I've recently been working on updating my website, getting my house in order, organising my time better and generally slowing down a little. My life at 'slower' is someone else's at full tilt, I know that, but I love it that way! Basically, I fill my life with people, things and opportunities I love and value, and why wouldn't I? I've learned the hard way.
I often see on social media that people write things like 'school of hard knocks' or 'university of tough life' in their 'about me - education' sections. It seems we all know these places, some of us more than others, but whether we choose to take up permanent residence in them is another matter altogether. I gave up my residency many years ago now, and here's part of my story so that others may understand the power of intention and a steely determination to change what doesn't work.
It's easy to make assumptions about others - "oh she's all airy fairy" or "he has no idea what it's like to struggle", or "they could never understand me, they don't know what it's like to be (fill in gap) ------", and yet many of us do know and whilst it may not be the same story it is often the same drama, the drama of 'poor me'. Sometimes it's the actual fact of having lived these experiences that makes those who see life differently hold onto that positivity so tightly; because they've seen what it's like and felt what it's like not to have, or be that. I know that may trigger some people, those who aren't ready to give up their 'story' yet, and that's ok, it's a big world with a lot of people in it and not everyone is going to 'get' you or like you. Getting to being okay with that is one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself actually, and I highly recommend starting now. Get on it with loving yourself; that's your main work in this life, and then the old adage about what others think of you being none of your business really starts to mean something.
When I was just a wee girl of eighteen years old, I was a sweet, honest and rather naive soul. I fell in love easily, mainly with the bad boys, and I trusted openly, despite my intuition telling me otherwise - I had never learnt to pay too much attention to it. This was a pretty lethal cocktail! Bad boys + open trusting nature + ignoring instinct = recipe for disaster, and 'disaster' was exactly what I got. By nineteen I was living in London with a psychopathic man and an increasing addiction to heroin. Self medicating from a bruised heart and a confused soul, I sought and found solace in the unexpected comforts of opium in its street based form, and by the age of twenty I was nursing and feeding a £120 a day 'habit' however I could. I have so many stories from this time, so many harsh memories of seeing friends OD, seeing myself spewing up outside a London Tube station in severe withdrawal, seeing myself desperately grasping for any kind of respite but not having the courage, or the knowledge to change things. I remember myself shivering in bone shaking agony in dingy basement flats, begging for any kind of let up to my pain. I remember offering all kinds of favours to corrupt doctors for off prescription medications (which often came) and I remember being willing to fill my body with toxic crap if it would just block out the agonies of withdrawal for one tiny moment of my day. I could have stayed in that place and taken up residence there. I could have chosen a different life, a different ending, probably an ending closer in years to Amy Winehouse or Janis Joplin than I am now, but I didn't, I chose to transform my story and to find a way out.
I met Amy several years back courtesy of my gorgeous friend Sandy Green, amazing tattooist and woman of great wonder! Amy was in her downward spiral at the time but a lovely soul. She gave my young daughters free tickets to her gig, gave them a note about their mum (me) being lovely (I still have that precious note), and smiled sweetly at me as I thanked her. We went to her gig that night, and several months later she was dead. Life can be that fickle. Obviously we all struggle with our inner demons and our personal pains to greater or lesser degrees, but I want you all to know that in relation to mine, it is a CHOICE to focus on the positive and what's more it's a choice based in knowledge not in ignorance. I will not be the next Amy or the next sorry soul stuck in addictions or fear or shame or constant anxiety. I will not be the next person to reach my golden years thinking "holy shit, that was it?!!" about my life. Rather, I will be the woman I seek to see in others, hopefully a source of inspiration, kindness and support; a source of love, leadership and light. Then, if you tell yourself that others can't possibly understand, know that often we do understand only too well, we are just choosing a different 'story' to tell ourselves and to reflect back into the world. Often that takes great discipline, we all have bad days after all.
So in moving from heroin to being the heroine of my own tale, I'm damn grateful for all the lessons that led me there. My story makes me who I am now but it is also paradoxically not me, for what I am is what we all are in essence, pure, strong and essentially as mother*!@king holy as it gets!
Now go out and spread love! What else is there to do?
Steph offers life coaching, energetic bodywork and shamanic tantric healing sessions for those who are looking to change their life, or just desiring to create lasting health and wellbeing for themselves. Please click here for more information.