The Vulnerability Challenge

#TheVulnerabilityChallenge: Numbing my soul with alcohol (Day 18)

hiding from who we are
Hayley Stanton
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Hayley Stanton

Director & Coach at Quiet Connections
Hayley shares her personal stories of feeling shy, socially anxious, ‘not good enough’ and fearfully avoiding the good things in life. Growing her confidence through coaching, gradually stretching her comfort zone and connecting with others, she now uses everything she has learned to help other people grow their confidence in her role as a coach. Hayley is passionate about connecting people with similar stories and creating safe, supportive spaces to make friends and try new things. Hayley dreams of a time when all of the strengths, skills and goodness in ‘quiet’ is recognised and appreciated as readily as being bold, gregarious, and comfortable in the spotlight is right now.
Hayley Stanton
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#TheVulnerabilityChallenge Day 18

Trying to hide from who I am

How we are just broken hearts,
Wasting time here in this bar,
Trying to hide from who we are,
Or is it just me?

– Hinder

These lyrics took me back. Back to a time when I felt so much pain and desperation. I longed for connection, to feel like I belonged somewhere. My broken heart in all it’s armour was lonely, yet it guarded me from closeness. I felt jealous and insecure.

Every moment of every day was an internal battle. Part of me obsessed over feeling love and belonging. Part of me sabotaged any chance I had in an effort to keep me from rejection. This part was determined to keep me small. Hidden. Undesirable. Disconnected. But safe. This part of me was strong. It had the backing of my own thoughts and beliefs – that I was flawed and unlovable.

I learned to quieten that isolating voice through alcohol. Only when I was drunk could I be free of this self-hatred. Only then I would feel like I could be a part of something. Like maybe I had something to offer. This was when I noticed how much fun I could be. How chatty I could be. And how other people thought I was worth their time and attention.

And this was when I wasn’t truly me.

Alcohol didn’t just numb those painful feelings, it numbed the good in me too. With carefree confidence came impulsiveness and a fickle-heart. In the light of day I was consumed with the shame of speaking and behaving out of character. Despite this, that uninhibited girl left me feeling like I had something impossible to live up to in my sober moments. I’d choose to become her every time I could. Because, back then, I believed she was the best I could be in life.

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