This feeling only comes in two sizes: regular, can’t shake this vexing sensation but still able to function, and extra large, paralyzing, life-stopping, all-consuming. If you allow this unwanted guest to sneak past the bouncer of extra large you can pretty much say hello to an eternity of bumping and grinding with this guy in the nightclub of hell. When he comes looking for you in your modest skirt and smoothed hair, assuming invincibility because you don’t flaunt yourself around like a floozy, you need to stop, drop, and roll off the bus leading you down the one-way highway to the danger zone . Trust me, you do not want to let this guy anywhere near you, your hopes, your future, your children, even your dog. He will squash your dreams and eat your confidence for breakfast after he ravages your body and your sanity all through the night. He steals your identity and transforms you into a small, frightened child. His presence prickles your hair and dries your mouth. With your heart beating like a conga drum, he wraps his icy fingers around your tender throat, daring you to call out his name. But you can’t reveal his identity. Like the metaphorical, rough-skinned, plain-as-day elephant in the room, your friends know of his presence, but remain silent. The responsibility lies in you, not them. You don’t make decisions anymore; he does. Left to fend for yourself, with your ever increasing insecurity, doubt, and self-loathing, you may never make it out alive, or at least as a healthy, fully functioning adult.
The only antidote—confidence, compassion, dare I say love. Acknowledge your attacker and move on. Don’t think that you must show him compassion; don’t let your guilt trip you into giving him an inch. Have compassion on yourself instead because he won’t just take an inch—he’ll take a foot, your leg, your whole body and mind. If you do feel guilty or like you have suddenly diminished to the size of a pinhead, feel guilty that you don’t love yourself enough. Then take a deep breath, give yourself a good once over in the mirror, slam the door on that greedy little monster’s face, and go (or rather skip) on your merry way, bidding farewell to this unwelcome elephant, unencumbered and free.