Owning Your Truth, Part II

I have been steadily molting into truer versions of myself (for the most part) for the past seven years, and it started with my health and wellness social marketing business. I started on the self-development path because my mentor and coach advised me to, and I being the eager student, followed exactly what she told me to do and read. I consistently and steadily grew in my business and in my personal growth. For me, one of the most important moments of reflection was when people I had known for years, said (verbatim) “who are you, and what have you done with Alexis?” Before I started this often painful path of self-discovery, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye for more than a few seconds, and my head was constantly down when I entered a room. My goal in life until about six years ago was to be invisible in this world due to my perceived lack of self-worth. Breaking the perception of self-worth in my head was both uncomfortably painful, and even more incredibly rewarding and worth it every ounce of uncomfortableness to achieve. I am more “me” than I ever have been. And it’s been a hell of a journey. It’s a journey I choose to be never-ending because that is when one starts dying from the inside out. I know because when I stopped, that is exactly what happened. I was shrinking back into mediocrity because I felt I wasn’t equipped to deal with the issues in my life at the moment.

So as of today this is what my growth game looks like: my business is growing faster in the past three months than in the past two years; I am out and proud baby; I was in a relationship, and I feel comfortable in my own skin. I am actively putting my many talents and gifts back for the world to see and experience. If I am being completely honest, for most of the past two years I haven’t been allowing myself to be that vulnerable with my talents. I shrunk back into being trying to be invisible, but that wasn’t working either because I knew what it was like to be seen. My integrity was incongruous at best. I am purposefully seeking ways to bring my light into the world. I didn’t realize how much I had let it go out until now.

If you have struggled like I have with identity, self-worth; justifying your own bullshit story of mediocrity; validating yourself to your “peers”; trying to hide your emotions because to not do so hurts too much; the fallacy of being perfect (sorry not sorry), or trying to maintain an image that is not true to you- I am giving you permission to let all of it go. For those of you who don’t understand what I am referring to, that is AWESOME. I am both ecstatic for you and jealous. Because I thought needed permission to not be perfect. I thought I needed to wear a certain cape (e.g. persona) in order to belong. I thought I needed to be stoic because that meant being brave, courageous, and impenetrable to hurt. I thought I needed a certain job title and career to be accepted. ALL of it is bullshit if it does not serve you. And none of it serves you.

acceptance invisible

If I am being honest, I didn’t have much of an active personal growth game for almost two years. In my subconscious mind, my issues were too great. I didn’t know where to start, and I honestly didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until I started therapy. I was hiding. Again. And it was a shitty feeling to start to revert back to being invisible. I went back to being meek, apologizing, self-conscious, and my lack of self-confidence was back in full force. It started with a series of small decisions of not to do. My daily routine of gratitude, affirmations, and personal growth books became less routine, and then non-existent. I started listen to more audio trainings, which as a visual learner is not a good move of efficiency. It was a subconscious; “I don’t want to deal with any of these things right now in a deep way. So I’ll do superficial personal growth.”   There is a book called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, which is basically about making the decision to do the little things that are easy to do and not do. Both add up to big changes consistently over time. It is up to you whether they are positive or negative big changes. In my case, they were negative.

There were some attributing factors to why these things happened, but I allowed them to dictate my life instead of acknowledging their presence and figuring out what to do about it. Whether you know it or not, everything you do is an active choice. Most of the time the choice is determined by one’s threshold for how uncomfortable their lives become. I actively made a change in my behavior because the life I was living had become really uncomfortable, and that is not meant in the working through my shit kind of growth that will cause your life to get better at the end. This was the kind of uncomfortable where I wondered how the frak I got there, and how to climb out of the fire swamp that had become my life.

I am comfortable doing things today that I never thought I’d be comfortable doing. I have never been comfortable in my own skin, and had rebelled against finding out why until about seven years ago. I have never felt comfortable in my own skin unless it was canoeing or out in nature by myself.   Those were my churches. Those were the two communities I found myself accepted no matter how socially awkward I could be, and in those two communities became my refuge, they were my safe place to recharge and where I felt home. I used to say that I am a fundamentally different person than I was seven years ago. I don’t say that anymore. I say that I am the truest version of myself that I have ever been, and I will continue to evolve into being my best self.

come into your own

I feel comfortable enough to own my sexuality to be proud enough of it to be in a relationship, and believe I am worth of it. And unabashedly shout during Philly’s Pride Parade on behalf of my cousin’s church, “you are queer? We are here!” Did I ever think in my entire life I would feel comfortable marching in a parade at all? No. Let alone shouting for a mile with pride about my sexuality (a vulnerability that I used to hide behind), high fiving, and handing out a hundred stickers without feeling self-conscious at all? To have the courage to bond with complete strangers in a city I don’t know because we are really all there for the same reason? Hell no. But I grew to get there. I grew to be the person I am today. And I will grow to be person I am meant to be tomorrow. The growth doesn’t stop. It just evolves to destroy the next barrier inside yourself so you can become the truest version of you ever.

