Last time I talked about choices and how we have the choice to take responsibility and control for our lives. I also mentioned a tidbit about the choices I made as a teenager. Today I want to expand on that. This is going to be one of my most vulnerable posts to date and I do want to warn you that if you have struggled with any of the things I’m going to talk about today, this post might be a trigger. So what will I talk about? Sex, drugs, alcohol, and looking for love outside of myself. While some of these things might be a trigger for some of you, I am sharing in hopes that I remind you that you are not the only one and that there are others of us who have been there or are currently there.
Like I said last time, I started having sex, drinking, and smoking weed when I was 14. Just a couple of years prior my parents had gone through a messy divorce and were still constantly fighting. My mother was barely keeping us afloat and we had already moved once or twice by this time. My father was full-swing in his drug and alcohol-fueled life and I was starting to realize that he was too handsy with me when he wanted to tickle me as though I was still a young toddler. My older sister was going through legal issues from her four-and-a-half-month-old son dying (that is a whole other conversation that I will have someday). My younger sister and I were at the peak of our hate for each other. Mind you, that peak lasted a really long time and took both of us making a lot of changes in our lives to get back to speaking terms. My teenage years were some of the worst and were definitely some of the most formative.
I didn’t realize until the past few years that I turned to these things because I was looking for the feeling of love. There was none of it at home. None. I felt alone and hated or used by most of my family. My mother accused me of everything that was wrong at home and between my younger sister and me. It was as though I could do nothing right. My father started asking me to procure him drugs. Not just weed, but other drugs. I declined and denied I even smoked weed. My younger sister would fly off the handle at me for me trying to keep the house clean so I didn’t get yelled at. She even came at me with a knife one time. Not only was I bullied from a young age at school, but she bullied me at home and called me whore and many other names. A lot of the emotions and triggers I developed and have to heal today came from my home life during my most formative years.
Since I wasn’t getting love at home, I made friends with people who truly were awesome and who were the wrong people to be involved with. I didn’t get as much exposure to awesome friends because of our actual proximity to each other outside of school. Living in the middle of nowhere and not having somebody to shuttle me to and from a place made a difference. The people I made friends with that weren’t good for me either lived within a mile or so of me and I could walk to their homes or they had cars. Some of these people I met through my older sister who was also in the wrong crowd. I wish I could say this crowd introduced me to weed, but it was through my older sister that I learned of it.
As I met this group of people, I started to drink alcohol and smoke weed with them. Soon after, I interpreted that they were showing me the love that I so desperately craved. That is when sex entered my life.
Throughout high school, I consistently drank alcohol and smoked weed. Into college, I drastically reduced the amount of weed since I was working at jobs that actually drug tested, but I still drank heavily. Funny enough, I never purchased my own weed, I always bummed off of other people. That was probably a blessing. I think since college ended, I smoked less than a handful of times. But I continued to drink heavily and look for the feeling of love through sex. I was constantly looking and never truly felt loved.
As I sit here and share this with you, I wish I could return to that 14-year-old girl and just love on her and share with her what I now know. The deepest, warmest love doesn’t come from others. It comes from within. It comes from self-love. I was not taught anything good about love when I was growing up and so I most definitely was not taught that the most important thing for me is to love myself.
I read this quote recently and it triggered the deepest sadness and longing I’ve experienced to go back and love my younger self. It made me wish I could have had the role model I so desperately needed. The quote by François de La Rochefoucauld reads “When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.”
For the majority of my life, I searched for love and tranquility outside of myself. I searched high and low and in ALL of the wrong places. I searched and I searched and I searched. Even after I married a man who loves all of me, even the broken pieces of me, I still searched in other people. I shifted from searching for love through sex to searching for love from people who were becoming my family and expecting to be loved life the movies portrayed families loving each other. All the while, I continued to drink alcohol. I also was getting more serious about trying be a certain body size because that fit with the two family members I thought would give me what I craved. I continued to search for tranquility and love from other people.
Until recently. I have realized that to find the love that I’ve been searching for, I need to love myself first. One of the biggest issues with loving myself was how I viewed my physical body. I started following body-positive influencers on Instagram that show the world the realistic side of the models who are posed and edited to be perfect without cellulite or stretch marks and with the flattest of abs and the best asses ever. I’ve learned so many things that are lies that I’ve been able to stop hating things about my own body. That was the first step. I had to stop hating things before I could start loving them.
I’ve also done a lot of work to learn about and heal my hormonal cycles. Did you know that sugar and alcohol are major impactors of your mood swings and the impacts of your hormonal shifts during your monthly cycle? Oh and so is ALL of the food we eat. Between the food and beverages we consume, the movement or lack of movement, and how we talk to ourselves, we determine how our emotions and hormones are impacted which then affects everything about everything our brain does or doesn’t do.
Instead of looking for love from other people, I have taken the beginnings of my journey to love myself into a bigger journey of loving myself and finding tranquility in life from within. I am slowly learning and exploring how nourishing everything from within greatly influences how life is lived on the outside. I am learning and exploring how vibrations make up everything and how the vibrations we allow into our lives influences everything about our life.
For so many years I had no idea how to find tranquility within or what that even meant so I tried my hardest to find it in everything external. It wasn’t until I opened my mind to truly loving myself and who I am that I discovered tranquility comes from within. Our past does not have to remain the way we live into our future. We can change anything and everything. We simply have to be willing to open our hearts and our minds to the possibilities and the difficult work it will take to heal. Some of us can do it on our own through persistent personal reflection and development, some need to include the assistance of an outside mentor or therapist. There is no right or wrong answer. There is only the answer that works best for your uniquely beautiful self.
If you want peace and tranquility and love, look within. That’s where it matters most.