It has been far too long again. Hello!!
Today, I broke down crying in my car. There I was. In the freakin’Walmart parking lot: red-faced, teary-eyed, yoga-pants-on, didn’t-even-brush-my-hair, crazy woman, having a sob fest. I pulled myself together before the song on the radio ended.
And then I continued on with my day.
My soul-searching has changed me in more ways than one. People I hadn’t talked to since high school have reached out to me, telling me how happy I look. Telling me that whatever I am doing, that I should keep doing it. Reminding me how much better I look and telling me that I have inspired them. This is all well and great. Amazing, actually! I never knew that I would get such a wonderful reaction by simply sharing the happiest moments of my day with cheesy, inspirational quotes as captions to my ‘darling’ instagram photos. I never knew that people would respond so positively to blog posts where I reveal that I have struggled for over 10 years with an eating disorder.
I have chosen to share the happiest, most alive, most positive parts of myself via social media. I felt that I owed it to everyone who has ever dealt with me in the past. I felt that I owed mounds upon mounds of positivity, light, and healing energy to the world, the universe; for I had been off-loading nothing but negativity for far too long. It’s like I finally woke the fuck up and saw how damn negative and self-centered I was before. So now, I want to shower people with positivity.
This is what I mean when I said that my soul-searching has changed me in more ways than one:
Yes, I feel more positive, open, and energetically receptive than I have probably ever felt. I have been able to share the part of me that knows just how beautiful life is and how perfectly it’s all going if only we would stop obsessing and meddling. So, you could say that this healing journey I began eight months ago (my soul searching as I have called it) has nourished and warmed me. That is has made me more happy, centered, and peaceful. While this is somewhat true, there is so much more to it. While my highs have become more high, my lows have also become more low. By this I mean as often as I have felt pure bliss in the last eight months, I have also felt more pain than I knew existed. I have felt more alone that I ever knew possible and have missed, regretted, and mourned my past at least once a day.
But, I always continue on with my day. And I always find at least three things to be grateful for. Even after a sob fest.
My soul-searching and healing journey has changed me in more ways than one. I have felt every emotion to a greater depth and extent than ever before in my life. I have seen the wonderfully joyful side of myself, that I wish I could see 24/7. I have also seen the most sad, bitter, resentful, guilty, unhappy, hateful, devious, delusional, and just plain mean parts of myself. I finally took stock of all of the criticism that I have ever received and actually agreed with about 90% of it. I have dissected my past relationships and now see how my inability to communicate or listen really affected those relationships. I have also admitted that I struggled (and still do struggle) with an eating disorder and that I was in denial for quite a while. I have been real. I have said hateful things and forgiven myself. I have taken more chances in the last eight months than I had taken in the past five years. I have stayed in better touch with friends. Written letters expressing how much I love someone and thanked them for being in my life. I have changed drastically but I am also the same exact scared woman, not sure what I am to become in this life.
So, to every single person that has been with me on this journey so far, thank you. Thank you for appreciating the joyful part of me that I have chosen to share so often. Your positive receptivity has incited me to keep living in that state of bliss, or at least exuding it whenever possible.
To friends that are currently struggling with loss of love, career hardships, general life disturbance or upset… expect a heightened state of awareness. Expect an increase in every single emotion you have ever experienced, and be okay with yourself at your very worst. Allow yourself to sob it out in the Walmart parking lot. (Or if you live in San Francisco, allow yourself to cry it out in front of the “City Target”). Don’t expect to feel a spectrum of joyous emotions or expect to feel such powerfully negative emotions that you can’t take it. Expect a roller coaster. Understand that the ups and downs that accompany normal life will surely increase during your tough time. Be ok with not feeling ok.
Every day, I still doubt my decision to leave my life in San Francisco.
But, I still pick right back up and continue my day.
Some days, I feel so positively ecstatic, that I wonder if I became enlightened during my last meditation practice. Then, I continue on with my day (knowing that this utter delight will soon vanish too).
The best way my soul-searching has served me is this:
I have come to realize that in order to “get through life” I must have reasonable expectations, always. I cannot expect to ride an amazing wave of just ONE (happy) emotion forever. Just as I cannot expect one intensely painful emotion/mood/event to continue forever either. The Buddhist teaching on impermanence really pissed me off when I first heard it. I felt like a kid whose ice cream just fell off the cone, smack dab onto the dirty concrete. If I can’t be sure of anything, then why even try, I thought.
What I have come to realize, accept, and understand however, is that this impermanence is good news. If life events/emotions/moods/relationships etc. are not guaranteed to last any amount of time or guaranteed to go any sort of way, then we will always be able to handle anything. If you’re looking for love, support, forgiveness, happiness, just look inside. Understand that the moment you stop grasping for things outside of yourself, is the moment that you can experience bliss. Know that without experiencing the darkest of dark, you wouldn’t appreciate the light. Have reasonable expectations about your experience here and know that you cannot escape unscathed. I can honestly admit to myself that I am more than blessed, even when my perception is that I have suffered a great deal.
My soul-searching has also allowed me to understand that the deeper I was in the eating disorder, the less I cared about, listened to, or supported the people around me. I could write a novel about this one topic alone, so I will try to keep it brief. For anyone who has struggled with or is struggling with an addiction of any kind, hear me now. When you are using and thus abusing your mind and body with anything (food, a drug, alcohol), you are telling the people around you that you don’t care enough about yourself to even be conscious of them. Self-loathing and narcissistic.
My soul-searching has allowed me understand that by hurting myself, I am hurting every single person I come into contact with, and I am filling the world around me with toxicity, hate, and negativity. What you put out there energetically, permeates society and touches hearts. You can easily experience this phenomenon. Next time you are in a store, on a bus, in a meeting, close your eyes and put your feelers out there… chances are, you can get the vibe of the room before anyone even opens their mouth.
Even what we tell ourselves has the ability to affect the people around us. For instance, say you call yourself ugly or stupid every single day. Those words are affecting your confidence, ability to cope, and ultimately your interactions with everyone you encounter. How do you think you will treat someone who annoys you if your body is already full of the negativity you spewed that very morning, the “God I am so ugly” or whatever your hate-filled daily mantra was.
My soul-searching has taught me to be kind, always. To never assume. To try not to judge and to wish goodness upon those that hurt and judge me. Yesterday, I was walking around town with a friend when he started to laugh. He later told me that some girls we had passed were making fun of my outfit or something. The first thing I did was smile. Then I wished that I would have heard them so I could have gone up and hugged them both. This may sound crazy to you. A few months ago, it would have sounded crazy to me too. I would have immediately felt angry at these girls for talking about me. I would have immediately said something bad about them and would have stressed about whatever insecurity they hit. Now, I realize that most times we judge/hurt/talk bad about others, it is because we are desperately trying to hide our own deeply painful insecurity.
Be kind, always. And when someone showers you with nothing but hate, open your arms wide, embrace this person, send them good thoughts, and understand that their hate for themselves is so much worse than the negativity they poured upon you.
We are all going to be okay. But why not pull each other up instead of down?