Over the last few days, I began sharing with people the story of my miscarriage. Someone told me that I was going to be okay because I was strong. They said that it must have been hard to go through the miscarriage, but even harder to talk about it and share my story. I was surprised by their perception of me. What was being said was kind, in the most innocent of ways. And I appreciated their words. But their opinion of how I was handling the circumstances and the reality of how I felt were so far removed from one another.
I didn’t feel strong. I felt alone, vulnerable, like an open wound that stung when you got something in it or bumped it against the counter. It was so much more than hard. Not once had I felt strong. Being strong would mean that sharing my story didn’t upset me and that I had self-control over my emotions. It seemed lately that everything around me triggered uncontrollable tears. My emotions were a roller coaster and I was just along for the ride. I questioned every decision I made, with every bit of my being. I had been left alone for many days and sleepless nights with my own questions about self-worth and purpose. I was not strong.
One night a very close friend and I chatted about our life circumstances. I shared with her what people were saying and my feelings about being regarded as strong. Very astutely, my friend said, “You’re not strong”. “You’re fiercely brave. You’re facing your pain straight on and I think that’s what people mean when they tell you how strong you are.” We talked for hours, over several bottles of wine about this.
Fierce bravery is the understanding that some would not agree with my way of handling the situation that I had been thrown into. It is the acceptance of being alone with my thoughts and the reality that life isn’t about how others perceive me. It really isn’t much about how I perceive myself either. It is about relationships. Primarily, the relationship I am rebuilding with my former self, the one that I had let suffer and had put on the back burner while I focused on employer relationships, client relationships, relationships with friends that felt one-sided, relationships with a social media world that often left me unhappy and insecure as I measured my life against the lives of people who I barely even knew.
And so today, I deleted all of my social media apps from my phone. I didn’t deactivate my accounts because I wasn’t ready to completely abandon those relationships. But I was ready for a social media detox. I had become so out of touch with myself and knew that relationship would be better taken care of right now without social media. I needed a break from the constant access. I needed a break from the comparisons and pings of jealousy that I felt as I perused my news feed and saw pregnancy announcements, celebrations of life and a world that seemed all too perfect. Logically, I knew that those people’s lives were not perfect, that only we know the demons we’re facing on the inside. But I needed to step away from it all.
Your story might be similar or maybe it’s completely different. My story is messy and imperfect and challenging, yet still beautiful. Whatever your journey looks like, it’s my hope that through my writing you are able to see into my life, but also catch a glimpse of your own.