I started crying over a dryer that didn’t fit. Who knew that something so simple and mundane as an appliance not fitting through a doorway would initiate an emotional breakdown? And who knew I would be okay with it?

Our new washer and dryer was delivered one Saturday. I didn’t think anything of it. I knew what that day was but I also had clothes to wash, and I was anxious to break in the new appliances. When the delivery driver arrived, I was excited. I was ready to tackle the laundry, and check more things off my to-do list. And then we learned that the one door into the laundry room was too small, by an inch, and the dryer would not fit.

I immediately broke down.

My husband looked at me like I had lost it, and even said something of that nature. I didn’t apologize, and told him to do an emotional check within himself. Honestly, I don’t think he knew what my outburst was about until he realized it and then he gave me the comfort and space I needed to get through the remainder of the day. Clearly, it had nothing to do with the washer and dryer and everything to do with my brother and what the day signified. You see, that Saturday was my brother’s 32nd birthday, and the last time we celebrated with him was ten years before, on his 22nd birthday. A few months following that birthday, he passed away suddenly.

Ten years. It’s a long time, and that brings about a lot of heavy emotions. Everything just feels more raw and vulnerable and as I’ve been doing the work on myself, it is even more present. I know I am healing, and I am more at peace, but I am human. So, I sat in my feelings for most of the day—resting, watching mindless tv, taking time for me to do nothing.

As I sat in my feelings, I felt a strong pull to show up raw and vulnerable in my Facebook group. I went live, via audio, and spoke from my heart on how being my most authentic self that day was actually the self care I needed.

Authenticity has been in my heart lately. I even recently asked a question in a market research survey to better understand what people identified with as their most authentic self. There were a wide variety of answers, but a few common themes came through including confidence, courage, vulnerability, freedom, peace, happiness, full of life. Every single one of these resonated with me in some way. In fact, I was reminded of a recent quote from a Breńe Brown book that I am reading, which says, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

So, Saturday, I chose to be my most authentic self.

I sat in my feels and it was the first time I was ok with doing so, with being unapologetic about how I felt, and who I was while feeling the feels. Crying when I felt like it, not apologizing for it, saying no if I didn’t feel like doing something or didn’t have the heart or the energy. Knowing that I absolutely do celebrate and cherish Joey’s day of birth but recognizing that it is also a day where he’s not physically here to celebrate, and there is a great void in my life and heart. I chose to take care of myself, to be raw and vulnerable, to feel my way through the emotions—not stuff them or ignore them. It meant sweatpants, no makeup, and giving myself the time to do what I needed to to sit through them and just be. I also chose courage, and went live through the emotions. I let my community know that I see them, I appreciate them and their courage to share their vulnerability among us, and that I sit with them. That my love and support for them are real, and that they will never be judged.

And just like that appliance not fitting in a small space, I too, no longer fit in a small space. I am facing my emotions, I am showing up authentically, I am owning who I am and I am holding space for so many others to do the same. I honor you, I see you, I am here for you.

And I am celebrating us all, for being our most authentic selves.

Teri Gosselin

Teri is a science administrator by day and writer by night. She loves coffee, books, shopping, Netflix marathons and fluffy blankets, and of course, her family.

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