In my experience, the best and worst part of growth is you find out who your real friends are. Some people might not recognize and accept the new you, and fight against it. They might even try to tear the “new” you down with sometimes seemingly innocuous comments that sometimes hurt beyond measure. It is okay to feel that hurt, but don’t let it linger. I like to think of it like a paper cut. It hurts like a bitch when it happens, but is gone relatively quickly and forgotten. The fault is on them, not you. They are fighting against themselves because they are reminded what they could be, but chose not to fight for. Show them what you fought for. Even better, show yourself what you fought for. That is another thing the past few years have taught me. Proving others wrong is a great short-term motivator. Proving yourself right? That is when the magic happens, and when you start to discount the lies you have told yourself your whole life.

Owning Your Truth, Part I

This is what people don’t tell you about Love and relationships. How unbelievably messy they are. The other thing people don’t tell you about life in general is how messy it is. If you are living life correctly, the messes and barriers to greatness never stop. There is always another layer, another battle to fight, and a demon to conquer. And all of it is hard, but the result is always worth it.

Risk failing

That is me when I was around 2.  Thanks Dad for always capturing the memories 😀

One of my biggest demons is the ability to believe I am worthy of love. The friendship niggle I defeated years ago. I am now on to romantic love, and that is way more complicated to defeat. It is insidious, as most demons are, because they know us so well. The self-talk that one tells yourself is of utmost importance, and I have failed at that for most of life. It took a lot of fantastic mentors (thanks to Maria, in particular), personal growth, and soul-searching to really beat down the naysaying niggle that was constantly in my brain.

When it came to love, and when I finally decided to own my truth of being a lesbian for the world to know; damn did that demon come out to play. Trusting another person with intimidate details of my life, and entering the weird world of online dating. Attempted to be scammed not once, but twice within a month tends to put a damper on your self-talk when it comes to dating. It makes you doubt your choices. It made me doubt whether I would ever find someone that I would let my heart love enough to trust. The scammers were amateurs and never got that far, and I know karma will bite them in the ass.

I have never in my entire life really let someone get all the way to the point where I let myself fully fall in love with another person. Subconsciously it was the scariest thing that I could let happen in my life, to be that vulnerable. To let someone fully in meant that I would have to drop most, if not all, of my many emotional barriers. I wasn’t ready to do that. So I didn’t. I kept any romantic interests at an emotional arms-length.

relationship detective

I thought I had fallen in love once when I was in college, and for that time in my immature life, I was as fully in love as I would let myself be. Which at the time was until it got hard and until it got real (I was about to graduate). We were not right for each other, and quite honestly we lasted far longer than we should have. When I ended it however, I was the definition of a frigid bitch. I was cold; I was calculated; I was mean, and I hated myself for years for how I broke it off with her. It was the right decision, but the wrong execution. I think subconsciously one of the reasons I avoided coming to terms of being a lesbian, and subsequently coming out, for so long was because of the shame I felt over how I handled the break up. I wanted to avoid a similar event at any cost. So I hid behind a wall of sarcasm, casual flings, and non-committal relationships. The desire to cover up this vulnerability flaw in myself was deep. This included hiding my own happiness and being true to myself because my priority to myself was usually the last on the list until the past five years.

The scary love I have found is thousands of miles away fighting a war in Syria for the  US Army. I didn’t expect it; I didn’t want it, and I fought my feelings until I couldn’t anymore.  It is excitedly terrifying for many reasons. I was fighting my own war of unworthiness, vulnerability, and trust. I have been waging those wars for as long as there has been water in the ocean. Sometimes, one has to own your truth. Own your vulnerability. Own your passion for someone else, and put it all on the line. I don’t know how it will work out. What I do know is that I deserve to know where I stand. Sometimes you have to risk failing to truly rise to the your truest self. And it will hurt every time.

UPDATE:  so it turns out this one was scamming me too.  And it hurts, a lot.  This is the universe testing me, I guess.  I am ready for it to not do that so much anymore.  Love is out there,  I know it.  It will be glorious when I find it.