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I have been trying to weasel my way out of being on this stage for weeks.
I am terrified.
But about a month ago, I was up early, panicking about this,
and I watched an old TED Talk that Brené Brown did on vulnerability.
Dr. Brown is one of my heroes.
She is a shame researcher,
and I am a recovering bulimic, alcoholic, and drug user.
So I'm sort of a shame researcher, too.
It's just that most of my work is done out in the field.
And Dr. Brown defined courage like this.
She said, "Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."
That got me thinking
about another one of my heroes, Georgia O'Keeffe,
and how she said, "Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant.
There is no such thing.
Making the unknown known is what is important."
So, here I am to tell you the story of who I am with my whole heart,
and to make some unknowns known.
When I was eight years old, I started to feel exposed,
and I started to feel very, very awkward.
Every day, I was pushed out of my house and into school,
all oily, and pudgy, and conspicuous,
and to me the other girls seemed so cool, and together, and easy,
and I started to feel like a loser in a world that preferred superheroes.
So I made my own capes, and I tied them tight around me.
My capes were pretending and addiction.
But we all have our own superhero capes, don't we?
Perfectionism, and overworking, snarkiness, and apathy;
they are all superhero capes.
Our capes are what we put over our real selves,
so that our real tender selves don't have to be seen and can't be hurt.
Our superhero capes are what keep us from having to feel much at all,
because every good and bad thing is deflected off of them.
So, for 18 years,
my capes of addiction and pretending kept me safe and hidden.
People think of us, addicts, as insensitive liars,
but we don't start out that way.
We start out as extremely sensitive truth-tellers.
We feel so much pain and so much love,
and we sense that the world doesn't want us to feel that much,
and doesn't want to need as much comfort as we need,
so we start pretending.
We try to pretend like we're the people that we think we're supposed to be.
We numb, and we hide, and we pretend,
and that pretending does eventually turn into a life of lies,
but to be fair, we thought we were supposed to be lying.
They tell us since we’re little that when someone asks us how we're doing,
the only appropriate answer is, "Fine. And you?"
But the thing is that the people are truth-tellers.
We are born to make our unknown known.
We will find somewhere to do it.
So in private, with the booze, or the overshopping,
or the alcohol, or the food,
we tell the truth.
We say, "Actually, I'm not fine."
Because we don't feel safe telling that truth in the real world,
we make our own little world,
and that's addiction.
That's whatever cape you put on.
So what happens is all of us end up living
in these little, teeny, controllable, predictable, dark worlds
instead of all together in the big, bright, messy one.
I binged and purged for the first time when I was eight,
and I continued every single day for the next 18 years.
Seems normal to me, but you're surprised.
Every single time that I got anxious, or worried, or angry,
I thought something was wrong with me.
So I took that nervous energy to the kitchen
and I stuffed it all down with food,
and then I panicked, and I purged,
and after all of that, I was laid out on the bathroom floor,
and I was so exhausted and so numb
that I never had to go back and deal with whatever it was
that had made me uncomfortable in the first place,
and that's what I wanted.
I did not want to deal
with the discomfort and messiness of being a human being.
So, when I was a senior in high school,
I finally decided to tell the truth in the real world.
I walked in my guidance counselor's office
and I said, "Actually, I'm not fine. Someone help me."
And I was sent to a mental hospital.
In the mental hospital, for the first time in my life,
I found myself in a world that made sense to me.
In high school, we had to care about geometry
when our hearts were breaking
because we were just bullied in the hallway,
or no one would sit with us at lunch,
and we had to care about ancient Rome
when all we really wanted to do
was learn how to make and keep a real friend.
We had to act tough when we felt scared,
and we had to act confident when we felt really confused.
Acting, pretending, was a matter of survival.
High school is kind of like the real world sometimes,
but in the mental hospital, there was no pretending.
The gig was up.
We had classes about how to express how we really felt
through music, and art, and writing.
We had classes about how to be a good listener,
and how to be brave enough to tell our own story
while being kind enough not to tell anybody else's.
We held each other's hands sometimes, just because we felt like we needed to.
Nobody was ever allowed to be left out.
Everybody was worthy - that was the rule - just because she existed.
So in there, we were brave enough to take off our capes.
All I ever needed to know, I learned in the mental hospital.
I remember this sandy-haired girl, who was so beautiful,
and she told the truth on her arms.
I held her hand one day while she was crying,
and I saw that her arms were just sliced up like precut hams.
In there, people wore their scars on the outside,
so you knew where they stood,
and they told the truth, so you knew why they stood there.
So I graduated from high school,
and I went on to college,
which was way crazier than the mental hospital.
In college, I added on the capes of alcoholism and drug use.
The sun rose every day, and I started binging and purging,
and then when the sun set, I drank myself stupid.
The sunrise is usually people's signal to get up,
but it was my signal every day to come down -
to come down from the booze, and the boys, and the drugs,
and I could not come down.
That was to be avoided at all costs, so I hated the sunrise.
