My Life Changed When I Stopped Swallowing
Pride. Pain. Heartache. Fear. Shame. Insecurity. Opinions. Truth. Lies, the ones we told and the ones we were sold. In life, we swallow a lot of things in exchange for comfort, peace, a semblance of happiness or sometimes survival. Every time we swallow, our masks gain an embellishment. Over time, our decorative masks become more colorful, more ornate and heavier to wear. Before we know it, we’re in full-on masquerade.
How many decisions have been impacted one swallow at a time? You stayed in a job too long, even though you were repeatedly overlooked for a promotion? You remained in a relationship in spite of signs that signaled something wasn’t quite right. You put up with one-sided friendships where you were always calling, planning and reaching out? You didn’t speak up for a co-worker or friend when others were gossiping or spreading untruths about that person? You settled for good enough when deep down you knew it wasn’t everything you wanted? You didn’t confront that person who offended you, but you spent thirty minutes telling your best friend or significant other about the ordeal.
We’ve all traveled these crossroads where our self-esteem, self-respect and self-awareness took one for the team. We failed to speak up, speak out or stand up when it counted most. We tightened up our masks and continued our lives hidden behind what we believe and how we feel. We swallowed.
And if we’re honest, think about those times others have swallowed because of our behavior. There was a time where I’m sure those under my leadership took big gulps dealing with my high expectations, lack of work-life balance and immaturity. I deeply regret those moments, and I learned from them. Or how about those relationships that you didn’t have the guts to end, so instead you act like a donkey in hopes the other person will get upset enough to leave you. That way you don’t have to be the bad guy or girl, and you blame the other person for walking away even though that’s what you wanted them to do. And that usually never works either, because the other person may just swallow your bad behavior instead of speaking out against it and before you know it, years have passed, and the masks are award-winning.
I came to a crossroads of my own in my writing journey. I’ve been writing for more than three decades, and I started blogging about 12 years ago. My blogs never stayed in the ‘safe to talk about zone’ such as my love for music, travel or even cooking. Blogging for me was always personal with real-life lessons, personal feelings and religious beliefs. However, when you visit my current blog, you won’t find 12 years of blogs because I never released them, I chose to swallow instead. I’ve always been taught to keep my personal life separate from my professional life, and if my blogs were published, that wasn’t going to be possible. It took years of soul searching and spiritual growth to get comfortable with the thought of my worlds colliding.
My writing put me to the ultimate test, and I knew that my life’s purpose wasn’t going to the next level until I stopped swallowing and made peace with what’s under my mask. I believe writing is a gift. So I had to answer some questions. If your gifts take you to the next level, will you swallow the source of the gift? Will you keep God out of your acceptance speeches and acknowledgments because it’s too personal for you? Or even worse, will you do as Dr. Tony Evans described as prostituting His name, throwing it around to share how God blessed you and did all these wonderful things for you, but it doesn’t translate into helping anyone. You are merely using His name to appear a certain way.
Talk about some serious adulting. I don’t know where my writing will take me or if it’s part of my
destiny or purpose. I wholeheartedly know the answers to those questions above though.
So here I am. A girl with a blog. Exposed. Mask down. A heart for Christ. On a journey where no swallowing is allowed.
For those who have left the masquerade ball, I’d love to hear about your aha moment. Comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.