The worst feeling is when you realize that the thing other people have been telling you for years, the thing you dismissed out of hand, didn’t want to be true, didn’t think could possibly be true… is true.
When you have that moment, that stunning epiphany, that other people were right about you all this time. And you were wrong.
That’s the worst feeling. Those are the worst moments.
I’ve only had two so far in my life. And I remember them both so well. The first happened nearly 11 years ago. The second? It happened last week.
And I’m telling you… it sucks. It sucks to have it happen again, especially after all this time. After all this hard work. All this exploration and self-knowledge and seeking.
It sucks to have been so incredibly wrong about myself — and for other people, especially people who were quite unkind to me, to have known better than I did.
It hurts to type it even.
And that’s why I’m glad this time around — that I went through the first unwelcome epiphany 11 years ago. Because I can remember how back then it felt like the world was ending. I was in so much pain at the realization. Physical pain. I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe. Felt nauseated and vertiginous.
Something heavy descended upon me, all at once. And at first I thought it was going to crush me. I didn’t see a way that I could come back from the shame and disappointment in myself. The humiliation of being so wrong.
But there was a way. And it found me. It took some time — and more than a little patience with myself — but the way forward came to me. And after I stopped feeling ashamed of how wrong I’d been, the steps I needed to take next also became clear.
It was difficult at first — but with time, I took those steps. And everything changed for the better.
So this time around, I know the world isn’t ending. Instead, a new phase is beginning. And I have what it takes to get through it.