Perhaps one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves in moments of weakness is this: This is not happening. I am not weak. I am not pained. I am not hurt. Why does it take so much effort to admit that we are down to our knees? Where along our journey did we bring upon ourselves this arduous task of constantly needing to be a glistening coat of steel? I’m not even talking about proving this to others – we delude our own selves from the cleansing fire that honesty brings.
It is in times of adversity when our true selves are propelled to the front, away from the many masks and expectations of others. Contrary to what many believe, adversity doesn’t change you. It reveals who you are.
On my 24th birthday last year, I made a startling choice to be alone, to face weakness in the eye. It was one choice many people questioned – and many times during the journey, I did too – but it was timely and necessary. I also didn’t just make the choice to be alone – I chose to put myself through a physical challenge as well, because, why not?
At midnight on my 24th birthday, I was in the overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa, heading for a three day trek through the mountains.
It wasn’t easy. It was, admittedly, dangerously foolish. But it was also immensely liberating. Sapa is stunning. It was the perfect backdrop for that phase of my healing journey. I was forced me to address many of my issues and fears head-on, and to allow others to help me. One of the biggest steps to recovery, I’d subsequently learnt, was to take ownership and face your issues. I’ve also learnt that it is impossible to deal with it alone – we are not made of steel. It is in our individual humanity that I found so much hope and beauty.
Okay, so I wasn’t entirely alone the entire time. Dear God, I wouldn’t have made it out alive. Throughout the entire 3 days, I was with 2 other beautiful souls – another fellow solo traveller from Australia and a local guide. I’d signed up for the trek through Sapa O’Chau Trekking & Homestays, the only organisation that is fully run by the Hmong people of Sapa.
One of the biggest and earliest Aha! revelations I had was this: We work so hard to keep our hearts from getting hurt. Somehow we’ve been convinced that we are protecting ourselves, that life is better and easier by holding tightly to our love. Sometimes it is easier. But it is never better. And sometimes it takes making a choice every day, every moment, but it’s worth it. Choosing the thrill, the vulnerability, the self-abandonment is always worth it. So wherever you are, be all there. Allow your heart to get involved. Love was never meant to be hoarded, it was meant to be given away.
You’ve got to let people help and love you. I know it’s hard, especially if you’ve got trust issues like I do. But have a little faith. Trust that they have your back and that they’ll pull you through and keep you safe. These people are God’s answers to your prayers. Let them play their role.
“See, courage doesn’t always look like screaming and fighting battle after battle. Sometimes courage looks like asking for help. Sometimes courage looks like helping a friend in need. Sometimes courage looks like getting up again. Sometime courage screams, but sometimes it whispers. Sometimes it walks. And sometimes, it runs.” – Elyse Moreno.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too broken to bloom, especially not yourself. Times are hard, but ah, remember that it isn’t our circumstances that define who we are but how we react to the circumstance we are in. Choose to always see the good. Choose to always love. Choose to always be kind.
If we can rise, and rise again, above our difficult circumstances and still be grateful and happy, then we couldn’t be utterly broken right? Even on our weakest days, we get a little bit stronger.
Lots of love,