I got this crazy ping in my brain while I was getting a shamanic micro current facial with the lovely Sadie Adams today, and that ping was pretty much about how differently I live my life now compared to the way I once did — and why I believe that doing the HARD WORK of figuring out who I am at my core and living that truth has brought me all the good and happiness that I have in my life now.
Actually to clarify, the image that popped into my brain was me about six years ago, at LMU (where I went to college), totally drunk, standing in front of a row of buses with a bunch of my sorority sisters and their dates, waiting to get on them to ride to a sorority or fraternity formal somewhere in Hollywood. Everyone was wasted, people were rowdy, some were crying, the scene was chaotic.
Although formals only came about twice a year at LMU, we had dances and events like this one almost every weekend. So yeah… that scene was pretty much my daily life.
I sort of fell asleep on Sadie’s table today or more like into a deep trance state of contemplation, and realized that the image of me at the sorority buses popped into my head to serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come, and how much in my life has changed.
I’m not saying that 21 year old sorority girl (me!!!) was doing anything wrong, or that I regret those years. I was the queen of taking vodka shots, I feel like I went to every club in LA in my heyday, and I had a lot of fun. I really did, and I met some of my lifelong best friends during those years.
I also think that had to be my life at that point in order for me to go down the path that eventually lead me to where I am now, which stands in such stark contrast to those years. It was the in-between time that I don’t look at so fondly, which I will share below!
The reason I’m sharing this is because I imagine so many of you reading can relate. Whether you were a college party animal, a high school party animal (that was me too, I was actually way more wild in high school believe it or not!), or simply used to live your life differently than you do now… we all have a past to look back on and reflect on how we’ve grown.
And it’s GOOD to do that. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in where we want to go, how much we want to achieve, where we’ll be in 10 years… but what about looking back on 10 years ago?! 5 years ago? What have you done in the last 5 years? I built a thriving business that makes me incredibly happy, and I don’t often give myself enough credit for that.
I also STOPPED drinking, don’t stay out late anymore pretty much ever, and would never ever be caught dead in a rowdy crowd (when I can help it…) the way I was alllll of the time back then and didn’t think twice about it. I actually even felt hungover from being out to dinner in Malibu until about 11pm the other night, even though I didn’t have a sip of alcohol and ate healthy vegan food! My body just isn’t used to all that stimulation anymore.
How that compares to where I am now…!
Although that was the college me and so many of us don’t know quite who we are yet when we are in college, I also think back to just a year or two ago when I was still very much living a life that I didn’t feel 100% in alignment with.
After college I moved to NYC and experienced the best kind of freedom. I didn’t have the same ties that I did here, so while a few of my best friends moved to New York at the same time as I did, it was very easy for all of us to live OUR truth and be exactly who we were. It was so liberating to be ME, stay home on Friday nights making my vegan food, write fiction and blog for hours and hours on end with nowhere to be and not a care in the world, and still have my friends in New York love me for me.
No guilt trips about “you never see me,” or “you never drink with me” (my least favorite sentence of all time)… I was just allowed to be who I was, every day.
It was hard when I moved back to LA a year later, because it was the same city I went to college in. I felt like a lot of that newfound freedom had been taken from me in a way, and had stayed in New York leaving me to rebuild who I was all over again.
(Granted, that was a crazy time with SO MUCH STUFF happening with my eating disorder, writing my book, transitioning from being a vegan, things happening with my family, on and on. So it wasn’t all just the move.)
I think those first few years back in LA were the hardest of my life. I felt so disconnected from who I once was, but I was still trying to BE THAT PERSON because it was all that I knew. And to my friends here, it was all that they knew.
That was also when I developed pretty much ALL of the health problems I am still dealing with now, and I believe a huge part of that was because of the stress of still surrounding myself with people and things that didn’t feel right in my soul.
But over time, I started growing roots here in LA, in a new way. I met so many people who were in the wellness world and had similar preferences to me, and then I started meeting people in the spirituality / high vibe part of the wellness space and WOW did that help me see very clearly who I was and where I was going.
It was almost like a mirror was held up to me, and I saw that I could be ridiculously, completely happy ALL OF THE TIME. Just like I was in New York. I didn’t have to not be me, just because it wasn’t in alignment with how a lot of people knew me.
What I realized…
About a year and a half ago I realized that who I am now (and maybe who I was all along, I just didn’t have anyone to show me it was okay to be that person) is someone who:
a) is happy all the time and doesn’t dread situations and events, because I ONLY say “yes” to what I actually want to do… meaning, I say NO a ton!
b) spends a lot of time alone because I need it to recharge and to have the calm and focused headspace to run my business
c) doesn’t drink alcohol pretty much at all
d) doesn’t need to go to a place where there will be a big, loud crowd that will throw my nervous system off (bars, clubs, big parties, basically everything my adolescence and young adult life was in so many ways)
e) can be PRESENT and energized for her best friends, family, and boyfriend in a way that feels really good because I am not depleted and worn down from living a life that didn’t feel good
f) energetically broke up with people who dragged my soul down, spoke negatively every time I was around them, or treated me in a fake / not real way that I couldn’t stand
g) is happier than I have EVER BEEN IN MY LIFE.
It’s amazing, and everyone can have this feeling!
The truth is, change is scary. A lot of us resist it for years on end because it really takes a lot of hard work.
My first few years back in LA I dated someone who was wrong for me in every way. There was a lot of love between us, but at the core everything was unhealthy and off. When that ended about a year and a half ago, I finally got the HUGE PUSH that I needed to take the leap into being FULLY me.
I stopped drinking, stopped eating foods that didn’t agree with me, cut a few toxic people out of my life (to the best of my ability), started journaling and writing my intentions every month, meditating, doing kundalini, practicing reiki, and living life on MY terms.
Very shortly after, I started my podcast which I firmly believe I wouldn’t have had space for in my life if I was still holding on to so much toxicity. Shortly after I started my podcast, Jonathan and I started dating. 🙂 (I do believe he is the best thing to come from ALL of this. I often think about how “energetically” lonely I was before I had him… I was surrounded by people, but I didn’t have my human. I never want to go back to that feeling, and if I had never DONE THE HARD WORK of being me, we would not have been a match!)
Then everything came together. The income from my blog / podcast went from being good to being totally, radically abundant. Pretty much everything I tried to manifest into my life, I was able to.
It. Was. Nuts.
All of this to say, sometimes it’s so good to look back on where we came from and give ourselves the credit of how far we’ve come.
And if you’re reading this and you feel like you’re still in that “phase one” of your adolescent or adult life, don’t fret because you can START NOW! It’s never too late to step into your truest you.
I also find that now I don’t rely on things that I used to so heavily like intense exercise, extreme juice cleanses, etc. because I live the healthy, wellness-focused life DAILY rather than grasping for it in the extreme ways that I once felt like I had to.
The biggest gift we can all give ourselves is to allow ourselves to be exactly who we are. Even just practice in the mirror by telling yourself: “I am allowed. I am allowed. I am allowed.” EVERY DAY until you believe it.
It’s the most beautiful thing in the world to know who we are from deep within and let that light shine through us. 🙂