On Hiding

Truth is, there aren’t too many old photos of me that aren’t just of my face and shoulders.

I was an expert photoshopper and even better deleter. (them yearbook skills still come in handy 😉) I hated having my picture taken. I would hide in the background trying to make myself look smaller.

And everytime I’d walk into a room I’d look around to see if I was the biggest person there.

I never thought I’d be anything but. It just was what it was. No matter how hard I tried, nothing changed. I ate relatively healthy but I’d gain weight just watching other people look at food.

And then I attended a retreat in Ireland. I remember walking to the back of the room and the person running the retreat, Philip McKernan, gave me a big hug and said “I’m so glad you’re here" and my first thought was oh - I’m not going to be able to hide in this room.

And I couldn’t but I found myself in a room full of amazing people who were vulnerable and kind. Who made it safe to open up and share. And for the first time, I thought, “I have found my people.”

On one of the last days, I had a moment of pure joy and happiness. I remember saying “it feels like I’m smiling for the first time ever. Like it’s really me.” And the look on my face proved it.

Less than an hour later, on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, the sun parted the clouds and the biggest double rainbow appeared. 

It made my heart smile. The memory still does.

Things shifted that miserable yet magical day in Ireland. And have ever since. 
I started treating myself better and I discovered that I like who I am, and who I’m becoming.

I started owning my story, my sadness. I realized I wasn’t broken and it didn’t need to define me anymore.

I stopped protecting myself with the weight. Stop hiding (well, I still occasionally struggle with this one but I’m showing up as me just a little bit more everyday). It started with believing that I could... be ME.

It’s a process and it’s come with a few setbacks, some serious struggle and more than one moment where I wanted to give up.

And in those moments of struggle, I’m reminded each time, that if you go just a little further, the clouds part and then... then it’s pure magic 🌈

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Elaine Turcotte