Waves of words crash onto the shower breaking up the flow of thought. I’ve kept so much inside that I cannot choose a path to walk down, I feel overwhelmed. Over the years, trauma and fear have built up these stories that are fine tuned with guilt and instead of sharing that truth, I chose to share small highlights of joy. Thus painting a very different picture.

Joy, love, celebration, and connection are all pieces of my life as well. Duality has always been present within my life experiences, but now as I try to pull up these memories and scenarios I have to wonder why I’ve been lying to myself.

I feel like a fraud.

I so often shared photos of beauty when in reality I was deep in moments of pain and turbulence. I offered classes and preached about present moment, deep breaths, and self reflection, when the truth of my existence was sitting on disassociating and coping mechanisms.

I covered up for people who hurt me.

I covered up for moments of fear.

I covered up for myself when I couldn’t face what was in front of me.

And I did a damn good job.

I’m almost 30 and I’m just now beginning to peel the layers back to expose some harsh truths.

This is hard.

I come face to face with a part of me that didn’t care about herself, only cared about how I could please others and perform for the image that society placed on my lap.

I play with the narrative that I gave my body away to too many people who didn’t truly care for me. But I am faced with some clarity when I realize that I didn’t give myself away, my body was taken from me time and time again. I didn’t know how to fight for myself. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I didn’t want to cause a riff or stir the pot or shake the boat or get myself hurt.

I went along with things that, in hindsight, were presented to me to break me down. To strip away my power and control and autonomy.

I grew up in a bubble.

A well maintained image of the perfect family in a beautifully cultivated city called Parkland, Florida. Though we traveled often, I didn’t experience the rawness of the human race. I saw the privilege and the sculpted pieces of what money could provide. I felt the way we were treated and how we were free to be. I believe that we were untouchable, that our life was unpoppable.

Until it popped.

And that’s when I ran.

I ran into the opposite end of the spectrum.

Where real life begins and fantasy world ends.

I saw pain, felt pain, caused pain, and fell into the hands of people who knew how vulnerable I was.

I was groomed, harassed, assaulted, mentally abused, mislead, belittled, and emotionally hurt.

I quickly dove into a space where I felt like I had to please everyone to avoid conflict. I became the ultimate people pleaser in almost every aspect of my life. And instead of running from it, I tried to flourish. I tried to paint this picture that I loved the spontaneity and the fleeing. I was showing people my whole life in a series of pictures where it’s obvious that I was on the run (from myself).

There were moments of beauty and friendship and love and joy. However, those moments were quickly pushed away as I ran through the rat race of life waiting/expecting to crash at any given moment.

Though it was a mental crash I was anticipating, it came in physical form many different times.

Car crashes, bike accidents, engine failures, head injuries, all of which should have slowed me down but instead just shifted the destructive energy into a new direction.

I was lost and hopeless and drowning in other peoples stories until I came to a full stop.

In March of 2014 I took an intensive 3 week yoga teacher training. The schedule was Monday to Saturday from 9-4. We took 3 yoga classes per day with lecture, reflection, and workshops in between.

I had no intention of being a teacher as I was afraid of my own voice. Instead I saw it as an opportunity to experience my body and the physical strength that I had accumulated over many years of being a very active person. I needed control over something so I decided to gain control over the way my physical body appeared.

Three weeks of intense emotional, mental, and physical exercise pushed me into the first trap door that I had been actively avoiding.

I got a peek of myself and I felt how much pain I was in.

On the day we were all scheduled to do a “practice class”, I had a full blown anxiety attack. Physical back pain, mental instability, and a whole lot of tears. I begged my teacher to excuse me, I told her I didn’t want to teach so I don’t have to pass this portion of the training. I waited for everyone else to go but didn’t hear a word they said. I was trapped in my head because I was about to expose myself and my vulnerabilities.

This was a breakthrough moment.

And I did it.

I was shaken and unsure of myself but it was a taste of my own power, my own voice, and that was when I gained traction on my own life again.

Unfortunately traction does not equate to healing, it only means I started moving forward in a direction where I was starting to speak for myself.

The years that followed were confusing, repetitive, painful, scary, vulnerable, and challenging as I had to undo a lot of emotional/behavioral patterns I had leaned on.

And I’ll follow up on that another time.

Deep breath.

Unlearning is hard.

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