I am 4 Years Old.

On Sunday, Facebook reminded me that I had been using their platform for 4 years. And when I look back at where I was in my life when I made the trepidatious leap into the world of social media, I feel incredibly grateful for how it has helped me show up in a bigger way in my life.

You see, I had dabbled with Facebook a few years prior, but I quickly shut down my account after I started receiving friend requests from people in my “old life”. It terrified me to think that my two worlds might collide, and so I shut Pandora’s box and kept going the way I had been…closed off and hiding.

Until a few years ago, I was still filled with so much shame about my sobriety that I hid it from almost everyone. I had, in many ways, lied my way to sobriety, and I felt ashamed of that, too.

All around me and inside of me, shame, shame, shame.

Shame for being “different”; for not being able to drink alcohol “normally”.
Shame for the things I’d done while I was drinking.
Shame for lying about why I got sober.
Shame about the details of my rock bottom.
Shame about who I was.
Shame for being ME.

Shame SUCKS. It saps us of our potential and it degrades our quality of life. Shame kept me stuck in every area of my life and I hid behind its mask for almost a decade before I started opening up and sharing my life. Two and a half years ago, I finally decided that I’d had enough of shame and hiding and sickness and I started this blog. I finally started allowing people to see my life for what it was, which allowed ME to be seen–finally–for who I am; imperfections and all.

I have spoken openly about my deeply rooted need for approval and how I’ve grappled with my feelings around appearance and worthiness. Looking good was always much more important to me than feeling good, and to be honest, it wasn’t until I started the scary and deliberate act of delving inward that I even uncovered what it is that makes me…ME. Not until then did I even ponder what it is that I enjoyed doing, or the kinds of people I liked associating with, or the ways in which I wanted to show up in the world.

Until I truly began my road to recovery, I had stifled most of my creativity and snuffed out my passion for life. 

Sobriety, for me, has turned the lights back on, and I am deeply grateful to Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues for dreaming up this idea for a social network; an experiment in human connectedness that is allowing us to be seen. And heard. Yes, there are critics of social media who suggest that we’re only ever sharing the highlight reel, and to be fair, that is often the case.

But we are showing more of ourselves than we might have otherwise, and I believe that, on balance, is a good thing. For example, I don’t post many pics of me dirty and sweaty at the gym or after a fight with Roger or when I first wake up in the morning. I don’t really want to share all the gory details of my life in the moments that they are happening. But like others who use social media the way I do, we share our lessons about health and strength and resilience after we’ve hit the gym. Or we open up about what we’ve learned after having tough conversations with our partners. And in my case, I share about my struggle with appearance and beauty in an honest way through my writing, rather than in the moments before brushing my teeth.

In the last 4 years, I have told you more than I ever imagined possible. I have always been a private person–read, I hid my drinking and most other things about myself from the world–so, getting on Facebook (and Twitter and Instagram) was revolutionary for me, personally.

I found my voice after getting on social media, and it was the impetus for me to be able to launch this blog and start writing professionally. Sharing my truth has allowed me to chip away at my shame to the point where I have so little of it left, I hardly notice it anymore. It no longer has the strangle-hold on me it once did, so that, now, I can speak or write about the darkest parts of myself–the parts of me that used to bring me to my knees–with an ease that comes from developing self-awareness, self-love, self-respect…and self-compassion. I am nowhere near done, but opening up in a public way has made the world of difference in my life, and so today, I simply want to say thank you.

Thank you to Facebook and to all the other social platforms that allow us to better connect to those we otherwise wouldn’t be able to link our lives with.

Thank you to those who are connected to me through social media and with whom I have the profound blessing of sharing my life, and vice versa.

Thank you for being here and for reading my blog and for connecting with me in this way that feels incredibly intimate and special.

And thank you to Roger for forcing encouraging me to get on Facebook in the first place. In so many ways, I wouldn’t be doing the things I am doing without his constant encouragement and support. Believe me, our relationship is far from perfect (as it may appear on Facebook), but one thing is for certain: there is no one I would rather spin around real or cyber space with.

Thank you, Roger.

And thank you, dear friend. For being a part of my world and my life and for helping me to remember who I really am.

Because I’ve needed that for a lot more than 4 years…but 4 years is a very good start.

Because we all benefit from being more of who we really are.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. What about you? Has social media helped you break out of your shell more? Has it allowed you to connect more authentically with others? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

P.P.S. Speaking of connection, on April 21 & 22, 2018, Roger and I, along with our team, are hosting The Healthy Brain and Body Show for the second year. We are so pumped to bring this show back even bigger and better! We would love to see you there as an attendee, where we will have so much cool stuff to show you. We can't wait to explore, connect, learn and shop at the show WITH you! Please say hello if you come. Roger and I will both be there the entire weekend. It would be a thrill to meet you. 🙂

And if you--or someone you know--might be interested in being an Exhibitor with us, feel free to send them here where they can view/download the Exhibitor/Sponsor Package. Note that we have SOLD OUT of Sponsorship spots and we are over 50% sold out of booths!

We can't WAIT to serve you, so remember to save the date! 

P.P.P.S. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my personal meal plan, shopping list, and a week’s worth of easy, tasty recipes. http://sarahtalksfood.com/

 

 

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