Reframing Our Story


14 Jun, 2022

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared a lot with you on this blog, more than I’ve ever shared about myself or my journey in a public setting. I’m hoping that my thoughts have shown you that even though life can dish out some, well, let’s not mix our words, shitty times, we can take those struggles and reframe how our stories will continue to play out.

Last week I had the gut-wrenching, terrifying realization of just how much of myself I shared in both previous blogs and my businesses. Negative thoughts began to flood my mind, almost like voices. “Kim, who cares what you say? People are going to think you’re full of yourself. What makes you think you’re so important?” They kept swirling around my mind as I lay in bed, trying to get them to shut up, begging them to just let me fade into the sweet relief of sleep. Just as I was about to give in to a full-blown argument with myself, I heard something hidden behind all of the fear. It was a quiet voice and mumbled something about how people speaking about their lives was the connection I’ve always promoted. The sharing of stories; an invitation to take a deep walk through another’s mind. It’s what both of my businesses encourage and what I believe connects all living people on this Earth (when we choose to listen). Instead of throwing judgment and hate, we could take a moment to walk in each other’s shoes, connect, hold space and realize that we are all fighting hidden battles.

With my mind already swirling, I gave in and focused on the louder, more persistent voices, and it wasn’t until a few nights later that I gave that tiny, mumbling voice center stage. Tuning out the fear, I heard, for the first time in a long time, the real me. The Kimberley without the frills, masks or guards. “Just be you!” She seemed to scream, “You have changed your life, inspired and can heal through sharing of stories.” I thought that side of me, the one with the mumbling voice, was insane, but then again, I was the one having the conversation with myself, so what did I really have to lose?

I listened some more about how I’ve always leaned into my darker side, and that’s where I’ve found my magic. Let me explain. I don’t think it’s possible for me to have experienced what I have and had my heart shattered so many times to just pretend I’m a person of light and love. I’ll never pretend that I am. It’s true, I do have those qualities, don’t get me wrong, but I’d say 50% of me is darkness. Beautiful, deep purples, rich reds, shades of black. Darkness, if I’m honest, is the best part of me.

This is where the lessons I’ve learned live alongside my creative expression. The heartache through the years could have eaten me alive and drowned out all hope, but instead, I seem to have been able to find inspiration from the scars. When I lean into the pain, it’s almost like colours pour from within and weave themselves into magical scripts and images on canvas. They drip with emotion and feeling while giving off the scent of forgiveness and connection. The words dance to tell a story, the poetry wraps around the heart, healing the fissures and the images bridge the gaps like a thread.

My darkness has also helped me accept and comfort those who are usually feared or forgotten. Although I no longer am in a professional position working at the hospice and caring for those on their next journey through life, I can remember looking at someone in the bed not necessarily with complete sadness but rather marvelling at their strength, wisdom and love. As morbid as this may sound, there’s magic in all aspects of the human trafficking ontario journey, and at the end of our physical one, it almost seems as though we transition into another form, a caterpillar becoming a butterfly if you will. The energy of the room changes, and as they take their last breath, although I have to fight back the tears of loss, I’m hopeful for a new beginning. Of course, during the process, my heart always reaches out to that person and comforts them and their families, but I believe that there is a new beginning for every end. No matter how bittersweet, there could be no fresh starts or adventure to look forward to without an end.

I told you, a little bit morbid, right? I’ve never actually said these words to anyone in the past, so if you’re reading this, thank you for allowing me to speak my truth.

I think many of us fear the darkness, and I can admit I did too for a long time, but there’s something so comforting and loving about it. I’ve realized that whatever we fear in the darkness is actually there in the light, too. By facing my fears, without vision, I can instead see with my other senses, bringing forth different aspects of the “monsters” I would regularly have missed. I can lead perhaps with my heart or by touch and paint a more accurate picture of what is causing me to become fearful because, let’s face it, my eyes often deceive me.

A few nights ago, as those negative voices began to speak of how I would be judged, maybe even ridiculed for my honesty, I didn’t fight back. I didn’t try to tune them out; instead, I looked into the darkness and let that other mumbling voice speak louder. Bare with me on this “craziness”, but I literally let the two sides take the floor and speak. Listening in, I could hear the fears and hurt that I had buried deep within. I could see that, yes, I’d done so much work over the past few years and grown tremendously, but there were areas of neglect that needed to be held, spoken to and recognized. I was shocked. I honestly thought I had released my past, patched up the rough spots and moved on with my life.

The truth was, and is, that life is an ongoing journey and you never truly “finish” with self-learning or growth. Just when you feel you’re completely healed and grounded, something will come along to knock you off your feet again and teach you another lesson. The trick is to know and expect these earthquakes and welcome the ah-ha moments that they present. This time around for me I was reminded of my love for the darkness, that I, too, am allowed to share my truth and embrace the weird and scary moments with an open heart.