I've been conditioned to lie. We all have - society dictates we must if we are to be deemed worthy and acceptable. As a female it started early for me. I was taught not to rock the boat, step on toes or be too much.
I've told little white lies so I wouldn't hurt another's feelings.
I've told lies of convenience when I didn't want to burden someone else with my pain.
I've lied to bosses, family, neighbors and most importantly... myself.
I've told lies to mask the truth of who I am because I've felt ashamed.
Ashamed that I wasn't enough.
Ashamed of my body.
Ashamed of appearing flawed.
Ashamed of my fear.
I've kept my truth hidden deep inside because I thought it would make me more approachable (more conditioning).
I wanted people to like me.
I wanted to fit in.
I wanted to be seen and loved for who I truly was.
My old mantras were as follows: "They don't see me." " I am invisible." "No one gets me."
How could I truly be seen when I was scared to reveal what had been hidden far too long?
I didn't know my true nature because I'd forgotten how it felt to walk in my own power.
I didn't know how to love myself because I wasn't sure what that even meant.
I couldn't listen for that "small, still voice within" because I couldn't remember how she sounded.
And the million dollar question: How could I possibly heal the world when I couldn't take the time to heal myself and didn't have a clue about how to start?
I am grateful the first steps of my healing journey were easy - I didn't know they were the first steps. A friend I admired handed me a flyer for a process painting workshop and I went. I stumbled onto this creative path of self-discovery 20 years ago. Those initial first steps, changed everything.
Because it's a slow unfolding and not a quick fix, process art can be sneaky. I thought I was just dabbling with color and imagery then gradually, other things started happening.
After a few years of painting for process, I began to remember the sound of my true voice - soft and strong.
Another (still unfolding) side effect - I don't care as much about what people think of me, because I like myself.
I am learning to stand in my truth and notice more when I am not.
I am figuring out how self-love feels so I can love others in a real and sturdy way.
I am healing. I am enough.
And the best part - the amazing and growing tribe of others dedicated to walking their own self-discovery path - that I get to hang out and create with. We keep each other honest. We play and laugh and cry. We are real and let it all hang out.
There is so much raw beauty to be felt and experienced as I walk (sometimes it feels like more of a leisurely stroll) down my own path, as I learning to love myself from the inside out.