My journey to authenticity has been long and winding. I have found myself at different times, even now, after two years of all the books and all the podcasts and a coach- all the things…I can find myself stuck.
I know for sure that when I am being honest with myself and honoring whatever it is thats coming up, that is when I am most free.
There are SO many voices and noises in the world. There always have been, but with social media and the instant access we have to constantly be hearing all of the voices and the differing opinions is massive. It’s never ending.
I talk about mindfulness and getting quiet, but there are many times that you can find me walking around my house with headphones on, listening to a podcast. Which is a good thing. But how much is too much?
That’s what I’m starting to ask myself now. How much is too much when it comes to personal development- the books, the instagram feeds, the podcasts. These are all good things and have been helpful on my journey. But my tendency is to take a good thing too far.
Which, looking back has always been a major player in my story. Zooming in on one thing and taking it to the extreme. Using this thing- be it food, alcohol, how I appear to others or personal development, to distract me from the real work of connecting to myself.
These distractions tend to drown out my inner dialogue. The voice that I am trying so hard to turn up the volume on. At times I am encouraging her, but a lot of the time it seems I am talking over her with all of this outside information and noise. If I’m honest with myself, its easier that way at first. To hear my own voice is to be face to face with myself. Every part of me. And from there to do the work. That can be overwhelming.
All or nothing has been my go-to. My default response. When Im drinking a bit too much- tomorrow its NO alcohol ever again. When Im feeling stuffy and seem to be getting sick often- that’s it! No more dairy- or gluten for that matter! EVER again! Until 3 pm that is, when my body craves something and my mind is just tired enough to give in.
I can’t tell you how many times I have entered into this cycle. Only to come out on the other side feeling defeated and shameful.
I spent my teen years trying to please my parents. Who were and are the BEST! We are all doing the best we can with what we know and the tools we have been given, I believe that. Growing up there was very much a sense of one right way to do things. This is the path and if you’re not on this particular path, then something is wrong and needs to be fixed. So the teenage me fell in line. Even though many times, inside, something felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it and I didn’t know that I could question it, let alone choose a different way.
Someone else’s voice. Thats what I was listening to, following and allowing it to cover up my truth or even the prospect of a truth that might look slightly different.
That brings me to my 20’s which consisted of me saying no to what I grew up with believing, because I could no longer just blindly follow along. I had to know and believe on a heart level whatever it was that I was doing and talking about and building my life around. At least I had that going for me. I have always had a deep sense of wanting to be aligned with and stand in my integrity, I just didn’t know how to bring that into my life on a daily basis. The early days of my intuition shining through.
But in most other ways, I was doing everything possible to once again turn down the volume and mute the inner voice that was at times screaming at me to slow down and listen.
Once I cut out that part of my life from childhood, it left a void. I had to fill it with something, and the path of least resistance was calling my name. This is when dieting and bingeing came onto the scene. The obsession with food, my weight and my body definitely started in high school, but took on a whole new life when I went to college and got my first job as a flight attendant.
In those days, I lived alone out of choice and essentially created a world for myself where I wouldn’t have to answer to anyone- especially myself. Basically I was hiding. The interesting thing is, I was very much two different people. When I was working, I was bubbly and outgoing and smiling(mostly all the time). When I was alone, which was often, I was empty and shameful. Confused and frustrated because I couldn’t seem to figure out who I was or who I wanted to be.
I tried all the things to mask what was truly happening inside. After I chose to no longer walk the path that was shown to me growing up, I didn’t pick a new one, It was more like I was floating. Drifting with no real purpose.
This led to bouts of massive binges, which then led to periods of massive restriction. Which ultimately landed me in a treatment facility. This constant back and forth and up and down was a power struggle. I can see now that my body was trying so desperately to talk to me. To communicate with me. And not just my psychical body- which was starving for nutrients. But also my spiritual body that was starving for connection and meaning and truth.
Soon after I “grew out” of the food obsession phase. Which is kind of what it felt like, a slow growing up and out. It wasn’t overnight and it wasn’t magic, but eventually I stopped bingeing(mostly) and cut back on the super rigid restriction(mostly) in favor of sensible “dieting”. As I write this I cringe because I now know that any amount of mental or physical restriction when it comes to food can be disastrous. For me anyway, To be fully transparent, I think food will always be apart of my story. I still struggle in smaller ways with controlling what I put in my mouth. And usually this is partnered with-you guessed it- not listening to and or stifling the voice inside that is asking for something. Something more.
Gradually my obsession with food and my body morphed into drinking. My job lent itself to hiding out. I lived alone, I traveled most days of the week and I would make “friends” on the road for three days only to have them leave. At this point I had no clue who the real me was, so even if I tried to connect or reach out, it often felt fake and pointless. I inevitably ended up back where I started. Muting my voice. This time with over-drinking. Many nights spent going over board led to many mornings feeling disgusted and shameful, promising myself never again. Until the next night came. And it started all over again. Another vicious cycle that ultimately led to me not being able to trust myself.
