Nothing in my life came easy. Growing up didn’t come easy. Interacting with people wasn’t easy. Being myself wasn’t easy. It was scary. All of it- just completely terrifying. I liked to be alone. I enjoyed art and thinking. And running. I was awkward, and sad.
The things I witnessed as a child terrified me into withdrawal. My alcoholic father was neglectful and emotionally abusive. I hated him so much by the time I was 5 or 6 that I remember wishing he had died while I waited for him to come pick us up for our biweekly visit with him. I was too scared to tell my mom how he treated us, but I think deep down she already knew.
Imagining a life other than misery and pain was unfathomable. I couldn’t imagine not being so anxious and despising social situations. It was funny, I didn’t realize till later that my heart beat super fast- I average 115-120 beats resting. I didn’t realize the connection of the mind and body. My breaths were short and shallow. Sometimes, I even forgot to breathe.
At one point in high school, I went to live with my dad. I thought trying to mend our relationship would make me happier, make me feel less alone. It didn’t. Within 6 months I came crawling back to my mother who welcomed me with open arms. But, the damage had been done. I was so broken at that point, I went to see a therapist and she couldn’t even treat me because all I did was cry when I opened my mouth. That was the beginning of my drug use, medically and recreationally. Anything to numb the pain that I felt. I was prescribed Klonopin at the ripe age of 16. It was criminal.
After a few years of partying way too hard, I decided to further my college education in New Orleans, where I met a guy. We dated for a few months, even though we had some very turbulent experiences, one where he tried to kill himself when I questioned his habits. Later, I learned he was into heroin. I was so curious, so I began using, too. My life started falling apart.
Then, in one of my classes, I was introduced to Buddhism in a simple stroke of divinity. Even though I recognized it as the answer I’d been looking for, I didn’t know how to use it. Staying in meditation for hours helped, but not how I needed. I needed something to show me how to integrate my newfound mindfulness into my life.
Shortly into the second semester of college in New Orleans, I hit a rock bottom. I was 20 years old and after months of drug use, all kinds of abuse in my relationship, and being raped, my mom looked into my eyes and said, “come home with me.” So, I did. I continued the abusive relationships and got legal drugs. I was still fucking broken. I thought that’s all I was worth.
It wasn’t until I found yoga that a whole lot changed for me. It took a few years of it, too. It wasn’t until my teacher training that I really felt the full benefits of my practice. It’s something I would recommend to anyone wanting to go deeper into their own practice, whether they want to actually teach or not. It’s pretty powerful.
That’s the most basic overview of my story. In this blog, my intention is to go deeper. Each entry will dig deeper into all the little parts of me that have died to make space for who I am becoming. We all have these stories. Maybe not exactly the same things happened to you, but I know that you experienced trauma. It can look like so many different things. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences you will feel less alone in whatever you have gone though or are going through in you life.