I was already aware of the physical changes I’ve gone through in the last 18 months, but I never realized back then how miserable I looked. That photo on the top right with the thumbs up? The only picture I could find of me smiling from that time period. The. Only. One. Not a very bright smile, is it?
At that time, I was very, very confused. I knew I had something more to offer the world, and I knew that I was committed to healing my body and mind, but I had no idea where to start. In fact, I had barely enough energy or time to even begin to deal with my “issues.” On a day-to-day basis, I was working a job that absolutely sucked the joy out of me and I was struggling with panic attacks, bouts of depression, a case of chronic cystic acne that was both physically painful and debilitating to my self-esteem. I barely even knew how to feed myself.
And the funny thing is, it was the best time of my life at the time. Truly, I was in my best health ever, in a loving relationship, I had finally started therapy for the first time in my life and that job I hated was still the best one I'd ever had. I was on the very first steps of a journey that would take me to the point that I now find myself, and I had no idea where it would take me. All I knew was that if I kept working this job, I would eventually be hospitalized whether for physical or mental health problems. I was being pushed by the universe outside of my comfort zone because I had made that promise to myself to heal- I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing!
Almost exactly one year ago, after suffering a panic attack every day I went to work (literally) for two weeks, I quit my job with no idea where my next form of work would be. For my birthday, I asked my boyfriend to buy me a seat at Winifred Costello’s day-long workshop on spiritual healing, and immediately, I had the very first tools that actually worked for me. I learned that emotional trauma can be healed through energy work. I learned that I have positive energies around me in the form of spirit guides and ancestors that I could ask questions and learn from. Most importantly, I learned that my healing was in my own hands and nobody else knew how to do it better than me- no book, no doctor, no secret formula. However, I simultaneously realized that I needed people to guide me to learn how access my own wisdom.
This is me today. Over the course of the last year, I have finally been able to confront the monsters that were hiding underneath my bed. I learned who I could ask for help and when I needed to face my fears on my own. I went to the absolute darkest places within myself, to memories that I constantly pushed away, to feelings that I tried to drown out, and in those places I found my light. By facing my triggers- and I mean facing them as in screaming and crying on my bedroom floor (within a safe ritual space) as the memories & feelings finally washed over me- I was able to remove the power they had over me. There were definitely times I thought I wasn’t going to make it, where the panic attacks came back in, but those were the times I pushed the hardest.
And now I see the radiant, warm and - dare I say - *happy* woman I have become contrasted by the timid, angry and scared girl I was when I stepped on this path. I always thought that if I could finally clear up my acne, grow my hair long enough, make enough money, become physically fit enough, become popular enough, that my problems would go away and I would experience joy. I never knew that all it would take was to learn to really respect and love myself.
Me in 2016? I was trying. I was reading books about alternative health and witchcraft, attempting small spells in my backyard, practicing my tarot reading and constantly questioning what I could do to help myself feel better. I wasn’t in denial about my health- that ended somewhere around 2015. No, I knew that I needed to get better, but I was trying to do it on my own. I had no help, no guidance, and nobody that I could really trust to teach me how to heal. It was letting myself get the help I needed that changed it. I would not be here today, smiling, enjoying my life on a daily basis, if it weren’t for the fabulous healers that I’ve worked with. Each one of them brought their own lessons to me and gave me gifts of insight that were vital to my healing process. Nobody can do it alone.
I share this highly personal narrative and these very personal photos with you all because it’s the most amazing proof I’ve seen so far for the benefits of spiritual healing and energy work. I was beautiful then and I’m beautiful now, but there’s no photo editor that can fake the sparkle in the eye of someone who’s genuinely smiling.
If you’re like I was back in 2016, you’re trying. You want to feel better. You’re doing work already. But you don’t really know what’s healing you and what isn’t, and the energy that it takes to research and attempt all these different techniques you’ve read about on the internet is more than you have.
It will get so much easier when you ask for help. There are people who have been down this road before who can help you find the best techniques for you. Because it’s not about becoming someone else. It’s about becoming you.