WARNING: this one has a little length to it but had to get my background story out to you all! Hope you enjoy!!
Self-Love… what a crazy concept. It has taken me 25 years to really start delving into what it means to love yourself. I have always said my whole life, “of course I love myself! why would I not love myself?”
I would tell myself I was worthy, I would tell myself I was normal, I would tell myself I was unique and beautiful, but I was lying to myself because I did not actually believe these things.
My family would tell me I was worthy, they would tell me I was unique and beautiful (never normal though they knew better than that 🙂 ) but I never believed them. I told myself they said these things because they were my family and they had to feel that way.
I did NOT love myself.
As much as I tried to love myself, every morning when I looked in the mirror all I saw were my flaws. I picked myself apart so much before I even left my house that it became impossible to love myself.
Constantly comparing myself to others, so wrapped up in fear of others thoughts and judgments towards me, I was paralyzed.
I remember the first time I attempted to suck my tummy in to hide my disgusting fat roll for a class picture. I was 8 years old.
High school consisted of puking almost every morning before I entered my classroom due to nerves, literally not being able to speak back to fellow classmates when talked to because of anxiety clenching my throat shut, on and off eating disorders, mild thoughts of suicide, and of course I wore a fabulous mask to hide all of this from my few friends and my family.
It honestly got to the point that I didn’t even know who “myself” was anymore because whoever that person was, was so disliked and unworthy in my mind that I put all my energy into not being that person.
Such a crazy mind twist you can play on yourself.
As I exited high school at 17 years old, more lost and scared than ever before, I became determined to lose those uncomfortable feelings of not knowing who you are or where you belong.
So, I took myself and my suitcase full of self-image and self-confidence issues, and extreme social anxiety and I catapulted myself into the box of a world I now refer to as American Society or the “American Dream”.
I needed to start the cycle of events that were going to make my life complete and make me feel whole and successful and worthy of someone else’s love.
Over the next 7 years I jumped on the roller-coaster of going to college, dropping out of college, going back to college, flunking out of college, multiple degree changes, student loans piling up faster than one can realize, and then landing a job waiting tables making more money than I ever would in my “chosen career path”. Oh, and let us not forget that that fabulous mask that I wore in high school was practically super glued to my face by this point.
As I was riding this high -speed roller coaster all I wanted to do was scream a murderous scream, loud enough to break the mirror that always revealed the reflection of this person I hated so much, but I couldn’t even do that because my anxiety was still clenching my throat shut.
I couldn’t stand it anymore! I needed to find a release or a solution, and to the rescue came my good friend the bottle, full of that sweet boozy nectar I now refer to as death.
But ohhh boy did I think I found a solution to my problem. Get a few drinks in me and I felt that my whole world had changed. It became my social clutch. It let loose the person I had been avoiding for so long, and it turned out people could actually stand being around that person…
But the booze was not enough. I quickly caught wind of ADHD medications and had to get my hands on some. I knew it was going to make me lose a bunch of weight which is what I felt was holding me back from people liking me… because I was fat and ugly. I truly thought that if I could lose some weight that I would find a boyfriend, and an awesome group of girlfriends and would forever be happy.
So, to the family counselor I went…
I lied out my ass for one counseling session and the prescription was in my hand. Easy peasy lemon squeezy… 70 mg per day of Vyvanse I was now super woman.
Within one month I was 20 lbs. lighter, was drinking heavily (more than before), and empty American spirit packs were quickly accumulating on the floor board of my car.
Let’s not forget to mention the Adderall I began snorting on top of my already high dose of Vyvanse.
Life was grand.
I had never felt so confident and happy with myself in my entire life. Now, I am not saying that all my self-confidence issues and anxiety disappeared but a drastic change had taken place. I could talk to boys for the first time in my life, I finally lost my virginity to a guy whose name I have a hard time remembering now, I had friends, and I could walk into a public establishment by myself with-out fear crippling my insides.
I continued down this path living the high life for a couple years before the side effects of methamphetamines started really taking a toll. My body hurt deep into my bones. My organs were yelling at me. My skin was getting a yellowish tint to it. I was extremely irritable and moody. I could not stand my family members, I had no appetite, I never slept and if I did was never refreshed or revived, and that loneliness and unworthiness was stronger now than ever before. I put up with it for close to one more year before deciding that the positive side effects of all that I was doing was no longer out weighing the negative side effects.
