For months I sat at a table that never felt 100 percent authentic, truth be told, it almost destroyed me. So why did I stay and what was the turning point?
It was 2002, after years of sitting alone, doing my thing, I was finally invited to the table. The table where laughter filled the air abundantly, whispers brought smiles, and everyone appeared to be happy. The table was filled with women I thought I looked up to. Women that were often recognized and applauded, women that appeared to be successful in many ways.
My invitation meant I became one of them.
It wasn’t long after I was invited to the table, that I started to feel lost. This was not my table and in fact, the table was very broken. I spiraled into questioning everything. Who was I? If I left the table what would happen? Would I be successful without the table? Can I do this alone? I’m nothing unless I’m at this table…
So, I stayed, I worked my tail off to sit at this table, to maintain my invitation. To be recognized by what I thought was the elite. I turned into something I wasn’t, in order to be included or perhaps, in order to not feel alone. I shifted the way I taught, the way I talked and even adjusted my integrity in order to be seen. I was young and I thought this was what I had to do. I also craved connection and after years of struggling to find solid friendships, I was ready to do whatever it took to sit at this table.
I believe we have all found ourselves at a broken table before, yet until we are on our knees, trying to excuse ourselves, we believe the table is grand. We even work hard to bring others to the table. We glaze over what is broken, because we are finally seen and heard, or perhaps we are lonely. I know for myself; it was a combination.
So, I sat at this table until I realized I could no longer be something I wasn’t.
I didn’t recognize myself and if I’m honest, I was invited to the table because of what I could offer not because of who I was. I was a giver, willing to take on the to do list. I was the only one without children and so I stayed late to get things done for myself and others. I worked 15 plus hour days.
I was a people pleaser, and a broken table was exactly the push I needed to heal.
Was it easy to leave? In some ways yes, but in other ways, no. If I left, I would be alone. If I left, I would be talked about. If I left people would question my integrity.
What I didn’t realize was-standing alone, staying true to myself, and going against the grain, would bring me more peace than being accepted at a table that appeared to be the best, but hidden behind layers- it was broken.
And so, I left. My eyes were opened in so many ways, but the most important vision I had was of me. I needed to be fine at a table of one. I had a lot of healing to do and needed to find myself. I was not worthy because of the table I sat at; I was worthy simply because I was born worthy.
My days of people pleasing were coming to an end. The table was broken, and I was ready to heal.