’re not so bad.

That thought came from the surface of my life at that time: a decent-paying job I hadn’t learned how to hate yet, a nice little apartment, a car I think was paid off (or close to being paid off), great pets, time to piddle around with my writing, and books to read. The reason that simple statement, ‘you’re not so bad’ resonated with me so well back then was for so many years I felt like a terrible person. I felt like that no matter how much good I did, any time I made a mistake that single mistake no matter how unintentional it was wiped out all that good. That feeling came from dealing with people treating me like shit or flat-out ignoring me in my twenties when I was busting my ass trying to care of everyone else and have a tiny bit of time for myself. By the end of my twenties, I internalized so much awful shit it was amazing I was able to establish some semblance of life for myself in my thirties so that by forty I didn’t look so bad.

In the fall of 2016, I sat down and started the process of asking questions of myself to try and figure out why I thought and felt the way I did in order to make better decisions. As I’ve said before, healing was not on my mind back then because I didn’t think that was possible. But now I’ve begun to see the healing process truly began for me in May 2014 when I told myself for the first time I wasn’t such a bad person. Since then I’ve told myself I’m as flawed and fucked up as anyone else, but deep down, I know I’m not a bad person.

Why would someone feel like they’re a bad person, like they’re broken or damaged beyond repair? My answer is that I internalized all the wrong things about myself and not enough of the good things as those good things seemed few and far between. I’d been told in the past I came off like a self-sacrificing attention-seeking martyr though I think that was just a bullshit-excuse people used to project their shit onto me instead of dealing with it on their own. But those awful words and lies were razor-sharp talons that were sunk into the depths of my mind, my heart, and my soul and where the wounds and breaks came from.

In the last seven years I’ve been removing those talons one by one, a process that is very slow and painful at times. Once a talon is removed I burn it to ash and sweep that ash away, then I clean and stitch the wound closed and put a bandage over it. But I still pull splinters out and I’ll be doing that for the rest of my life.

For so long, I’ve always felt like a failure, like I didn’t have it in me to fully live my life. But I’m not a failure for internalizing shit in order to survive the hell I’ve been through in the past. The human mind internalizes things it hears enough and the experiences that accompany those shitty thoughts. But like I said yesterday, you can change that narrative, you can change the what your mind has internalized. It’s not an easy process but one that is definitely worth going through.

Saying ‘you are good enough’ is not false-positivity either. It’s not saying everything will be hunky-dory and fixed with a single snap. Anyone who buys into that bullshit is an idiot and an asshole for pushing it onto others. Telling yourself ‘you are good enough’ is just the beginning because if you just cover up the hard stuff with a façade made of lies in an attempt to appease someone, trust me that façade will come down very hard and in a lot of pieces. Since 2018, I’ve been picking up those pieces and working to build something better and stronger.

As the great singer Lizzo sings so beautifully, ‘truth hurts’, I also know the truth can set you free. Accepting the truth and refusing to back down from it means you can remove the talons that need to be removed from your mind, your heart, and your soul. And yes, that won’t be popular but life isn’t a popularity contest. You can’t, and you sure as hell don’t need to live your life to suit someone else’s narrative of you when that narrative isn’t good for you.

Looking back at May 2014, I didn’t realize how much a single thought could change me but I’m glad it came to me. And I’m glad it’s with me now and for the rest of my life as this: you are good enough.

Behind the Story – Changing the Narrative to Full-Throttle

For quite some time now, I’ve been trying to fully understand why I have never gone full-throttle on my writing. I’ve done a lot of question-and-answer sessions with myself over this and found a lot of answers as to why I think and feel the way I do. But even after finding those answers, every time I stepped up to the throttle to write, I always backed down. I backed down whenever some small problem came up, or when my anxiety kicked up inside my head and made me go into crisis-mode. I always felt like whenever a problem came up, no matter how big or small, or when my anxiety kicked in and gave me something to think about, I had to divert all my energy to deal with that crisis, real or imagined.

What this constant crisis-mode way of thinking did to me was internalize a message that I would never be good enough to pursue anything. That no matter what I did or didn’t do, someone wasn’t going to like it and they were going to let me know that. And in the past, there were people who created shit-storms for me to deal with because they thought I was going to cut and run and leave them to handle the enormous responsibilities I had taken on in my twenties and thirties. That in turn led me to construct a façade of a life in my late thirties-early forties of a quaint little life I thought would keep people off my ass. But facades that are built on fear and lies will crumble as mine did. In the years since that crumbling down, I’ve been working on picking up the pieces and trying to move on.

A short while back I read a piece about how people construct narratives in their minds, how they tell stories about thoughts and feelings and events in order to cope and try and deal with them. They create a narrative that might not be the best one, one that’s based on fear and trying not to draw any negative attention. But in that same piece it also said that people could change their narrative for the better. That phrase, ‘change the narrative’, has been in my head ever since as I realize that’s I’ve been trying to do without having a way to describe it until now. That phrase was followed by this one, “I am good enough.”

I say I’m good enough because that’s my way of saying I’m just as flawed and fucked up as anyone else but I know I’m a good person. I know I have tried to live my life without hatred, cruelty, or malice towards others. But for many years, I felt like I was the bad guy for wanting to pursue my writing and other goals for myself. And that was because there were people who pushed shame and guilt onto me whenever I stood up to their hateful, insensitive bullshit and fought back against their attempts to gaslight me into changing my story to suit their selfish needs. It’s been a very long time since I’ve dealt with that kind of shit and frankly, I don’t miss it at all. The possibility always exists but I have a new response to it, a response that is as rude and crude as I can make it: “Fuck all the way off.”

Fuck all the way off means I’m not going to deal with any shame or guilt that’s not necessary, nor will I allow anyone who tries to gaslight into changing my narrative to serve their selfish entitled bullshit life. And I honestly don’t give a fucking shit as to why people are selfish and entitled and justify hatred and cruelty towards others. Insensitivity is not an excuse either and that’s all I will say at this point about people who might be getting their back up reading this, along with keep reading. 😊  

For anyone who has ever held themselves back, you can change your narrative and move forward. You don’t have to go into full-on crisis-mode every time something happens or your anxiety kicks in and tries to divert your focus. And if someone gets wind of that and tries to pull some shit to keep you diverted, tell them to fuck all the way off.

The only responsibility I have right now first and foremost is to myself. I have to put in forty to sixty hours a week on the road to generate income. But the rest of my time is mine to do with as I see fit. And it’s not to be spent in constant crisis-mode or worrying about someone crawling out of the sewer to spew their shit at me. I’m changing that narrative because I know I’m good enough to make it possible.

I recently updated my homepage here on my website to showcase everything I’m putting up here. It’s a work-in-progress like life itself and where I’ll showcase my writing and other creative projects. Yes, the goal is to generate income off them and if you’ve got anything that can help me and want to share it with me, please let  me know and thank you.  

Today is where I say this:

Change your narrative because you’re good enough to succeed at it.

And if someone reading this doesn’t like that, they can fuck all the way off.

Now I will add here there is a lot more to this than I’m saying but that’s what you’ll read about in the book, ‘Behind the Story’ because my relationship with writing is complicated.

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