I was thrown into a bout of despair and darkness the past few months and I’m not afraid to admit that I struggled really badly, nearly giving up on myself and the things that mattered to me. As I watched my world collapse around me, I thought of giving up triathlons, I thought of selling my precious customised pink bike that I’m so proud of… I was at rock bottom. I let myself sink, I allowed myself to surrender to the pain and at one point I thought I would never recover. (Bullshit.)
Close friends were rallying around me and pulling me up, but they could only help me as much as I wanted to help myself. It hurt them to see me so distraught, it pained them to see the confident Cheryl fall to her knees. But those who mattered never gave up on me, they kept egging me on; they knew I would come around.
I know that everyone is struggling with their own battles, but somehow when we are fighting our own, we tend to slip into self-absorption and disregard others. I am ashamed to say that in that period of loss, I neglected the people who needed me. Then one day in the midst of all the self-pity, I realised HEY, if I want to keep being strong for others, I need to be strong myself and not stay down for too long.
And so I rose.
The pain is still there but I’ve learnt to cope. The struggle is real but I’m not afraid of it. Look, it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok for the strong to have their weak moments. I’m not saying you cannot crumble – you can, yes you definitely can. But rise you must, soar above the clouds and come back stronger than ever. Eventually, it’s gonna be ok.
People from the Rock The Naked Truth community reach out to me and I have to love myself first before I can help them and fully give love to them. I can’t let them down. I’m their Mama C.
So I learnt –
Before you give to others, you must first be filled yourself with your heart full. Love yourself truly, be proud of who you are, believe that you have what it takes. Only when you have filled your tank, you can then go on and give to others and make the world a better place. It has to come from within.
Sometimes we are surrounded by so much love but we fail to receive it fully because we choose to put on a cloak of darkness over our eyes. Don’t do that. Open your eyes and take a look around; embrace all the love, gratitude and positivity in their entirety. You deserve every bit of love given to you – don’t ever feel you are not worthy. ‘Cause you are, you freaking are.
I’m the kind that never goes down without a fight – I fight strongly for the people and the things I believe in, even if the odds are stacked against me, even if it means becoming exhausted to the core, even if it means being pushed to the end.
But you know what? The hardest part is not in the battle, but when to draw the line and back out. You’re not giving up; you’re just protecting yourself. Recognise when your time in someone’s life is up and walk away proud, knowing you have done everything you could, that you have done your best. Focus on the people who deserve your energy, effort and time.
There’s no victory or defeat here, just self-preservation.
Thereafter, take these scars as reminders of the lessons learnt. Use the experiences you have gained and lend support to others who are going deeper down the rabbit hole. Your past is worth more than all the pain you carried before. This hurt that you survived can now be used to console and strengthen other suffering souls. One day you will see these trials and tribulations are necessary in helping you pay it forward.
Allow yourself to change, allow yourself to evolve.
As you collect more of such life experiences, you will grow and develop to the next level. Your heart will realise that at some stages in life, you deserve something different from what you once wanted. Go on and change your appearance – get a new hairstyle (like I did), change your wardrobe (like I did), commit yourself to a sport (like I did). If these things help you to love yourself better, then don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Keep empowering yourself and fall back in love with yourself.
When your self-esteem is low, you attract toxicity and you end up thinking you don’t deserve more. Cut that shit out. In today’s harsh society that thrives on our insecurities, the best retort to that is to love yourself even more. You don’t have to do what’s expected of you, you don’t have to hang on to someone else’s words. You go and discover what sets your heart on fire and start pursuing your dreams again.
There is nothing wrong with starting over – go on and push the reboot button.
Self-love is the key to finding your own happiness, without being dependent on others for validation. Self-love is being able to stand on your own feet not just in good times, but especially in bad times. Self-love is being whole and not needing someone to make you complete. Self-love is recognising that your self-worth is from strength within and not reliant on others. Dig deep to find the strength from within and you will be surprised at how strong you actually are. YOU are worth it. YOU can do it. Just do you; find your own happiness. And don’t let anyone take that away from you.
Those who matter will lift you up and embrace your change. Growth is a journey, not an end point. Allow yourself to be who you have always wanted to be and don’t let anyone eclipse your personality or disrupt your path to greatness.
Lastly – always, always remember to look around and embrace all the love being given to you, by friends and family who believe in you. There is no shame in leaning on others for support and finding strength in them. I made a promise to the Rock The Naked Truth community that I will never give up on them and this is a pledge I will see through to the end, as we grow together.
So to all who never stopped believing in me, thank you for teaching me to find courage in times and places I never thought possible. I’ve got your back too – and we will rise together as one.
It’s been rough, but one day at a time, this too shall pass.
And I will still rise.
“One day it just clicks. You realise what’s important and what isn’t. You learn to care less about what other people think and more about what you think of yourself. You realise how far you’ve come and you remember when you thought things were such a mess that you would never recover. And you smile. You smile because you are truly proud of yourself and the person you’ve fought to become.”
Here are two songs that empowered me and I just wanted to share them with you: