Saturday, December 22, 2012

braced. and then i braced myself.

years ago, i went into the doctor's office to get my yearly exam. my doctor left the room.
came back in with x-rays to show me.
my spine was crooked. and i had scoliosis.

at the time, it really didn't faze me. i was very young, and insecurity hadn't rocked my ship quite yet.

over time, my spine kept on getting more and more crooked. finally, my doctor made the decision to brace me. stick me in this plastic thing with straps that made it hard to breathe. always feeling like i was in a straight jacket. for two years.

all the insecurity that was already begin to emerge with junior high on the way was only getting stirred up by having to wear the brace. always feeling different because i was restrained in this stupid way that none of my peers were.

something as simple as having a crooked spine made me feel like a failure. like i was disabled. i hated looking at myself in the mirror, then, because it was too hard to see this curve-less girl. i hated how i looked every day. my bones ached all the time and there wasn't anything i could really do to stop any of it.

during that time i fought with my parents every day about wearing it. i was sick of feeling the way i always did when i would put it on. the instant shame i felt every time. it still hurts to think about it.

when i was done with it all, when i no longer had to wear it and my spine was somewhat corrected, i thought this insecurity struggle was over. done with. no more pain. life was gonna be so much better from here on out.

but as much as i thought that the chains i had were gonna break, they didn't. in fact, the weight of them only increased as time went on.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

in april, it will be one year without the brace.

sometimes i somehow believe that there was no real pain from that experience. but then, like now, i see there still is when it hurts to think about or write about. there were after effects. as much as i've tried to deny it, there were.

today, i struggle with being open with my dance. i still feel restraint, in a way. and sometimes i wonder if that comes from the years of being braced.

then singing. i want, so bad, to be able to not worry about what others would think of me. i want to be able to just do it, but sometimes the fear overcomes me. and then i never end up doing whatever it that i want to do. to be brave and just do. and then i'm left just standing, wishing i could. but feeling like i couldn't. so i didn't.

i think it's a physical thing. after spending all those years obsessing over what i looked like, it changed me. it's crippled me. now i'm trying to learn to live without a mirror in front of my eyes every minute of every day.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

trying to let go of that has been the hardest. surrendering to God and just saying "i trust that what you have made is perfect" is the hardest. because i always just told myself every morning when i would wake up, "you are ugly and you have no purpose". i was hopeless back then.

i've been blogging for nearly a year, and i've never brought up my years of being braced. i pushed it to the back of my mind because i knew it was going to cause too much pain to write on it. to have to recount why it hurt so bad was going to bring back too many memories of nights spent not sleeping, because i couldn't breathe. i could never breathe because the thing was no only to tight, but my heart was shriveling up inside of me. i was clinging to life back then.

now, today, the past is over and i can look back over all these things and try to understand all the feelings i ever had.  
because once the hurricane is over, only then can you see the damage it caused and try to figure out how to begin to recover. to begin to rebuild.

that is me. now.

this is the part where i get set free.

because at first, we have to get trapped into a cage. usually, we get trapped into believing it's going to be a good thing, to enter that cage. but once we are trapped, it feels impossible to ever get out. it's not, and it never is, but it always feels like it is when you are in the midst of it.

then there's the time of believing you can figure out the lock. and let yourself out. and once you do, it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. it's scary, at first, to try and fly again after being trapped for so long. but your wings have a purpose. and they know how to work the way they were made to.

it's just about trusting them, after giving up on them long ago.

and when i was braced, i braced myself too. and now i am learning not to do that anymore, and just let it all go, holding nothing back. ever again.

when you do something you never thought you could, 
only then can you find out you always could.

choosing joy.

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