The Adderall was already in the past, and the booze and the cigarettes were wrapped tight around my little finger and were not going anywhere, so Vyvanse had to go.
I began seeing a naturopath who recommended weening off the pills, but I wanted it out of my body. I didn’t have a month to slowly stop pumping myself with methamphetamines. So out the window went the pills, all my paper prescriptions were ripped and crumpled and I roughly tumbled my way through a week and a half or so of withdrawal.
It was not easy but I knew it is what needed to be done. The depression and feelings of unworthiness and unhappiness came flying at me like a semi-truck cruising down highway 97. I slept for at least a week straight aside from going to work. I had no desire to be around people. I smoked a lot of weed (thank god for weed during all this btw), and probably ate more food in two weeks than I had in three years.
As the weight began to pile back on my midsection those disgusting thoughts towards myself crushed me to pieces.
It was about this time that I discovered Tinder and cocaine… from one extreme to the next… that’s how I like to roll…
I began filling that loneliness with boys and sex. Jumping from one tinder hook up to the next trying so fucking hard to fill that emptiness. But it only grew worse. I thought that having sex with all these boys was going to make me feel loved and wanted, beautiful and whole. All it did was tear me apart. I would hit it off with some deliciously handsome fella, sleep with him (normally on the first date) and most the time never hear back from them. In the handful of relations that were a little longer than a one night stand there was a lot of cheating and lying and even more heartbreak.
Why couldn’t I find a boy who actually likes me for me? All these boys were using me for was a sexy dance partner and a quickie after a show at the domino room.
I knew that hooking up with someone was not the best way to find a boyfriend which is what I so desperately desired, but I truly felt that I had to sleep with these boys in order to be liked by any of them, and eventually one of them would stay. Right?
Nope Nope Nope that is not how my cookie crumbled. I spent almost two solid years playing this game. Going out multiple nights a week normally with a different boy who would buy me drinks, give me drugs and make me feel loved… until morning that is when the hangover kicked in and I was doing the walk of shame back to my car downtown.
Throughout all this nonsense believe it or not I was a preschool teacher. Preschool teacher by day slut by night that’s what I used to say… I pulled it off so well because that mask I plastered on in high school was no longer a mask it was now a part of me. I prided myself in being the best possible teacher I could be. I loved those children and their families so damn much, I could never let them see the real me outside of work.
Those children I worked with were the only things keeping me going. They brought so much simplicity, love, light, laughter and joy into my life. I fell in love with each and every one of them and it was through working with these children that I realized that I was once like them too. So, full of love and happiness for myself and for others. This realization brought up so many questions for myself… when did I lose sight of this? Why did I lose sight of this? How do I get this back?
By now things were getting pretty bad. I was an emotional mess all the time!! I could barely keep it together at work anymore. Once I would get all my kids to sleep in the nap room I would sit in there and cry because it was all I could do anymore. I was beginning to realize that because of my mental and emotional state of being I was no longer providing the children with what I thought to be what they deserved. Not to say I was neglecting my students or not carrying out my duties as a teacher but I felt I could not fully be there for them anymore because I was so torn down and distracted by my own life.
This is when I decided a drastic change was needed. It was time to lighten my load and take a backpack to Hawaii. I gave notice to my job which actually took me 5 months to finally be done with because I loved that place and everyone there so much. I picked up a second job waiting tables through the summer to be able to save up enough money to make this trip happen, and I started getting rid of all my belongings. I found a yoga retreat center that I was going to volunteer at and submerge my life into yoga and meditation. Hoping to find some clarity and guidance.
By August something had changed… I decided I was not going to Hawaii. I canceled plans, tried to get a ticket refund (what a joke lol) and continued down the path I had been going down for years now. I blamed my change in plans on financial reasons, family issues and a handful of other things but in reality, it was fear that made me change my mind.
Fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of not knowing what it was I was looking for FEAR FEAR FEAR.
I fucking hate fear!
