I thought Whitney was my friend. After all, I invited her to my first “real” slumber party for my 8th birthday. We stayed up till 2 a.m. watching Mulan and rotting our teeth out on sweets.
I’ll remember that day in my second grade class forever. The day Whitney disclosed my secret to the class—telling everyone how I still loved Barney and slept with his stuffed animal.
That sinking feeling of betrayal is still palpable, as I was bullied and teased by my classmates. That year I switched schools, hoping a fresh start would solve my “needing to belong.”
Oh boy, was I wrong.
This narrative grew stronger as I continued to be outcasted throughout my teen years. I yearned to “fit in”, yet felt like a total misfit.
This traumatic narrative wrote its story in my book as I perpetuated the cycle.
“I am weird.”
“I’ll never fit in.”
“I don’t belong.”
These beliefs infiltrated my subconscious, leading to harmful behaviors that further divided me from my peers, pulling away entirely.
“Screw everyone else. Who needs them, anyway?” became my badge of honor as I sought to protect myself.
Fast forward 20 years and I STILL find myself feeling these misfit shadows, this story of “not belonging.”
Sitting here in Maui, looking over a turquoise ocean, reflecting upon this beautiful life I’m creating, I’ve been feeling these old traumas resurfacing.
Because they’re begging to be heard. My inner child Erin is pleading to be acknowledged, her pain to be felt.
It’s in this vulnerable introspection that awareness, compassion, and love are able to transmute my outdated story.
Guess what? It doesn’t matter how much self-growth you cultivate or how extraordinary your life becomes.
We all have shadows.
We all store trauma.
Shadow work is illuminating these inner saboteurs with curiosity and showering them in compassion.
I’ve been meeting my inner child, holding space for her, hugging her tightly, and letting her know she is infinitely loved, infinitely supported, and infinitely accepted.
With each tear drop, I release trauma stored in my body, making way for my highest self to permeate my being and rewrite my new story: “I BELONG.”
What stories are ruling your life that you are ready to release?
What shadows are you ready to embrace?
What new narratives are begging to be written upon your golden pages?
You are worthy of it.