I'd close the blinds, and I'd put the pillow over my head,
while my spinning brain would torture me
about the people who were going out into their day, into the light,
to make relationships, and pursue their dreams, and have a day.
And I had no day; I only had night.
These days, I like to think of hope as that sunrise.
It comes out every single day to shine on everybody equally.
It comes out to shine on the sinners, and the saints,
and the druggies, and the cheerleaders.
It never withholds.
It doesn't judge.
If you've spent your entire life in the dark,
and then one day just decide to come out,
it'll be there, waiting for you, just waiting to warm you.
You know, all those years,
I thought of that sunrise as searching, and accusatory, and judgmental,
but it wasn't.
It was just hope's daily invitation to me to come back to life.
I think if you still have a day, if you're still alive,
you are still invited.
I actually graduated from college
- which makes me both grateful to
and extremely suspicious of my Alma Mater -
and I found myself
sort of in the real world, and sort of not.
On Mother's Day 2002,
- I am not good at years, we'll just say on Mother's Day -
I had spun deeper and deeper.
I wasn't even Glennon anymore.
I was just bulimia.
I was just alcoholism.
I was just a pile of capes.
But on Mother's Day, one Mother's Day,
I found myself on the cold bathroom floor,
hungover, shaking, and holding a positive pregnancy test.
As I sat there with my back literally against a wall, shaking,
an understanding washed over me.
In that moment, on the bathroom floor,
I understood that even in my state,
even lying on the floor,
that someone out there had deemed me
worthy of an invitation
to a very, very important event.
So, that day on the bathroom floor,
I decided to show up, just to show up,
to climb out of my dark, individual, controllable world,
and out into the big, great, messy one.
I didn't know how to be a sober person,
or how to be a mother, or how to be a friend,
so I just promised myself that I would show up
and I would do the next right thing.
"Just show up, Glennon, even if you're scared,
just do the next right thing, even when you're shaking."
So I stood up.
What they don't tell you about getting sober,
about peeling off your capes,
is that it gets a hell of a lot worse before it gets better.
Getting sober is like recovering from frostbite.
It's all of those feelings that you've numbed for so long,
now they're there, and they are present.
At first, it just feels kind of tingly and uncomfortable,
but then, those feelings start to feel like daggers.
The pain, the loss, the guilt, the shame -
it's all piled on top of you with nowhere to run.
But what I learned during that time
is that sitting with the pain and the joy of being a human being
while refusing to run for any exits
is the only way to become a real human being.
So, these days, I am not a superhero,
and I am not a perfect human being,
but I am fully human being, and I am so proud of that.
I am, fortunately and frustratingly,
still exactly the same person
as I was when I was 20, and 16, and 8 years old.
I still feel scared all the time,
anxious all the time,
oily all the time.
I still get very high and very low in life, daily,
but I finally accepted the fact that sensitive is just how I was made,
that I don't have to hide it, and I don't have to fix it.
I am not broken.
I've actually started to wonder if maybe you're sensitive, too.
Maybe you feel great pain and deep joy,
but you just don't feel safe talking about it in the real world.
So now, instead of trying to make myself tougher,
I write and I serve people to help create a world
where sensitive people don't need superhero capes,
where we can all just come out into the big, bright, messy world,
and tell the truth, and forgive each other for being human,
and admit together that yes, life is really hard,
but also insist that together we can do hard things.
You know, maybe it's OK to say, "Actually, today I am not fine."
Maybe it's OK to remember that we're human beings,
and to stop doing long enough
to think, and to love, and to share, and to listen.
This weekend was Mother's Day,
which marked the eleven-year anniversary of the day I decided to show up,
and I spent the day on the beach with my three children,
and my two dogs, and my one husband
my long-suffering husband.
You can only imagine.
Life is beautiful and life is brutal.
Life is brutaful all the time and every day.
Only one thing has made the difference for me,
and that is this:
I used to numb my feelings and hide,
and now I feel my feelings and I share.
That's the only difference in my life these days.
I am not afraid of my feelings anymore.
I know they can come, and they won't kill me,
and they can take over for a little while, if they need to,
but at the end of the day, what they are is really just guides.
They are just guides to tell me what is the next right thing for me to do.
Loneliness, it leads us to connection with other people,
and jealousy, it guides us to what we are supposed to do next,
and pain guides us to help other people,
and being overwhelmed, it guides us to ask for help.
So I've learned that if I honor my feelings
as my own personal prophets,
and instead of running I just be still,
that there are prizes to be won.
Those prizes are peace, and dignity, and friendship.
So I received an email last week,
and it's now taped to my computer at home.
It just said, "Dear Glennon,
it's braver to be Clark Kent than it is to be Superman.
Carry on, warrior."
So today, I would say to you that we don't need any more superheroes.
We just need awkward, oily, honest human beings
out in the bright, big, messy world.
And I will see you there.


【TEDx】精神病院教我的事 (Lessons from the Mental Hospital | Glennon Doyle Melton | TEDxTraverseCity)

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Max Lin 發佈於 2016 年 2 月 1 日    Nicole Lu 翻譯    Kristi Yang 審核
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