I had to do it in steps.
First, my brother’s accident, writing about the pain.
Then writing about my skin, my attachment to makeup, letting that go.
I remember that being the scariest thing I had ever done at that time.
For my entire teenage life I had plastered my face in foundation. I carried it everywhere. I did not let anyone see me without it.
And then I realized I was out of integrity, because I was talking about self-love but I didn’t love my skin. Not my skin, which was covered in some of the worst acne you’ve ever seen.
So I stopped wearing it.
And not only did I stop wearing it but then I wrote about it. I wrote an article and sent it to Elephant Journal and they published it and not only did I have to do the scariest thing and let people see my bare face but then I also had to tell everyone about it. So everybody knew, they knew I hated my skin and that it was hard for me to let people see me.
I was 20.
And I learned something very, very important.
Which was that the things I was so afraid of – the way people would treat me if I looked “ugly,” how nobody would like me anymore – none of that happened.
And instead I became more free.
So I learned to seek out that feeling of fear. That it meant something. That it was pointing me to what was next.
One time I was in the pitch-black forest of Virginia and I got the clear message that I was to walk down through the woods to the river at night.
I immediately was like, no. No thanks. Not interested in doing that.
And then I was like fuck me, because I know that is exactly the thing I have committed my life to following.
I walked down through the forest in the middle of the night with coyotes howling around me, using the light from my phone as a flashlight.
And I sang. I sang a song that the trees gave me to me and I also sang “I choose love.”
(I was a 21-year-old yoga teacher, that was what I knew to say)
I made it to the river and I told the river all the things I wanted to let go of.
I turned around to walk back up through the woods and I had a realization: I belong here too.
I am a part of this too.
The woods is not outside of me.
And I turned the corner and there was a little owl, sitting directly in the middle of the path, staring up at me.
I shared everything online. My breakups. How angry I was at men. How angry I was at different parts of the world.
It was messy.
I look back at it and I am like wow. That was me.
Somehow a part of me knew that it was important to let everybody see.
Any time I thought about a piece of my life and I was like, “I could never tell people about that,” or “I could never do that,” that was exactly what I knew I had to do next.
This will not be everyone’s journey, not in the same way.
But it was mine.
I don’t have a degree in anything.
I almost had one. I was technically a semester shy of a college degree after attending – and quitting – 4 different universities from the ages of 18-24. I don’t know what degree you’d give me, though, because I had about 8 different majors during that time.
And you know what? I don’t regret any of it. Because I draw on things I’ve learned in different classes every day.
I have a lot of different “certifications” and I don’t rely on those either. You will rarely see me name them. “I am certified in this.”
Because I draw on pieces from those all the time but none of those are me.
I honestly think the biggest piece of medicine I hold is the way I have continually only followed what is True.
I know this path.
I know what it has meant for me to out pieces of myself over and over again.
I can’t even tell you how many friendships I’ve lost. How many relationships with family members have shifted. How much identity death and loss of who I thought I was has occurred.
Gaining 50+ lbs has been the scariest thing I have ever done.
And I don’t think I could have ever done it in this way had I not had such practice of continually dismantling myself over and over again.
There is a huge piece of trust in life that comes from following your deepest knowing.
Because when you do it over and over and over again for so many years you begin to build the evidence and you begin to understand how it works.
My relationship with the universe is something I actually understand deeply. It might be the only thing I know to be true.
This journey of becoming.
And I actually feel like a baby.
Like in gaining all this weight I have finally shed the skin of who I thought that I was.
Here is what I know.
This journey is equally painful and rewarding. It provides as much loss as it does abundance.
And ultimately if it is calling you it doesn’t really matter what you will get from it.
Because you will know in your bones that it is the only thing that matters.
To follow the deepest thing inside of you.
The thing you are most afraid of.
To let people see the actual you.
To let YOU see the actual you.