Here’s my story.
Why am I here? Why am I doing this? What led me to bring Unrestricted Self Love into the world?
Well, where do I start?
This journey of loving myself really began when I was just a teenager.
Socially awkward, shy, introverted, and confused, I just wanted to be part of a group. I moved twice during my four years of high school, and by my senior year, I felt depressed and disconnected. I felt that having friends who listened to me rather than cutting me off, understood me rather than mocking me, and genuinely wanted to hang out with me without emotionally abusing me, was something that was for other people, not for me.
I felt cut off, too weird, different from the rest; I felt that making friends was pointless, and that I was better off as a lone wolf. I felt that my voice would never be heard or valued, because it seemed that every time I spoke, the words I chose to use sounded so different from everyone else’s.
“Weird”, as I am finally beginning to understand, is and always has been my superpower.
I lacked trust in myself, felt like a victim, and was emotionally lost and ungrounded as I went to college, moving an hour away from my family.
The world felt too big and too scary for me to handle. I cried a lot during that first year. I also luckily found a supportive group of friends– whom I clung to for dear life. I idolized them. I drank a lot of alcohol to make sure that I could pretend to be extroverted and “normal” enough for them to want to keep me around– even though my drunkenness often annoyed them, understandably.
I still felt as though there was no place for me anywhere. No seat for the real me at anybody’s table. I didn’t understand why I felt this way, and I assumed that I was just not good enough.
Not to mention, I was addicted to male attention. I chased so many boys’ attention just so that I could feel worthy of some kind of love. When my clinginess pushed them away, I collapsed in on myself, every time. And the cycle continued.
I went on a volunteer trip to the Philippines in 2016.
Blown away by such an intense travel experience, I believed I had found my purpose. I had something to fill me.
I decided that after my college graduation, I would do whatever I had to do to make a life out of travel. I wanted to travel EVERYWHERE. (And I still do.) I discovered Camille Willemain’s old travel blog, and became completely obsessed.
Looking back, I realize I was desperate to escape everything that I was, everything that I had been. I wanted to completely recreate myself, in hopes that I would finally obliterate the unending pain of feeling like an alien on planet Earth.
I started planning where I was going to travel. I thought about working holiday visas, freelance writing, travel blogging… And I no longer cared about filling my inner void with male attention. I no longer craved it.
Of course, that was exactly when Rob showed up.
In September of 2016, I met the man that I’ve been with ever since. In those three years, our relationship has triggered SO. MUCH. of my fears of abandonment. I’m talking crazy jealousy. Self-sabotage. Fears of intimacy.
I NEVER understood that the relationship that I longed for would actually be incredibly difficult– simply because in the relationship that I craved was also everything that I ran from.
Being seen, being vulnerable to abandonment, even being loved. Yeah, turns out I’m actually terrified of being loved.
And in those three years, I tried to travel.
Yet, my fear of being alone sent me into panic spirals when I’d finally get on that plane to leave. I still did it, of course. Back to the Philippines in 2017… Costa Rica in 2018… and an amazing trip to Portugal in 2019.
In those three years, I tried to blog. I tried to express what I knew I was passionate about: all of the self-love I’d been using, since I was 18 years old, to try to heal the feeling of being an alien on planet Earth.
All the meditation. The yoga. The journaling. And, yes, solo travel was a huge part of it too– solo travel increased my awareness of myself, and it allowed me to break out of my comfort zone and trust myself more.
Yet, I was terrified of letting anybody read these words. I hardly ever posted anything. In 2018 I began to realize that my dream of traveling and writing was falling apart, and I felt like I was falling apart, too.
I felt alone.
The whole world seemed to be telling me that I needed to suck it up and get a 9-5 job already. I knew in my heart that that was not what I wanted, but I felt so much shame around wanting something else.
I called myself lazy. Stupid. Ridiculous. I asked myself what the hell I had done with my life since graduating college two years previously. I felt completely unable to make new friends due to the shame I felt. Consequently, being around people my age (such as Rob’s friends) brought up EXTREME anxiety, to the point where I disappeared from social events multiple times (and then piled more shame on top of myself for doing so).
I see now that I felt a calling, but felt completely unable to follow it, and that resulted in some of the worst emotional pain I’ve ever felt.
Then 2019 came. In January, I spent 2 weeks in Portugal, and I made a new friend. An amazing one, at that. I can’t explain how, but making that new friend in a brand new foreign country lit everything up for me again.
And I decided, upon coming home, that I was going to follow my heart.
Slowly, I started sharing my words on Instagram. I started exercising my passion for writing more and more. I signed up for a life coaching course, knowing that life coaching was just the first step, the first toe in the water, towards the life I really wanted.
So what is it? What is that life that I truly desire?
I desire a self-loving life. For me, that looks like working for myself. It looks like creating a living immersed in what I’ve come to love the most: self-love itself. It looks like guiding other women on their own journeys back to themselves, through all of the societal expectations and constructs, over the hurdles of conditioning, beneath the depths of self sabotage, and back into the amazing being that they ALWAYS have been. While I may work other jobs in the early stages of this business to support myself financially, in the end, I cannot see myself doing anything else. I can’t see myself settling for a life where I work 40 hours a week on something I don’t fully, completely, entirely care about. I can’t see myself doing that. And I won’t.
So, this is my story.
I’m still overcoming shame hurdles and confusion. I’m going against the grain of what’s expected of me, and it’s confusing to sort through the external and internal judgement. But I know for sure that all of that confusion only trains me to get better and better at coming back to MYSELF. What I want. What I love. And it gets easier every day.
What I know is that I have a huge heart that just wants to love, comfort, and care for people. I know that that has opened me up to abuse in many past friendships and relationships. I know that I’d like to continue to heal that, so that I can provide more love to the world instead of fearfully pushing people away.
These days, more and more, I hold myself confidently. I don’t let people emotionally abuse me the way I used to allow for so long. I trust, more and more, that I am not meant to do what everybody thinks I “should” do in this life. I allow myself to be silly, to sing, to DANCE, EVEN AROUND MY FAMILY, which is something I NEVER thought I’d feel comfortable enough to do.
Yet, this journey is only beginning– there’s much more for me to discover. What I know for sure, is that this work is my medicine. I can’t be whole without sharing these words with the world.
Thanks so much for being here. Let me know in the comments: what’s your story? What led you to begin following your heart? <3