finding courage to be vulnerable – a very personal post

Three years ago I found out my dad has dementia. 

And as much as I over spill on socials, I have chosen, very consciously, not to share this information on the Internet. I mean it’s my private business- why would I share something SO personal? Something that runs through my mind on daily basis that is really no one’s business? A piece of me that contains sadness, helplessness, & complete vulnerability. It’s mine to deal with.

But the more I scroll through social platforms & see perfection mixed with basically zero real life.

How many of us do this? Really? If we’re being real, I bet every single one of us puts up this sort of facade at one time or another. Of course I am guilty of it myself…However, it’s time to shake that up. Yesterday, as I travelled to visit my dad in Italy, I downloaded “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. I listened. Curled up behind the screen. Where no one could get to me. Or hear my own vulnerabilities. Warm & safe…or so I thought. It was an epiphany. Reading her be so open & vulnerable was fucking refreshing. I had this realization that if I wanted this social media facade to change, I “needed to be the change I wished to see.”

I progress, from an early age I realised that life doesn’t always go the way you want it to go. Looking back on my childhood, my life was always unconventional. My dad spent most of it in South Africa. He was mysterious, charming & had presence. 

Unfortunately he also had A LOT of other qualities that didn’t portray the typical father figure. His biggest commitment was his lack of it. I don’t want to tarnish him – I just want to paint the picture. So picture this, when people hurt because they lose a parent, it’s because they lost someone they loved. For me, I’m hurting because I’ve lost a person I never even got to know. 

The whole situation is…messy.

It causes you to feel it all. And feel it all at once: guilt, anger, sadness, regret, confusion, empathy and trauma.

In times of trauma it’s easy to become resentful for all the things we did and didn’t do. It’s easy to feel pain for all the things that were said and all the things that will never get to be said. It’s easy to overthink the times that have been wasted and the times that have been lost. 

You know what’s not easy? 

Forgiveness. 

I spent my entire life blaming my dad. Judging him. Justifying my actions because of his influence. But at the end of the day all you really have is a CHOICE…You can let adversity victimize you OR move you forward. When I chose to move forward I started see the good that came from it.

In all of the mess, I built resilience. 

In every time I was let down, I built independence. 

In the heartbreak, I built myself back up. Stronger. 

In my dads condition, I built love. Deep deep deep DEEP love. 

Through this post I am not looking for sympathy. As Brene Brown says: “Courage is contagious and we all need to be brave together”. I hope it can be an example to the strong, incredible women reading that life doesn’t always go as you want it to & just because it doesn’t does not mean the adversity has to dictate your future, then I am happy.

Life is hard sometimes. If you’re struggling, you are not alone. Ultimately I appreciate all of you & I will continue to provide a platform that promotes women being the best damn version of themselves…bumps in the road & all.

Thanks for listening, Claudia xo

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