Blue Water Healthy Living
Lifestyle

You are not alone

By Sarah Sinda

I can remember the moment as if I’m still the spunky six and a half-year-old blonde. There I stood. I tried to crouch lower and lower assuming that eventually, I would disappear. Of course, that never happened. This was one of those moments that spunk was nowhere to be found. Instead, it was covered with a cloak of shame and fear. I was in a fight, flight or freeze and my only safe option was to freeze. My teacher towered over me with her finger waving in my face and by this time, the only noise I heard was similar to the teacher in Charlie Brown. She was upset that the day before, just before dismissal, I had peed my pants. I’m certain she was filling me in on all the ways I should have handled myself and that I should have “raised my hand and asked to use the restroom.” It wouldn’t have helped to defend my case…to tell her that it was an accident, that I had been looking for an opportunity to raise my hand but that fear of her exploding in anger for the interruption had convinced me otherwise. Funny how the day before I was afraid of being shamed and had tried to avoid it at all costs. Yet here I stood…covered in shame and trembling in fear. The entire time I was looking for two words from her. Two words that would have eased this tortured scenario. Two words that I definitely would not hear from this teacher.

This wouldn’t be the last time I would find myself in a scenario like this. Thankfully it was never over losing my bladder again but each time I would find myself hiding behind the same fear and shame. It chased me into adulthood. In fact, truth-be-told, I still have to wrestle those two demons down. And many times it is everything that you would expect in a match with Hulk Hogan in the opposing corner and the little six-year-old girl in the other. Each time I face them deep inside I am longing for a victory that will end the war.

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I’m not sure what your stories of fear and shame sound like but if I were able to sit across the table from you right now, I would listen to you share your story. As I would listen, I would know that we have the same story…not because our experiences are the same but because I know what those moments FEEL like. Even now, I’m imagining your story; stories of feeling alone, abandoned and ridiculed. Each story filled with pain…and some that you’ve locked away and never shared with anyone. If I could sit with you I’d listen, wipe tears from my cheeks, place my hand on your shoulder, and say two words. I’d whisper the two words that never erase the pain but let you know that you’re never alone in your pain. So although we aren’t sitting face to face right now, please hear me whisper the words from my heart to yours, “me too.”

Feel like a failure as a parent? “Me too!” Feel like the pain from past experiences still tethers you to who you were? “Me too!” Feel like you mess up more than you get things right? “Me too!” Feel like sometimes you’re still that little kid that is helpless and hopeless? “Me too!” Feel like there’s no one that understands or cares about what you’ve gone through? “Me too!”

“Me too!” Those words are powerful when we are sharing our story. Ultimately we are longing for connection. We want to know that we aren’t in this alone. And after I’d say “Me too!”, I’d let you know that feelings aren’t always the truth. Even though you FEEL alone, it isn’t the truth. Even though you might FEEL like a failure, it isn’t the truth. Even though you FEEL you can’t get past the pain, it isn’t the truth. Even though you FEEL there’s no hope, it isn’t the truth.

It’s important for each of us to find at least one “Me too!” friend…someone who won’t judge us for our stories but will sit in the pain with us…someone who will speak truth to you when you’re feelings are magnifying the shame and fear. And although you may still be in search of that friend, I am writing this so you know that you are not alone. There is hope. And today you can choose to be a “Me too!” friend for someone else. As we choose to say “Me too!” to others, we begin to change the world around us. Wanna make a difference? “Me too!” Let’s do it together!

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Sarah Sinda grew up in the Port Huron area, graduated from Port Huron High School and loves the Blue Water Area. She has been married to her husband, Michael, for over 20 years and together they have four boys ages 17, 15, 13 and 11. She has worked with students 18 and under for the past 22 years and loves to be an encouraging voice in their lives. During those years she has also found her love of building and leading volunteer teams. She enjoys learning, applying and teaching leadership principles and believes that everyone is called to lead someone. She is passionate about helping people move past obstacles and reach their full potential. She believes that authenticity and vulnerability are launching pads for personal growth and important building blocks in healthy relationships. Recently Michael and Sarah have decided to build Legacy Youth Center so they can continue successfully reaching students through camps and other events. Sarah desires to invest everything she has into living her bravest life each day and invites you to do the same.

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