By Kate Kerry Spencer
Recently, as part of a work assignment, I took a personality test. I’d put the assignment off as long as I could, expecting that the test would be a series of scenarios with “what would you do” options.
Instead, it simply asked which words other people might use to describe me at work, followed by which words I would use to describe myself at work. Since I’m essentially the same person at work as I am in my personal life, (minus the drooling dogs and crusty hiking boots), I dove right in.
When I got the analysis of my answers back, I was surprised that I pretty much agreed with everything the report said about me. The descriptor that struck me the most, (and also made me laugh out loud), was that when faced with challenges, I would be “brazenly persistent.”
Yep, brazenly persistent.
There’s a hard-won truth in that descriptor: what doesn’t kill you in life actually can make you stronger. It can also break you into pieces. And sometimes, it will absolutely do both.
Coming through a trauma with a changed but intact heart, mind, body and soul isn’t easy. It isn’t won and done. It’s a process that often has false starts, unrealistic expectations, of both ourselves and others, crippling fears, flattened hopes and exhausted bodies. And sometimes, all of that happens on a good day.
On the bad days it may feel like all you can do is crawl under the covers and wait it out. It’s ok to do that some days; other day’s it is imperative to do that. But the day will come when, ready or not, you will take your first steps into the light. That light may seem blinding, but put on your soul’s sunglasses, sit by the window and let the light warm you. Trust that one day, you will walk out into that light and find your path in a new way.
You deserve the best life you can create, even when you are creating that life from the ashes of your old one. One day, with enough sun, rain and soil, a new life will sprout like a spring shoot. Love it, tend it, protect and defend it. Brazenly persist in your own reclamation.
This morning, go to the nearest window and look for the light. Remember that even if the sky is dark, brooding or stormy, the sun always rises, the light always returns. Put your hand on your heart and breathe in slowly and naturally, in and out, in and out. With every breath silently say to yourself,
“I love you, I always will.”
Whether you actually feel loving to yourself in that moment, agree to speak lovingly to yourself each day. You don’t need to believe in that love for it to be true. You only need to practice giving that love to yourself in a consistent, reliable way to begin to trust its truth.
Tonight, find a quiet place to sit or lie down. Put your hand on your heart. With each inhale, silently say to yourself,
“I forgive everyone, everything.”
With each exhale, silently say to yourself,
“I am free.”
Be brazenly persistent in the pursuit of your best, blessed life.
Kate Kerry Spencer is a Pacific Northwest writer, editor, and publisher. Learn more about her upcoming memoir, Smoke: A Story of Love, Lies and Cigarettes.
Smoke is the story of fatal consolations--tobacco, denial and deceit--and the second chances that can come to us in the most unlikely places. For this mother and daughter it was a rehab center where the two women wrestled with cigarettes, scrambled brains and each other--and in the process, found the long way back to love.