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A Self-Portrait

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As I read back on the last few posts I made on this blog, I realise that things were going from bad to worse and I was trying to convince myself that the little things I was doing were enough for me to get through them. But, here’s the truth. The little things weren’t enough and life threatened to maim me with its broken edges. And you know what? I did not recognise any of it, or address it, until I could barely breathe. It was when I found myself in the depths of a well that I couldn’t see my way out of that I realised, maybe I needed to spend some time in this well to understand what exactly it is that I need. Because had I simply reached out, I know there would have been more hands than I would have known what to do with, waiting to bring me out of my own darkness and into the light again. But, I needed myself and I needed the time to figure out exactly how I could be present for me and meet myself where I was.

So, I allowed myself exactly that. I withdrew in the most subtle of ways, and I gave myself the gift of time.

Fast forward to now though, nearing the end of February, and things are a touch different. I have had weekly therapy sessions for 2 months straight (and continue to attend), committed to taking the support of a personal trainer, and have specific boundaries in place for different things in life that have potential to divert my focus if I’m not careful. And I know, the way I’m phrasing this all makes it seem like this totally chill nonchalant thing that I just one day decided to do, but I can assure you, it was in no way chill or nonchalant, or a simple decision for that matter. It was a series of calculated decisions, trial periods, pros and cons lists, and eventually, a case of throwing caution to the wind and letting the chips fall where they may.

The great thing about doing some of these things now is that they’re all things that I’ve attempted before, but because I wasn’t really in the healing stage, it was difficult for me to truly understand their value or the ways in which I could benefit from them. Thankfully, that was then, and this is now. Now, I sit here feeling comfortable in my discomfort. I sit here aware of my own discrepancies but willing to keep working on them. Today, I sit here knowing all the things that are wrong, but not allowing them to take over all that is right. Because at the end of it all, if I am not willing to work on myself and see my own faults, how can I ever dare to try and look at that of others?

I will continue to run my fingers along my own fault lines and learn how to hold myself up when the inevitable earthquakes occur; this is the promise I make to myself.

I know I say these words quite boldly, but it’s really difficult to keep choosing yourself. Yes, on some days the sun shines a little warmer and it hits that sweet spot on the back of your neck and you feel the grace of all that’s good, but it’s also true that on some days, it will feel like your heart is being torn into a million shreds and shoved back into your chest with the expectation that it’ll know how to keep beating. On both of these days, it can be easy to want to throw in the towel. In fact, I know I’ve done it myself several times. When the days are good, I breathe a little deeper and convince myself that I’ve made it, that I’ve reached the end of the healing process and am somehow this well-rounded adult that I always thought I was going to be. But on the dark days, I ask myself if it’s worth putting in so much work if I’m still who I am and at my core, still feeling dark and twisty, and frankly, feeling like an angsty kid.

The journey within is not going to be easy. It might even be the most difficult journey you ever embark upon, but I promise it will be worth it. Take the good days and the bad days as they come, for we are in need of both the dark and light to go on. We will make it through this life together, even if we come out the other side with cuts and bruises we never thought we’d get.

Choose one gift for yourself as you prepare to wrap up this last week of February. Whether it’s time, kindness, or simply stillness – gift yourself something. You deserve to.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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