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I’ve been a voice for the voiceless for as long as I can remember.
I’ve advocated for abused women and children, spoken out about realities of mental illness, and I’ve been the neighborhood watch guard to the unsupervised children and unprotected animals.
The one who calls out the bullies. The one who puts words to feelings that others can’t express, hoping to use my experiences and empathy to educate and comfort.
My fire has burnt out, and I’ve been lying drained, lost, and lifeless since.
My mission now is to set down my megaphone and my swords, to stop looking outside of myself for comfort and safety. While beneficial to some, and at times myself, this has led me to burn out and forget about myself.
My secret silence has been screaming at me from the inside and I’ve been looking in all the wrong places to place and replace the energy.
At some point, we need to let ourselves into a space where we can face ourselves—you know, those inner demons that fuel our fire, that sit on our shoulders while we try to distract ourselves, the ones that knock us down and take the life out of us, the ones that make us wonder how we got here and who the hell we even are anymore.
It’s time to let myself learn how to be my own warrior.
But first, I need to make some changes.
The following are three simple—not to be mistaken with easy—guides that are redirecting my energy inward and allowing me to refill the cup I used to pour from:
1. Disconnecting from social media.
The habit of swiping to tap Facebook is still there, followed by a pause…like, now what? I am so bored!
This free space, though, separates me from the mindless and the comparison, the judgement, and the vulnerability that I’m not fully equipped to stand in anymore, and from the inevitable, unsolicited information overload.
However, I must admit that I do miss seeing the occasional, adorable animal rescues and witty comments my friends make.
Sometimes, I open Pinterest to scratch that urge to open some sort of app and browse things that are designed to serve my interests—yoga, mantras, coping skills, exercises, and affirmations.
Sometimes, I find the same in nearby books and old TV shows. And, sometimes, I just look around and be where I am, noticing what needs my attention out here in the real world.
After only a week of doing so, I’ve noticed a shift inside of me that makes life feel and look more manageable than before. And with the “extra” time, I’ve gotten up and struck those poses. I’ve picked up my Hula-Hoop and reconnected with my sacred circle. I’ve put those things away that I’ve been side-eyeing.
I’ve been more mindful of the thoughts I share publicly.
And I’ve been writing them in a journal, which has led me to the deeper meanings and feelings behind the surface thought. A crack turns into a pour and no one is there to judge me.
Having not journaled in a really long time, this has been hard to get back into and hard to get used to. But I also journal things I’ve done that day that I’m proud of, I clap for myself, and every once in a while, I throw in a doodle—an image that comes from me.
It’s the basket that brought all of this together. I have a counselor that comes to my home and stays as long as I need him to. He’s spent as long as four hours in one day working with me and my family.
Without therapy, I would still be repeating little patterns with little thought that contribute to the big bang of shame I’ve been carrying around and not fully understanding.
I’ve seen many therapists and each one has taught me something valuable. But this one is able to meet me where I am. Not only does he come to me—because I have agoraphobia—he listens with compassion, asks if I would like to face a fear with him, speaks in a soft tone, continues to be respectful if I oppose, and is willing to answer my questions and educate me based on my personal experiences rather than that of the general population.
That makes a major difference in how comfortable I am with accepting his guidance. He’s reminded me of the importance of facing what’s inside of me and gives me the safe space to talk about it while guiding me inward—armed with the tools to cope with doing so.
I’m finding myself with a mindfulness I don’t think I’ve had for while: the awareness of what I say and show others, how I spend my time, how that energy creates my reality and affects those around me, and how redirecting that energy connects me to myself—the person I need—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Becoming my own warrior is cleansing the energy I put out, filtering without distortion, and giving my purpose and sense of self a new layer of solid ground to stand on.
May we all find the awareness and courage to look into our shadows, to go within and work through our muck.
And may we discover an inner power that fills our cups with a healthy heaping of self-love and rescuing ourselves!