The Importance of *Real* Calm

Three years ago, I started a new life.

I returned to a place not too far from where I was born, happy to be home. For many years, I lived abroad, far removed from everything that was familiar. My life across the pond wasn’t exactly peaceful, so I moved back with hopes of finding much-needed serenity. Of course I knew I would have to readjust to living back home, but being able to see my mother regularly was of great comfort. The peace was short-lived; several months following our return, chaos ensued and it’s continued to this day.

Amid all the philosophical declarations that life is not fair, shit happens, life sucks, it’s always calmest before the storm, etc., I beg to differ. I’m in the process of learning how to find my peace, regardless of what’s happening around me because I believe there’s real value in doing so. I don’t want to feel that calmness is just an illusion anymore. I’ve spent a large chunk of my life hiding behind a fake smile, assuring everyone that I was okay when I really wasn’t. Being in an abusive relationship will do that to a person; to the outside world, we present a brave smile to hide the chaos that’s really taking place inside of us. Illusory Calm.

I learned to stop pretending. What good was it doing me? None. How could I allow myself to fall apart without anyone knowing I was? What was so wrong with admitting that all was not okay with me? Nothing. The path to calm and serenity started with the acknowledgment that it was absent from my life. I couldn’t “wing it” forever. I realized that, to gain what I was missing, I had to declare that it was missing and figure out how to get it back.

One of the hardest lessons was learning how to ask for help and, in doing so, I felt more empowered. The way I see it, it’s a personal declaration that I won’t let circumstances get the better of me and if I need reinforcements to stop me from feeling overwhelmed, so be it.

This post is for everyone who’s experienced ~ or may be experiencing ~ “illusory calm”.

Isn’t it time we enjoyed a sense of real calm? Yes, I think so too.

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6 thoughts on “The Importance of *Real* Calm

  1. Though I know the situation is vastly different than yours Carol, this really rang true for me. I’m tired of pretending all is well with me these days. It does not help the situations, but I do feel its better saying to people I’m sad rather than putting a fake smile on. Not every moment of the day, or not every day, but I’m tired of faking it. Thank you for this post and these wise words.I’m too wrapped up in the emotions right now to seek serenity (think I’m still on the denial and anger stage right now) but this post helped me see that I need to get past that as soon as I can. Thank you friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think that people mean well when they encourage us by saying we’re strong and “will get through” whatever we’re going through…and we do get through it.

      However…hearing the “you’re strong” pep talk made me feel like I had to live up to expectations, regardless of how bad things got and we somehow lose the courage to say, “Hey, you know what? I’m not handling this stuff very well” for fear of being thought of as “weak” or whatever. What we must remember is that we can’t be strong all the time because it’s exhausting! It’s okay {and necessary!} to let someone else care for us for a while. And that admitting that we need help takes more courage and strength than “pretending” we’re okay because the stress associated with that WILL catch up with us, whether we like it or not.

      Please take care of yourself and remember, you always have my ear and shoulder, should you need it. {Big hugs!}

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes you are right I go through days where I feel strong, and others where I feel like curling up in a ball. Again, its nothing like your situation was but I agree with the way you put it. And yeah, the pep talks, though well meaning can be misdirected. Each day is different, but it sure helps knowing people like you are in my life to help. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I know that illusory calm all too well… And it does no one any good. A brave face is just that, only brave. It’s not necessarily truthful or a lie, but in most cases is used to substitute a lie.
    Sure, it makes you weak to be vulnerable but it also makes you strong. You can grow from being vulnerable. You cannot grow from faking, which anyone who wants to hide something does too often. It’s not good for anyone. Ever.
    Thanks for sharing Carol! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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