About a year ago, my daughters and I watched the video to this beautiful song, Try, by Colbie Caillat.
The song is about loving yourself for you, and not for what you think other people want you to look and act like. At the beginning of the video, women are wearing makeup and their hair is done perfectly. By the end, they’ve washed off all the makeup. They are their natural, beautiful selves.
They’re empowered and free because they’re showing the world who they really are. And not the image they’ve been trying to live up to.
This goes much deeper than putting on or taking off makeup. We all have flaws. Some we can cover up, others we can’t. Our imperfections aren’t just cosmetic and physical. They’re inside us too.
My mental imperfection is anxiety and panic attacks. Have I tried to hide this? To shield it and pretend it wasn’t happening? Yes! For many years, I never told anyone about my frightening symptoms. How could anyone possibly understand this without thinking I’m crazy?
I tried desperately to hide behind a mask. It’s not easy to let people in and risk being judged and possibly ridiculed.
The thing is, once I reached out for medical help and told my family and friends, I didn’t have to cower behind a wall anymore. That felt wonderful. This is me. Anxiety, panic attacks. It was a relief to accept me for me. Flaws and all.
It’s hard to accept yourself when things aren’t going right or when you’re sad, anxious, or sick. I’ve often wondered, why do I have to have panic attacks? Why does my daughter have to have them?
One day I complained to my doctor about having to take one more pill. He said, “These are the cards you’ve been dealt. You have to deal with it.” I wasn’t too happy with that comment. But I knew he was right.
It’s taken years, but when I look in the mirror, I don’t see an anxious, scared woman. My reflection reveals all my experiences, good and bad. Those experiences and challenges have molded me into the person I am today. And made me stronger.
I accept that. And even love that.