The Shadow Of My Wellness Journey
It being the age of authenticity and all, I felt compelled to honestly present myself and my journey with all who are willing to listen. As a consumer and creator of health, wellness, self-help, and motivational content I feel obligated to provide this space with a snapshot of my own shadows in hopes of it resonating with even just one person.
I can definitely get on board with the chronic illness, disordered eating, and body shame journeys. I’ve been there. But the truth is my health journey is so much more complex than that--stemmed from removing myself from a toxic environment in which I was so comfortable.
I grew up in a seemingly normal family in the suburbs outside of LA. I was enrolled in everything I wanted to do--dance, gymnastics, ice skating, painting, and cheer. Blessed, fa sho. Zoom in though, and you’d see dysfunction--addiction, depression, anger, arrests, self-harm, chaos.
I acted out pretty egregiously my whole childhood. I would scream at mom, refuse to clean my room, throw things, disrupt class, and set things on fire. Looking back, I can clearly see that I was simply craving attention in a chaotic world that often revolved around what was going wrong over what was going right.
Would you be surprised if I told you that my freshman year of high school I found my way into a group of junior boys and started smoking weed, drinking, and maybe even puffing the occasional cigarette? Of course you wouldn’t! And there it began. Well not really because it so obviously began in childhood, at home, as these things do.
And as these things also do, the partying progressed and evolved. Weed and booze turned into opioids, ecstasy, mushrooms, LSD, coke, ketamine, and even heroin. Fortunately for me, I was in the camp of people that would do anything to not be an addict like those in her family. I should also mention that though my home was chaotic, there was never ever a shortage of love or support. So because of those two things I didn’t get hooked on heroin. Lucky me.
What I did do on the other hand, was truly blossom and thrive in my codependent caretaker role I was destined to play. I had a seriously unhealthy relationship with my ‘best friend’ who was two years older than me, madly in love with me, super manipulative, emotionally unstable, and on heroin... He was the addicted peanut butter to my codependent jelly. And we did that dance for about eight years.
I also had a few different flings and relationships that fueled my codependent flame--ranging from the high school dropout, to the sociopath, to multiple addicts--all of whom were emotionally unavailable to some degree. I swear I was going to save just one of them! But did I save them? Inspire them to change? Heal their wounds and send them off on a path of wholeness and meaning? HA!
From ages 15-20 I accumulated one curfew ticket, two possession of marijuana tickets, and three speeding tickets. I went to parties, clubs, raves, and music festivals. I slid through high school with a 3.0 because school was always pretty easy for me (thank God for my Chinese genes). Turns out college required much more attendance and effort than high school, though. I flunked out my sophomore year and moved back home with my parents.
When I started taking classes that I actually enjoyed at the local junior college and getting good grades, I ended up changing my major from science to sociology. I began picturing my future self doing good in the world while enjoying the process.
And I think that was key. I was beginning to put the pieces of myself together and looking at the big picture--what did I want, what made me happy, what was my purpose, what did I feel good about doing?
My hunger and vision for a meaningful life began to grow which inevitably began to steer me further away from the need for instant gratification in the forms of drinking, smoking, shopping, partying, etc. It also opened me up to the truth that in order to find content and fulfillment in life, I needed to stop looking for purpose in broken people. I was beginning to see the pattern of who and what I chose to surrounded myself with and why.
Fast forward a couple of years and I finally graduated college, found a truly special and supportive relationship, had a job that brought me real happiness, and was welcomed into a group of really awesome friends that all had the same goals in mind--to live a life of purpose.
I’m definitely very grateful that these dramatic changes took place because they really built a much sturdier foundation for when I would eventually be diagnosed with endometriosis causing my whole life to change.
When I look back I feel pretty confident that my head-first dive into holistic health was simply a manifestation of my deep need to finally put all of my attention on helping and healing myself over everyone else. I had been presented with this opportunity to really take the reigns of my own life and steer it toward the vague vision of my future--one with vitality and excitement, passion and purpose, and a true ability to help others.
There is so much more to wellness than just making healthy food choices and healing your relationship with your body. For me it began when I was reminded of what I truly wanted out of life--an atmosphere where I could shine my brightest, and in turn help others do the same. When I began to slowly exit a toxic lifestyle fueled by instant gratification, end codependent relationships, and focus on my own growth as a student of life, I laid the foundation to create a life dedicated to health and wellness.
I find myself so darn passionate about wellness simply because the first 20 years of my life were completely devoid of health, self care, purpose, or peace. But I want to shed light on what I believe to be the most foundational component of health--an understanding of those dark shadows that prevent us from reaching our potential; and the removal of toxic thoughts, patterns, people, ideas, and habits that perpetuate our cycle of limitation in life.