“It is often said that the soul chooses the family they are born into”
Reaching down and recalling the deeper parts of me to write a piece about my life has been much more challenging than I had anticipated. The swath of detail and intensity within my endless but brief 24 years has left me seriously considering the intricacy of how I’m all tied together into one wild woman.
I often think of my life in chapters. Perhaps it’s the writer in me, or perhaps it’s the way my mind has learned to organize my sensitive soul’s attachment to every little piece of my participation on this beautiful and mysterious earth.
And so it begins:
I’m the youngest of three children. My brother is two years older than me, and my sister, nine. My upbringing was a faithful attempt on behalf of both of my parents to do the very best they could by us. Early in my healing I heard Yogini Sharon Gannon say, “Remember, at every moment you are doing the best you can at that time.” A moment later, you might know and be able to do better. I keep this in mind when recalling my childhood. My parents were both products of deeply traumatic cycles of pain. In a way, I believe my PTSD was uniquely inherited. It is often said that the soul chooses the family they are born into. I also believe it is the journey and destiny of the soul to grow and evolve. Today, I am able to see my relationship within my family as my soul’s necessary environment for growth and healing. Of course… this revelation came later on.
“To be an empath is to be sensitive”
As a child, a chaotic environment with high expectations combined with fierce love and sprinkled with guilt developed and fine-tuned some of the most powerful skills I possess today, high achieving and deeply empathetic. To be an empath is to be sensitive. The word sensitive generally has a negative connotation, but I believe sensitivity and deep empathy is exactly what our planet and species is in great need of. My ability to anticipate and tune into the emotions and energies around me very naturally was in large part developed through my childhood instincts to anticipate and diffuse the volatility of my household.
I was often referred to as dramatic, moody, bratty; you name it. It has taken me years to release those beliefs about myself and realize that my sensitivity is a truly beautiful gift.
At ten, my father left. I often recalled the years prior to my father leaving as fairly normal, supportive, and healthy. I think this was in large part because my memory of those years is very vague. As my father bobbed and weaved in and out of my life through my early and late teens, I buried the sweeter parts of me along with my pain. It’s almost as if when the pain grows too great we shed it all temporarily; the best and worst of ourselves. My grades, my health, and my self-esteem all began to suffer as I made the transition into my teenage years. The pain of losing stability eclipsed my natural wisdom and light; and for a moment, I lost myself.
As a teenager, I retracted. Every aspect of my life was out of alignment. Energetically, I felt like I had evaporated. I spent a lot of time philosophizing my existence and my experiences. I romanticized the ideal life and then broke every rule I could find to mirror that daydream.
Ironically, I still craved approval, like the sweet child inside always had; it had just shifted from that of my family, to my peers. Approval was “the name of the game” for most of my life. How I felt about myself was a direct result of how others felt about me. Being able to sense the things I could in others, but not understand what was happening or how to differentiate my own thoughts made things very confusing. Feeling advanced intellectually in one sense, but limited by a crushing sense of unworthiness, shame, and inadequacy. My body was wise and had coping mechanisms built for the unprepared child in pain. A teenager (still a child) grieving the life she had expected, missing her father, and missing her mother. The phenomenon of numbness was a real occurrence for me and it took tremendous grief that would come later, pain greater than my anger toward my mother and father, to heal my inability to feel.
My Great Escape
I fantasized about turning 18 for about 7 years before it happened. I prepared for takeoff the months prior to my October birthday. I didn’t apply to colleges; I was focused on my escape. I was working full time at a restaurant in Riverside, CA and had grown very close to my older sister. Being nine years older than me, she was burdened with a great responsibility in the turmoil of my parent’s divorce. I think the instinct was akin to an animal who finds a lonesome cub in the wild. Her intention was to connect with me in a way we had never been able to as sisters, but to also try to create stability in my life and give me a chance to thrive. In hindsight, I see this, and am eternally grateful.
So, at 18 I packed all my things and moved to Orange County. A whopping 45 minutes from my home town. I transferred to the local restaurant where my sister bartended and started my new life. I enrolled in classes full time and rode my bike from home-to-class-to-work, day in and day out. On our downtime my sister and I hit the bars, went dancing, and threw parties in her beautiful home. We dated together and bonded in a truly unforgettable way.
At 19 I finally got a car and started to make a little bit more money. The party was ending. My sister was settling down with a guy she met and my second year of college had begun. Have you ever heard the expression, “The calm before the storm”…?
I had dated a few guys since I had moved out to the area but had not connected deeply with anyone until I set my sight on Brett, the bus boy. We had been working together for the entire year prior and he was very reserved and would not allow my flirtatious Libran tendencies into his cosmic arena. Well maybe sometimes for a second… and then he’d close back up! He was an artist, the beautiful kind of human who is truly mysterious. It took months of practicing my French, appealing to his interests (first mistake) and presenting the mysterious wild woman in me before I captured his interest. I guess as a result, I entered the relationship feeling unworthy of him on some level because of this grand chase.
Despite it, as Brett and I began our relationship, we fell in love quickly. Something ignited between us and creatively we functioned as the other’s muse. The thing is, when two romanticists get together, there is no one to peel the other off the proverbial ceiling. There is no one to ground you or align you, leaving a certain brand of tragedy… just ahead.
“….when I found out I was pregnant”
We were living at my sister’s house with her and her boyfriend when I found out I was pregnant. I was 19, a baby myself. Not the “know-how” to even fryan egg. The naïve 19-year-old girl, caught up in the intense romance of rainy days, young love, and dating an older guy. I remember the sweetest sensation of my pregnant body, a bliss-like calm. I remember the silence and darkness of Brett, enough to eclipse my power and take it all from me to be left and never re-opened.
Less than a month after my decision to not take my pregnancy to term, I received a phone call. I had just returned from the annual French Film Festival. One of my childhood friends (the best friend of my brother) had been hit and killed by a train in our hometown. I remember lying crumbled on the patio floor, guilt rushing through my veins for the relief that the call had not been in regard to the death of my father, who at this time was a severe addict. The timing of the loss was heavy; I was unraveling and my previous methods of protection and my inability to feel were slowly giving weigh. During these same months, my best friend gave birth to a baby girl and my heart stung with grief, love, and envy.
Part 1 of a 4 Part Series sharing honesty, vulnerability, healing and the birth of Bright Radiance.