5 Revealing Excerpts from Suzie Carr’s New Anthology
Revealing excerpts from my chapter in the new anthology, “I Bared My Chest: 21 Unstoppable Women Get Naked” show vulnerability is the best cure for fear! I blog and podcast often about facing fears by learning how to live authentically and unapologetically. This truthful anthology certainly caused me to take a good hard look inside myself. In doing so, I learned that vulnerability leads to action. I also discovered that action will always serve me better than standing still in the murk of stagnation.
Revealing Excerpts from Suzie’s Chapter:
I was bullied as a very young child, bullied to the point I lost my voice and was petrified to speak out loud to anyone but those in my immediate family. To pull my voice back out of me, school counselors met with my parents and created a reward system. If I was heard reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I could bake a cake (one of my most favorite things to do at the time.)
As I stirred that cake mix and felt the overflowing love and joy from my parents, I felt shameful. Why? Because I took pleasure in something that I didn’t earn. I most certainly did not recite any murmur of a word out loud that day, yet I grabbed hold of that reward like I had deserved it for all its glory.
That day I changed.. Even at six years old, I knew that if I didn’t face the facts and deal with my fears, I would forever be a slave to them. I’d spend my life reaping rewards I hadn’t deserved. From that day on, I made a decision to earn whatever I was given. I would never feel okay with baking another proverbial cake, otherwise. My big takeaway from childhood: trust, respect, and rewards are earned. I have the love of my parents to thank for that revelation.
Over the past few years, specifically those years leading into my forties, I put a lot of pressure on maintaining my youth. I feared losing it. From early teenage years into my forties, I always focused way too much on what my body wasn’t versus what it was. I didn’t have cute little ab muscles. I also didn’t have a long waistline leading to a beautiful navel. Additionally, I hated my thin my lips. I always wanted mine to be plump and rosy. And let’s not even talk about the pale color of my skin. Yes, in all my nakedness, I am here to fully admit that I’ve never happy with the full glance of that reflection in my mirror.
As I matured, though, and began to experience the sadness of witnessing friends and family go through their battles with cancer, my perspective shifted. Despite their challenges, they still managed to smile from the heart and through their eyes. What I saw was pure beauty shining through. Suddenly, my gratitude for health superseded any vain thought towards what sat on the surface. It’s what’s beneath the surface that truly matters and what makes a person beautiful.
I’m a curious soul, always questioning and always learning. We don’t always like what the answers are when we poke around. But it’s in this questioning that we find our true selves. My journey through spirituality has brought me to the brim of joy and sorrow. I know in my heart that I am not alone. When it really matters, like in the moments when I thought I had cancer, when I suffered a pregnancy loss, when my friend died, when I lost my sweet dog, Sunshine, God was by my side. I felt Him. He walked me through those painful moments, never allowing me to feel I walked without support.
Since my late teenage years, up until just about five years ago, I struggled with my sexuality. Struggled because I had kept it secret for so long, and the longer a secret is held, the more it digs its claws into the sensitive parts of your soul. Brought up Catholic, I was made to feel shame for holding feelings that didn’t match the ideals of the teachings. I always felt there was something wrong and dirty about me because I found both male and females attractive. Then, one day in adulthood, one of my best friends came out to me. She fell in love with a woman and felt safe in telling me her secret. She also grew up Catholic, and felt haunted by her feelings. It was then that my eyes opened to the reality that I was not alone, and that I was not a bad person.
One of the most painful turning points of my life came from a truth I didn’t want to hear. If it wasn’t for this person dealing me a big dose of reality at that time, I wouldn’t be who I am today – a determined, focused person who never gave up. I looked up to this person, and when she turned her back on me at what I thought was a critical time in my life, the surprise blow doubled me over in a pain I’d never experienced. Her respect had meant the world to me. When I asked for support to help me through a challenging period, her refusal and harsh judgment of my character left a gash too deep to stitch up and forget about.
Fifteen years later, I look back on this tipping point period and am grateful. That pain caused me to move, to charge ahead, to let go of comfort and discover myself. Today, I am a much more determined and focused woman as a result of someone being brave enough to tell me the truth. This important person knew I had bigger and greater things in store for me, and didn’t want to watch me toss that away by taking the easy way out. For that I will forever be grateful.
Read more of my chapter, and the remarkable stories of 20 other unstoppable women.