Article by: El Brown, 2012 Army Spouse of the Year
Photo Credit: Takeisha Jefferson of JT Cheri Photography
My adult life seemed pretty charmed, and If someone from the outside looked at my life:
I had the education
I had the handsome husband from the right school
I had the amazingly adorable kid.
I had a house, a car… I even had a dog
I had friends
and I had a fast growing start up company
I was a very “Lucky” Woman… I had the picture perfect life.
After awhile I even started to believe the hype I had created. That’s really easy to do when everything seems so perfect … to others. You see, I have always known my life wasn’t perfect. In fact, it was far from it. But when enough people tell you that you’re so lucky and blessed, sometimes it’s easiest to just smile and play the role. That’s the route I chose and it almost killed me. It killed my essence and it killed my spirit.
I had mastered presenting the right image to the world; I was the queen of the Facebook highlight reel. You know the pictures and posts of all the spectacular moment in your life? That make you look like a complete and total rock star? But the thing about an image is it is not made of the solid stuff you need to hold you up during difficult times.
In 2013, the tides of my life began to shift and I went through some personal traumas that I just didn’t see coming. I am not faint of heart by any means and I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, but in this case I was feeling a pain I had felt before. But this time, my reaction was completely different. I remember looking at myself like I was having an out of body experience and thinking, “Who is this woman and why won’t she stop crying? Nothing is that bad. She has been through far worse and made it out. She has to know that this too shall pass.” I waited for her to dust herself off and figure out a plan to take her next step. A month passed but that next step never came. I remember as clear as yesterday catching a glimpse of myself in our dining room mirror. I looked old, tired, helpless – all things that I wasn’t. In that moment I realized that over the years I had relinquished so much of my personal power by being unauthentic with myself, that I didn’t have enough real stuff in me to pull me out of a low moment.
I had spent so long faking it I didn’t have the solid stuff I needed to pull myself out of a rut. I had to start getting real if I wanted to get out.