Un*#@% Yourself

Me back in the days before I had self-awareness

Un*#@% yourself. Be who you were before all that stuff happened that dimmed your *#@%ing shine.

If you’re lucky, there comes a time in your life when you wake up. I mean really wake up. And it’s the kind of wake up that comes at the end of a nightmare where you are falling into an endless abyss or your children are drowning before your eyes while you stand powerlessly nearby or you are being crushed under a collapsing building and your lungs begin to burn with suffocation. It’s the kind of wake up that leaves you shaking and stunned and mind blown and sick to your stomach. It might happen from one singular event (“I’m sorry, but you have cancer”) or, as in my case, it might happen over time as the weight of a lifetime filled with little injuries finally snaps something inside of you. Some people never wake up. But, if you’re lucky, it happens, and you can start living consciously.

I went back to therapy yesterday for the first time in nearly a year. I went with the idea that, at forty-eight, it is finally time to get over my obnoxious lack of self-esteem. So, I told her that I need to get my head on straight about myself. I do not see myself as others see me. I self-sabotage my own potential for success. My stinking thinking has got to go. I need tools, I told her. To gain some insight into where we should start, she conducted some basic reconnaissance work.

Her:  What if you won an award? What would that feel like for you? What would you think?

Me:  *head tilt with impressive pensive expression as I tried to imagine facing success*

Her:  I’m guessing you would feel it was undeserved? 

Me:  Ummm….yeah. But that is not the worst of it. I would assume there had been a mistake.

Her: *consciously trying to keep a neutral countenance* 

Me:  I would be thinking that they must have run out of other people to give the award to.

Her: *noticeable eyebrow raise* 

Me:  I would assume I was their last choice.

Her:  Wow. Okay. We have some work to do. 

Being me, my next thought was that she was making a mental note to determine if my insurance would cover enough therapy sessions to help me out because that, my friends, is how deep my internal negativity goes. I am appallingly cynical. It would make for great sitcom dialogue.

After a little more chatting, we came up with some strategies. I need to write a letter saying goodbye to the person I am now and all the baggage she carries that is unhealthy. I need to define who I think I really am underneath all the old junk and what the new me looks like inside. I need to make a list of things the old me would not have attempted because of fear and negativity and then start doing those things to reinforce positive behaviors. I need to decide on a mantra I can use to replace the old thoughts when they creep in and start messing with me. I need to surround myself with positivity and people who support my goal. And I need to be willing to talk about this journey without judging it or myself, which is why I am writing here today.

All this makes my head hurt. A lot. But, it turns out that the copious amounts of wine I have been imbibing and augmenting with generous servings of Ben & Jerry’s are not helping me feel better either. Trust me. I have tried that therapy for a year. It’s possible that only because that therapy didn’t work I had to go to real therapy. (Well….that and an increasingly obvious waistband issue.) I now have no choice but to do the hard work. My desire to change has finally exceeded the ease of staying stuck in the miserable same. It’s a weird place to be.

Putting yourself out there is rough. It’s hard under the best circumstances, but it’s harder still when what you’re putting out there is a shameful something you’ve spent your lifetime ignoring. If it weren’t for the waking up, though, I wouldn’t be sure it was worth it. If it weren’t for the annoying headache brought on by mental overload, I wouldn’t know for sure I am more awake today than I was yesterday. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? Well…I’ve done that. Now it’s time to get to work. I am cautiously optimistic that I will like the new me. I think she’s a good kid with crazy potential.


  1. In Charles Dickens’s tale “A Christmas Carol”, Ebeneezer Scrooge awakens Christmas morning after spending the night with the spirits. He’s elated that he has not, in fact, died. He’s overjoyed that he has an opportunity to redefine his life. “I’m happy as a schoolboy!” he beams, while racing about his apartment, the housekeeper in tow. “I’m as giddy as a drunken man!” he laughs while mussing his hair in the mirror.
    Quite unaccustomed to this kind of behavior and fearing her employer has gone mad, the housekeeper asks
    “Are you quite yourself, sir?”
    “I don’t know,” comes the giggling reply, followed by one of the most valuable lines in the story,
    “I certainly hope not!”

    All of the cares and burdens of your past are within your own mind. The cosmos does not see or care about such things. Herein, you are perfect and beautiful.

    Seek peace, Butterfly.


    1. Thanks, Paz. I know the Universe knows I am fine and accepts me at every point along my journey. I know that where I am now is where I need to be and when I am ready I will evolve as only I can. Honestly, I’ve never cared what other people thought of me, which is why the compliments of others never stuck. I believed I only cared what I thought. And then one day it was obvious that I thought not much of myself. There’s nowhere to go but toward greater peace, and I have always loved a road trip. I am grateful to be, in this moment, aware and alive. There is no greater gift than the gift of presence.

      1. You is kind.
        You is smart. (and beautiful)
        You is important.
        (“The Help”)

        You’ve got your back Justine. Go for it!! 😘👍🏼💃💃💃

  2. I wish you all the best on your journey. Your therapist assigned some really tough “homework!” I’m in the same boat and so I think I understand the hard work you have in front of you. You’re right, putting yourself out there is rough, but I so admire you for your honesty and for allowing yourself to be transparent to others who might just learn something about themselves along the way.

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