Thankfully at the end of September I met this boy one night after a show. Of course, I was really fucked up (I honestly barley remember meeting him), and woke up in bed with him the next morning. Him and his friends were traveling through the area heading down to rainbow gathering in Nor Cal. Their car was broken down and they were stuck in bend for the week. I was housesitting at the time so they crashed with me and it was a week full of sex and booze and all that good stuff I kept using to drowned my sorrows. Thankfully though, this boy was a gift from mama Maui… He had spent his last two winters in Hawaii… we spent hours talking about the islands and he kept telling me to just buy my ticket and go. I don’t need money I don’t need plans he kept saying if I am supposed to be there the islands will take care of me, and that is exactly what they did.
As tempted as I was to jump in the car and go to rainbow gathering with them I waved goodbye as they drove off in their little red beater of a car. The next day I re-booked my flight to Hawaii found a hippie commune to stay at and really started getting rid of my belongings.
On Tuesday November 11th 2015 I was dropped off deep in the jungle of the Puna district on the Big Island of Hawaii. Upon entering this hippie commune at the end of the red road I had never felt my body tremble in fear the way it did that night. It was Tuesday night which meant community taco feed and drum circle. There was probably 40-50 trippin’ hippies eating and dancing and laughing and singing… having a grand ole time… I was completely frozen.
I stayed at this community for 5 days, barley could talk to anyone because I was so crippled in fear. Shaken up by culture shock, and unsure of how to deal with the intense masculine energy controlling the commune. I had no cell service which meant I was unable to contact anyone from back home making the situation even more terrifying. I hadn’t cried all week, I hadn’t laughed all week, I was not angry, I was not happy… all I was, was FEAR.
On the fifth morning of being there I woke up in my tent and started crying. I sat there and cried like I have never cried before. Sobbing hysterically, unable to breath it was like nothing I’d ever felt before. As I sat there and cried I started to feel empowered. I decided to myself I needed to venture out of the commune. In order to do this I was going to have to lighten my load. I brought way too much with me and couldn’t hitch out with it all, so for the next hour I sat in my tent and continued to cry while I prioritized my belongings.
That day was the biggest turning point in my journey to self-love….
For three months, I stayed on the Big Island bouncing around to different communities and properties. Crossing paths with so many amazing beautiful human beings. Eating psychedelics for the first time. Connecting to the Aina in a way I never imagined possible. Healing my scars and my pain through ecstatic dance. I let everything about that magical island begin to heal me from the inside out.
After three months, I went to Maui with a group of friends and continued down the path of healing and loving myself. I remember my third day on Maui I was sitting on the beach by myself. I had just finished a little yoga session and I decided to try meditation with a carnelian stone that was given to me by an amazing brother. I held this stone to my chest and imagined its light and energy pulsing through me. I meditated on this for maybe 5 minutes or so before the tears came flooding out of me.
Hysterically crying and then laughter. So much laughter and disbelief. This was the moment I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so at peace with myself. No anxiety, no fear, no judgment. Just peace and acceptance. To this day, it was one of the most magical empowering feelings I have ever felt.
After that meditation, I began writing in my journal and these words literally flew out of me…
Today my heart aches in so many ways
it aches from the pain endured in past days.
It aches from the shadows that hide it away.
It aches from the touches both good and both bad.
But mostly it aches for the love not yet had.
My heart strings are tugging they want to break free.
They want the world to see the real me.
The darkness, the lightness the good and the bad.
Mind set it free, before I go mad.
Breath it all in, breath it all out.
Let the turquoise waves was away all your doubt.
The stars are aligning, while mountains your climbing.
Once reached the top shout it all out.
Let the world hear the ringing of the love in your heart.
Let your soul float about like delicate art.
The world around you has taken you in.
Building you up from deep within.
Stand tall and remember your heart will shine through
if you laugh and you smile and stay true to you.
After this moment, I felt that there was no turning back. Through the rest of my time in Hawaii and the months following that, all I could focus on was letting my heart shine through!
Through my adventures, my reflection, and my drastic growth I found where I went wrong so many years ago. I found where my unhappiness lied. And I found what I needed to change in order to live a happy life!
Stay tuned with my blog as I continue to share stories, memories, adventures, opinions, facts, recipes, prayers, poems, and much more that have all been a part of my healing journey to self-love.