My first indicator that I have a hard truth to tell happens in my chest.
It starts getting tight, and uncomfortable, and starts creeping toward my throat making it constricted and hard to breathe.
I use the tightness in my chest as an indicator along with a simple metaphor to locate myself because it’s easy to get lost in fear when I feel it happening.
An example would be when someone I care about is projecting something upon me that I’m not in agreement with, or who tells me something about how I am, or how I am feeling or “should” be feeling, when I’m not that way or feeling that way at all. In other words, it’s not my truth.
Speaking the truth can be risky because it separates us from being in agreement with what’s true for everyone else, and it’s ok for our own truth to be different from everyone else’s. In fact, it’s our birthright.
Our survival instinct kicks in to belong and to be loved and accepted. It's so strong in us, that it will often have us sacrifice or side step our own truth to preserve harmony, but we do so at the cost of our own freedom and autonomy.
So back to the chest getting tight;
Right before I’m about to tell a hard truth I think about a metaphor I call "The Swimming Pool" because it helps me get my bearings. My chest tells me that it’s time to get out of the deep end of the pool where I’ve been swimming, and go back to the shallow end where I can find a place to stand and feel my footing beneath me.
I imagine that I’m standing there, just up to my shin’s in the pool, all vulnerable in my bathing suit (no hiding that shit) exposed, but also stable. There is no need to tread water in the shallow end, and there is plenty of air when you don’t have to work so hard to stay afloat. This is the place I imagine taking a deep breath before moving back into some deeper water to do the work.
Just like when I was a child, I imagine looking to see where the sun is located in the sky above me. That way I know which direction the light is in, so that when I go under and while I’m below the surface, where it’s hard to breathe, I can still locate it’s presence. It’s a trick I play on myself to orient myself before I go to the truth telling place.
It helps me.
The Truth Place
If we are raised to do the proper thing, the right thing, the "good" thing, and told to be a certain way, we are often cut off from our own truth. It happens endlessly from the time we are children.
I’ve noticed that by the time we enter adulthood, few of us know how to hear our true voice anymore. It’s can be hard to locate where the truth is when it sounds like everyone else’s voice but your own, but if you pay attention and listen for it, you’ll start to hear it’s hum.
The truth place can be a messy place when you begin, but it’s also a birth place. Thinking back to my pregnancy, and the delivery of my first child, I imagine nothing can be more messy and brutal than that, and then, there she was, in her "true form", and her beauty was blinding.
That's what truth does.
It makes us beautiful.
Truth can be be painful, chaotic, ugly, upsetting, and unbearably messy…and then beautiful.
"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off".
Why do we expect that life’s truth is any less messy than our own? Why do any of us believe that we can just skim along the surface of our lives always making it pretty, without the brutiful parts?
I’m thinking of what we are requested to oath before a lawful hearing that’s dependent at times on life or death:
"I vow to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God."
Yesss. Help me GOD to tell this hard truth I have to tell because otherwise, I die a little more inside each time I deny it.
Please stay close with me as I tell this hard truth because I am so afraid that when I say it out loud, that I will risk belonging and love.
And God, Please be my witness as I go back into the deep water to do my work, and help me tread the waters and weather this storm without forsaking myself.
Please be the constant sunlight through the darkness to greet me after I dive deep and come back to break the surface, reborn in my own true and radiant self.