Permission to be seen

Written by Shawna

I have lived my whole life in fear of failure, fear of being seen, fear of being noticed.

The only time I broke free of that is when I was Powerlifting. I was not afraid, because nobody can hide in Powerlifting. You give it everything you have, each lift, each training. It gave me permission to not be afraid to be seen, because of the team I was a part of. They showed me how to not be afraid. That team changed my life and I am forever grateful to them.

Then back in the real world, I went back into fear of being seen. I had moments where I overcame those fears, briefly, but then retreated once things got a little messy. Fear paralyzes you. You can't think, or make decisions, or move in any direction. You're stuck. You end up coasting through life, but not really accomplishing anything. Time keeps going, but you don't seem to get anywhere. 

I have read all of Brene Brown's books, and they have hit me right in the pit of stomach; Daring Greatly changed my life. As people, we're seeking connection. We want to be seen and loved for it. Powerlifting gave me a glimpse of what that was. Judy shows me year after year what it feels like. Now I'm trying to learn how to see myself and love myself, flaws and all. Brene Brown talks a lot about how shame keeps us disconnected from real connection. I have relied on other people to tell me I'm good my whole life, but never really believing it myself. 

When I started Powerlifting I was 28 years old, and hated myself. I was trying to create a life, create something that looked good to the outside world, because I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. I was completely disconnected from myself. Powerlifting (read: any sport) taught me so much about being human. I could not hide from myself. When my lifts were not going well, it was because of me. If I bombed in a meet, it was because of me. It forced me to face parts of my mind that were holding me back. Ideas and thoughts about myself that I had to shatter to be able to be good at Powerlifting, to be good at my life. It put me in touch with parts of myself I didn't even know I had; parts of my mind that I did not know were there. I found mental strength. That was the beginning.

It's 10 years later now. I have done so much soul searching. And I feel myself coming together again. Powerlifting changed my life, it was the catalyst to who I am today. The time in between has been good, and also difficult. I am finally remembering how much strength I have. I am remembering that I do not have to live in fear, and by choosing to face fears I give permission to those in my life to do the same. Exactly how my Powerlifting team mates did for me 10 years ago.