Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
An empowered journey from despair to vibrancy
I remember staring harshly in the mirror and seeing an unrecognizable, damaged damsel with self-destructive behaviors that were only visible to me. The reflection showed the externally pretty and put together shell which successfully hid insecurities, brokenness and defeat underneath. At least that’s what used to be visible to me looking on the inside, out.
The struggle with my outward visual deception was real. What I saw in the mirror wasn’t necessarily what the world saw.
I knew this for certain because I was a people-pleasing, professional mask-wearing-type of a woman. You might be familiar with my kind or have seen her before; she superficially steps out into the world well dressed, well educated, and well aware of the lies in her eyes. My empty brown pupils told stories of something more, something deeper.
In time, I learned I was the one holding the shovel that was going to do some serious soul digging from my dark and cold hole of a heart to get to the other side of self-love and light. I was the only one who could free myself from my own demons. Let me tell you, the vulnerability in the digging process is brutal, but it’s also healing. Oh my word, is it healing and believe me, it’s worth it.
Life had me navigate through some seriously rough waters, but they say smooth seas never made for a skilled sailor. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, I slowly became the captain of my truths and owned up to the BS lies I told myself — the ones that had me pretending to be someone I really wasn’t. The one thinking I needed a picture-perfect family with a white picket fence and a fish.
After going through a heavy and heart-aching separation and a cruel custody battle, I found myself trying to find out who I was outside of being a stay-at-home mom and housemate, grinding back into the career world, trying to be strong for my 8-year-old only son.
Although I was rebuilding my life from the ground up, it wasn’t long before I was spiraling out of control. It was just too much, too fast, and overwhelmingly too foreign.
I fell apart, in a million pieces. Not just a bump-and-a-bruise falling, but a shattering-broken-glass type falling that required some spiritual resuscitation, medical and mental attention and the super glue of a whole village to get me back on my two feet.
Picture Alice In Wonderland going down the rabbit’s hole. For years, I felt like her in the movie. I traveled down an abyss of poor coping mechanisms, severe anxiety and depression. I went from having it all to now being a nearly 40-year-old, single and unmarried mother with no stable income, struggling to stay above tumultuous waters. I can’t even count the times I drowned in my own tears creating a tsunami well into the wee hours of the night onto the cotton, hand me down pillow case, curled up in the fetal position, crashed on a friend’s couch.
My bank account was empty and so were any morals I had grew up on. I began abusing anything and anyone that crossed my path, seeking to numb the emotional pain of my new reality. I will confess: I am not proud of those self-sabotaging, abusive moments, but I do forgive myself because I needed the darkness to find the light in my journey.
What I learned was that forgiving yourself is part of the healing process — and so is crying, even if it’s the ugly cry. Just get it all out. I understand now that I was on a self-destructive path to fill the void of what was missing in my life, even if it meant hurting myself and others along the way.
Thankfully, it’s a new day.
Fast forward five years later (yes, the evolution takes time). Today I am one confident and kick ass survivor, living the California dream, who doesn’t need society’s stamp of approval. This girl is growing and glowing!
I turned my pain into power and my setbacks into one hell of a comeback. I worked hard on myself. I worked hard to become self-employed. I worked hard because my son deserves a mother who’s a warrior.
I chose not to be a victim of my circumstances and instead found purpose in my trials.
I released toxic frenemies and negative energy. I also invested big time in my mental health — which was and still is a major key to my evolution. My mind, body and spirit needed fueling, but now my self-love cup runneth over! Mama picked herself up and the pieces of her life to create the peace that is Jazzy (my loving nickname).
There is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s on the other side of fear where fearlessness lies. It’s on the other side of victimization where the victor in you lies. It’s on the other side of self-loathing where self-love and acceptance lie. Dig deep for it, dear friend.
I dug into the depths of my self-destructive demise — and I mean real deep — past all the doubts, detouring through the BS, letting the light within in, uncovering my truths, giving gratitude, and wholeheartedly believing I would win in the end.
Now when I look in the mirror, I see an honest reflection stare back at me that affirms that I am enough. I have said goodbye to the uprooted, ugly side of myself and welcomed a healthier and heartfelt hello from the other side.
Shine on and stand tall.
You may also enjoy reading To India and Back: A Woman’s Journey to Health and Truth, by Amy B. Scher