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So, this is not a timeline story.
It’s not a detailed life outline sharing who did what and how others hurt me.
Because when it comes down to it, that’s not what life is about.
This is a narrative of soul.
Of my soul, returning to itself.
As a child, I experienced a lot of confusing times. I don’t remember a time when my parents really got along, but I do remember the ugly divorce, the confusion, the feelings of deep inner turmoil and knowing that something was not right.
Throughout that season from age 5 to age 12, I navigated numerous court appearances, mandated counseling sessions, visitations (both supervised and unsupervised), and tried my best to support myself, my sister, and my mother. This was a difficult stage, as every voice spoke a different truth. Looking back, this was my first experience with gaslighting. My primary goals were to keep myself together, speak up as needed, and try to understand who to trust in that chaotic world.
My high school years were a bit different, bringing with them a new step-dad, memories of the past clinging to me, trying to define what a healthy life looked like yet still trying to establish who I could trust.
I consider my young self as moderately self-aware and I consciously tried my best to create safety and build routines for myself – sometimes to the extreme. I felt safe within church and our local youth camp, so I made efforts to spend as much time as possible in those safe spaces.
But the real soul narrative was when I was alone.
I felt a calling.
I deep energy in my spirit.
Reminding me of who I was inside.
When I was alone, especially in nature, I felt this Divine spirit inside me reminding me that I was magical, I was beautiful, and the world is made for me.
Throughout my whole life I felt this.
It was like my intuition, but at a deep core level telling me that I could trust myself.
I feel it as an internal validation whenever I find a mentor or coach who resonates with me with the right advice at the right time.
I feel it as internal strength when a situation feels off, and my soul is asking me to speak up.
I feel it as internal peace when I’m in a space that I’m called to be in or doing what I am designed to do.
I feel it as internal harmony when I’m in nature and the earth is grounding me or the water is surrounding me.
It’s my inner magic.
My core self.
It’s my returning.
To jump back into the timeline, college was a unique space where I healed and was torn to bits at different times. I learned that life does not have to be as turbulent as I knew it to be. I also learned that old narratives and patterns can catch up with you if you don’t address and heal them at a root level. My evolving self did not yet understand how to achieve that and I continued some unhealthy patterns that I would later recognize, but I did discover freedom in other spaces. I developed lasting relationships with good people that were truly substantial to me and who were on their own journey of living in alignment.
Skipping ahead a bit, my journey continued with a season of almost “hibernation” where I was not ready to really dive into identifying or breaking patterns and I just made efforts to fit in. I struggled with panic attacks before I eventually settled into a sort of comfortable-ness. I still pursued some of my own dreams and grew as a small business owner, but I had not really released those old patterns or tapped into my magic at a root level. It was during this time that I developed a new business partnership that would change my life.
See, the thing is, when you’re living in a state of “hibernation” and comfort, that deep inner voice has a hard time being heard. Staying comfortable easily turns into people-pleasing so that “comfort” is not lost. This can seem to serve you for a while, but in my case, I did not recognize that my efforts to keep my comfort by people-pleasing was counterproductive to my achieving a healthy psyche. It was ultimately hurting me, not helping me.
Even amidst my hibernation state, I started to feel pangs of discomfort in my physical and mental body when something was off. Noticing this, I began me speak up, only to be met with dismissive reasons why I was wrong, needed therapy, was less self-aware or just needed to “trust”. It wasn’t always this extreme, sometimes it was just their circling back to ask if something else that was bothering me. Whatever the case, the response unequivocally pointed the problem back to me and my perceptions.
There is so much I could say here, but this is where I would like to introduce more information about gaslighting and how my journey with Coaching began.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that where an individual causes someone to begin questioning their own sanity.
Because I grew up in such a polarizing atmosphere, I never fully grasped how to discern if someone was “for” or “against” me. Thus, when an individual would communicate negatively with me, yes it felt off, but I discounted my own intuition based on the belief they were “for me”. I gave validity to their words, based on a false understanding of their intent. I accepted the premise that everything was my fault, that I needed to work harder, be more creative, be more collaborative, etc. Occasionally I would stand up for myself, but when continually met with disapproval and rejection, I felt as though my standing up for myself was perpetuating the problem instead of helping to resolve it.
Over time, this denial of self caused my body to express more prominent symptoms. It was like this dormant trauma from my childhood was awakened and my body could no longer live in this state of impotent accommodation. I became fatigued, fearful, lost my creativity, I developed cystic acne, and had a recurrent migraine that would keep me bedridden unless covering the pain heavily with medication in an effort to work.
After a few months of this, my husband found a well-qualified chiropractor (check out my podcast episode with her HERE) who was able to support me in starting to notice I was in this state of constant Fight or Flight. She helped me decrease my inflammation and also worked with me on releasing some of the frustration and anger I was carrying in my body.
As I worked with my doctor, my spirit began to have enough space to speak again. I was brave enough to start speaking up more frequently and with a bit more certainty. Alongside my bravery, I felt the voice inside me begin to remind me of all the times I had the support of a mentor and how that facilitated my growth. I began my search and discovered the wonder that is life coaching (something I was completely unfamiliar with). After a period of researching, I applied to work with my coach and from the first session it was like a light bulb went on inside me.
She guided me on a journey back to me.
After hearing some of my story, she provided me resources, shared her own story with me, and opened my eyes to gaslighting. With her support, I learned to speak more clearly and with more confidence, to trust my gut, and to start setting healthy boundaries.
This journey wasn’t easy.
It even led to some important, yet unhealthy people in my life leaving.
It was not pretty.
In fact, it was very messy I felt alone; It hurt.
You see, people are fairly unwilling to give up power and control.
When you begin to use your voice in a healthy, empowered way and you initiate healthy boundaries with someone who has previously had dominion over you, it is not often well-received. When you stand up to someone to whom you previously handed over your authority, your confidence, your voice…they tend to resist. They often rally and come back stronger and harder. They are inclined to hit you with everything in their arsenal in an effort to regain that power and dominance over you. Every secret, every sensitive subject, every sacred belief becomes a weapon in their battle to reclaim the clout, influence and control they once held over you so easily.
When I encountered the pushback, I pushed forward and I tapped in.
To that inner voice.
To the narrative of my spirit.
I released those that were unhealthy and unable to allow me to hold my story. I choose my own path and allowed others to walk theirs, even if their path took them a different direction from me.
I allowed my anger (because anger is actually a very good emotion when expressed in healthy ways) to exist and live in harmony with my other emotions.
I did my best with what I had available to me (because I’m only human and there are always variations of how to show up in more beneficial ways).
I found new friendships and learned how to find those who are truly “for me” as I am for them (because breaking patterns means walking a new path).
And now, I continue that journey by supporting others on this journey of Reclamation.
Prior to working with a coach, I had never experienced that type and level of support and it truly changed my life. I believe in this work. I will always be growing in this work. And I am SO passionate about supporting others so that they, let me rephrase that, so YOU too can stand in your unique power and magic and reclaim your life.
My inner voice has always called me, I just needed to listen.
Your inner voice is calling, are you listening?
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