This went on for way too long. I truly believe that God stepped in at this point. He had been waiting, watching, ready to comfort me, if I would just turn my face in his direction. Which I did, in those early mornings, only to completely disregard him later in the day when I “felt better”. Whatever and whoever you believe in. I know the importance of connecting to a power bigger than ourselves. We are humans with human limits and for me, I found a great deal of peace in knowing that I wasn’t alone- even if I was the only person in the room.
That’s when I met my now husband. We built a family together. And life was good. Not perfect-of course-but very good. For the first time I felt like I had a purpose. I mattered to someone and I was needed and loved.
As we began having kids, I would say this is when the third manifestation of me not listening to the inner calling of my soul came into play. I became engulfed in my babies and my new roles as step-mom and wife. Many times feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility and sudden shift in identity. A lot of the days were spent surviving. And feeling sorry for myself. I still was not understanding the power that came from accepting life on life terms and choosing to respond and show up as my authentic self, steeled by my intuition and inner strength.
I would see the old stand bys of food and drink begin to pop up here and there, whenever I felt out of control(which was often). This time they were more tame and didn’t last as long- progress, but it still felt like I needed something outside of myself to feel complete.
I guess that’s the over-arching theme. All this time I was searching for answers outside myself. I fully see now, that I am a person who feels things very deeply. I crave deep connection- to myself, God and others. Those points in my life when I felt disconnected, that’s when the wheels started to come off.
Each time I was attempting to put a bandaid on a rough situation or feeling, never stopping long enough to dig deeper.
To bring it back to today, many small steps were taken. I know now the importance of living a life in alignment with my values. To keep me focused and help me get back on track when I veer of course. These core values have always been inside me, but it was part of what I was drowning out and ignoring for so long. I needed to finally do the hard work of introspection and create awareness around the darkest parts of my soul.
I finally stopped pushing away the inner voice that was trying to guide me all along. I realized, that is where the true growth and transformation lies. When you can sit with yourself in silence. The good, the bad, the ugly. Sit with the real you, accept and love her, then move forward.
Even as I write those words, I can see the way that I have been searching my whole life for a way to listen to myself. I have always managed to find new ways to quiet my inner voice and push her down so that I didn’t get hurt. The truth sometimes does hurt, but then, it heals. And it puts you back together as a whole person. The person you were put on this earth to be.
When I think about a life lived fully in my truth and my authenticity, I feel like I can take a deep breath. It is crazy how hard that seems to be to put that sentiment- a life lived in your truth- into practice. Its hard. It’s a daily battle. But I know for sure that those moments when I am vulnerable and real and show up and say exactly what I feel, those are the moments I feel the most alive!
Even with my writing. I can see so clearly how I automatically edit myself and my words. To look a certain way. To sound a certain way. For who? I have come to a realization that in my personal life and in my work, it is important to be the most authentic version of myself as possible. I want to attract people into my world who will accept me for me. And perhaps maybe we can even learn from one another. If that isn’t the case, then I find myself drained and full of doubt. Not the way I want to spend my days. I’m looking for quality over quantity and if I can deeply connect with one person, that is worth it to me.
That’s my mission now. I have SO many things to be grateful for. I want to allow my journey to shape and mold me into a woman who lives life with purpose and everyday with the intention to connect and listen to my inner voice. My intuition, my gut, or whatever you want to call it. I believe that is the foundation of designing and building- brick by brick- habit by habit and day by day the life you truly desire.
To this day, I see how easy it is for me to quiet the voice inside me. This post is about me recognizing that I may have won the battle, but the war is not over. Everyday I will recommit to taking the steps that I know help me to be the most ME possible. When I start to feel overwhelmed with outside noise or notice that I am making decisions based on opinions from outside myself, that’s a red flag. I will edit. Edit and weed out the unnecessary in order to get to the extraordinary.
I will get quiet and listen.
An intentional life based on values, deeply connected to my inner voice and lived with purpose.
This is what I want for me. This is what I want for YOU! I am now co-creating every day with God. When it comes to food, body, business, family, I am able to take a step back and breathe and know that I have all the information I need to make good decisions.
I am a motivated visionary confident in my ability to curate peace for myself, my family and others.
Creating the above statement was one of the first exercises I did with my coach, and it shaped how I show up in the world. For so long, I was trying to figure out who I was. Now I know. I also know that I will continue to grow, evolve and pivot along the way. But the core values, the authenticity and the drive to connect will remain firm.
These days I strive to be a curious observer. I do my best to take out the judgement and allow room for authenticity to blossom.
A Simply Big Life is my journey to living with intention. My hope is that we can go together on this journey and learn and grow and be every bit of the women that we were meant to be. Because I need community. We all do. That’s how we were built.
I believe every time you listen to and embrace your inner voice, she will get louder. More clear. Every time you follow her lead, the bond will be strengthened and the next time you need some direction, she will be there.