With all the information available from trained professionals and humans sharing their lived experiences, I’d like to think folks are gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and others. However, with all this information and reflection, I am growing concerned about one term that has been on the tips of people’s tongues, and that’s the word “toxic.”
“I don’t recognize you anymore.”
Her words floated across the table, making their way to my ears, clashing with the sound of rain hitting the tall windows of the cafe. We haven’t even said hello, I thought to myself. I sat silently for a moment, stirring my coffee, carefully making sure the spoon didn’t hit the edges of the mug, a brief distraction. Dark gray clouds were parading across the sky, dimming the natural light shining through. Rain could be a good sign; rain is healing. I pictured this scene many times in my head, mentally preparing for the conversation that would inevitably take place. With a deep breath, I looked up to meet her eyes, “Hello, mother.”
I used to feel so torn apart by the idea of friendship because it never seemed like I was doing it right. How could I form these connections and still feel like something was missing or off? What’s wrong with me?! I wasn’t nurturing the very first friend I made, myself.
Imagine a demon hag with sunken eyes, a deep black hooded cloak, and long boney fingers following me around, sounding alarm bells, and making me second-guess my every move. That’s how I pictured my anxiety and our lopsided relationship. Something needed to change.
Healing is uncomfortable.
This year I make my 30th trip around the sun. I’ve grown and changed in so many ways, taking shape as the person I need myself to be. I have to remind myself that, as scary as life can be, I am powerful and capable of tackling it all.
Love is abundant; there are infinite ways to demonstrate your feelings. Physical closeness is only one of the many ways to show our affection for each other. It’s not the only way.
“You give the best hugs” and 20+ different compliments to shower the lovely people in your life when reconnecting during the pandemic.
This blog has always been a safe space for me to reflect, create, and untangle some of the messiness in life, waiting for me when I felt compelled to do so. I truly did not anticipate you all being a part of this journey and touching me as deeply as you have. I started Muted Mouthful three years ago; that fact alone is incredible to me. I have grown so much; the evidence is all right here. This blog has become a living testament to me, something I can, and do, look back on, reflecting on the one inevitable thing in life, change.
As a therapeutic exercise, I wrote a letter to my younger self, offering career advice and kindness on the long, professional road ahead that would await them. It was a reminder to myself to be compassionate about my choices and to keep my mind open to the possibilities we have yet to encounter.