It amazes me how words can leave such a lasting impression on a person and the emotions they can evoke when we least expect it.
Good or bad.
Today, I was reminded of how one can be haunted by their past with a quick lash of the tongue. I won't reveal what was said or who said it, but the words were strong enough to transport me instantly back in time to the first moment I heard those five little words.
I felt like everything I have accomplished and have overcome in the past few years was nothing.
I felt shamed.
I felt ugly.
I felt like I was standing in that hallway all over again...listening to that boy I liked telling my friend "if only she were thinner."
I was weakened.
And for a few hours, I couldn't help but feel a little defeated...
...a little devastated...
...a little sorry for myself.
The words were getting louder. "IF ONLY SHE WERE THINNER."
I got in my car and cried, uncontrollably, for several minutes.
The kind of crying where your eyes are swollen and bloodshot and you can't breathe because your nose is full of snot, and then you start to choke on that snot because it's dripping down the back of your throat.
I am not a pretty crier.
I pulled myself together enough to visit an encouraging friend. It was either that or shop. Not gonna lie...shopping almost trumped my friend but since it was Black Friday, I didn't want to face the crowds with all my snottiness.
After listening to what I'm sure sounded like the teacher from the Peanuts, my friend quietly reminded me that I am a strong woman and that all of my emotions will soon be in the past...(and that I should go home, not shop, and not drink).
Other words of wisdom were shared, and those five little words that had been haunting me for the past few hours were quickly replaced with five new ones, "You are a strong woman".
Yes. Yes, I am.
After a quick 15-minute pep talk, I was able to lift my head and wipe my tears away.
I might have even managed a smile before I left.
On my drive home, those new words were pumping through my veins and my internal iPod started to play Helen Reddy's "I am Woman" in my head (thanks for owning that record when I was little Mom). My favorite verse from that 1975 song is:
You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul
I may bend, but I will not break.
I will use those words as fuel to my fire to achieve my goal.
I will be stronger.
I may have allowed myself to be temporarily weakened today, but I will not allow myself to be permanently defeated tomorrow.
Let us all remember that we are masters of unspoken words but we are slaves to the ones we let slip out!