The Broken Doll, Letting Go & Living By Heart

I am a reforming rule follower. A recovering control freak.

I am almost always in the constant state of reminding myself to unclench my fists, relax my shoulders, and stop white-knuckling my life. 

This is how I survived for many years. I achieved at energetically reading a crowd and morphing myself into whatever I thought might be easily digestible, acceptable, and valued. I was born a chameleon.

I often tell my clients that I held my breath for the first twenty-odd years of my life and it’s true. I held my breath, biding my time and waiting for the magic to begin. I believed, firmly, that my life would begin, when I: lost the weight, got the job, made the cash, followed the rules, and finally fit in. 

I believed that I was a problem to be solved – camouflaged, hidden away, and painted in my best light.

I believed that I wasn’t deserving of love the way I was – that I would never be good enough. 

Now, I don’t believe those stories any more. I am currently off  track, renegading my way through life with my non-traditional job, life filled to the brim with self-care, and the desire to… heed my desires.

But ghosts of my former self linger in my skin.

The perfectionist. The coordinator. The keeper of everyone else’s schedules. The micromanager. The people pleaser. The shifty chameleon. The apologizer.

The part of my subconscious that feels cracked and disregarded, the broken baby doll. 

I encounter her every once and a while, waltzing around in my life and merrily making things happen. It is as if I am walking down the street and suddenly fall through a hole in the sidewalk. And once I fall through that hole it takes me days or weeks to find myself again. 

In that hole, I tell myself:

It was all a dream, you haven’t really changed anything. You will NEVER, never do anything worthwhile. This isn’t real. You aren’t lovable. You have to keep yourself safe – at all costs. You are too vulnerable – cover yourself up. Cookie doesn’t love you – it’s a trick. Your business will dissolve in a second once people realize that you are utterly worthless. Your friends will leave you. Your family will abandon you. 

You were born alone and you will always be alone. You won’t be able to fool people forever. 

That hole, that tender broken baby doll is the darkest part of my spirit. She is the home of all of my fragmented secrets and the memory keeper of worst stories. Fierce and ruthless, her guardian is concerned entirely with survival. A swirling mass of teeth and nails, she watches over my most tender pieces.

I am my many parts.

I am the coach and the wife and the creative and the entrepreneur. The devotee and the prayer.

I am also that broken baby doll and that ruthless guardian.

I am the little girl who had her heart broken.

I am the woman who sometimes has to tell herself a thousand times a day that this is real, this can be trusted, this is my life – as I have created it.

I am the facilitator of small miracles and the builder of dreams.

I am the crying mass, huddled in my bed, vulnerable in my overwhelming neediness.

I am whole.

And, I am no longer apologizing for myself or diminishing these parts of my nature. 

I not ashamed that I fall through that hole and need reminding of myself. Admitting my limitations and the tender parts of my daily life does not detract from my ability to serve my tribe of women – it amplifies it.

I was born for this work. I have an enormous threshold for truth. Like a mother with her arms open wide, I am gathering my parts while I gather my tribe, pulling them close to my skirts and wiping tears off of their gorgeous faces.

I am letting go of the fallacy of having it all together – that story that we tell ourselves about our deserving. I am deserving when my bills are paid and my papers are filed and when I’m sobbing because nothing in my closet fits the way I’d like it to. I am deserving when I am making money and when I look at my credit card debt.

I’m deserving when I’m making other people happy and when I’m upsetting the status quo by creating ample space for myself to dance around.

I am whole. I am willing to accept myself fully. I am releasing the ghosts lingering in my skin – the ones that whisper cover it up, seal it in, don’t let yourself be seen. I am broken and healed. I contain multitudes.

I am giving myself permission to be exactly who I am.

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6 thoughts on “The Broken Doll, Letting Go & Living By Heart”

  1. Beautiful, Mara!

    I can especially relate to the dynamics of feeling deserving when you don’t have everything toghether.

    I believe this is difficult for everyone, but maybe particularly so for us who are working to help others, when there’s so much pressure to have to have a “perfect” life in order to avoid being called out (or feeling like we might be) on not being able to walk the talk.

  2. Ah. Yes. Me too. And I also give myself permission to remind myself of this as many times as is needed, as often as I forget.

    Witnessing and celebrating your beautiful wholeness.

  3. This is brilliant, Mara.Thank you especially for sharing this:
    “I am the crying mass, huddled in my bed, vulnerable in my overwhelming neediness.” My shrink has been telling me for a while that I ruin relationships by being needy. But you are loved! So. Well then. You’ve healed me a little today by letting me see you. xx

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