A few weekends ago, I decided to clean up old notebooks (my ADHD brain has me using multiple notebooks to store ideas which is…fun…), and I came across this gem from a decade ago.
I remember it perfectly. I had enrolled in one of the gazillion courses I’ve signed up for through the years and was excited about this exercise because it meant clarity which to my brain at the time, sounded like music to my ears.
Draw the before working with you and the after working with you.
Ok…sounds simple enough. (Little did I know what was in store for me…)
Because I’m NOT an artist, I decided stick figures would have to do and even my stick figures are bad. WHY CAN’T I EVEN DRAW STICK FIGURES?!?!?! (not the point of this post though…)
Before we dive into the rest of the story…I want you to really study that picture. Do you see the faces on each of those stick figures? I was ALL IN on this exercise, lol. I even pulled out my good glitter pens!
Let’s explore the before.
She feels bored, indifferent, sad about the decisions she’s made, angry at the world, like a zombie. She’s also resentful, ambivalent, meh, feels like a fraud, is lonely, and a caged animal.
Look at that zombie’s face. Like I said…I was IN IT.
Now let’s look at the after.
ALIVE, content, exhilarated, happy, shiny, vibrant, sexy, confident, fulfilled, on cloud 9, capable, free.
To clue you in on the rest of the story here, I was describing then-current me (the before) and who I really wanted to be and feel (the after).
You probably guessed that already though because you’re smart.
Going through old notebooks for ideas isn’t something new to me…I do it a few times a year so I’ve come across this image often in the last decade.
And each time I would flip the page quickly. Because The Before was still truer than The After and who the hell was I to be coaching women when I wasn’t The After?
Honestly? This image triggered me in ways I’m not proud of. I was filled with shame. How could this be me?
But there it was, in about as simple a visual as you could make, all the things I hated about my life.
I was bored, indifferent, sad about the decisions I’d made, angry at the world, felt like a zombie, resentful, ambivalent, meh, a fraud, lonely, scared, a caged animal.
On the outside, things looked great. I smiled easily, laughed loudly, great career, loving family with well-rounded kiddos, nice home, blah, blah, fucking blah.
Who the hell was I to feel The Before? How ungrateful could one person be?!?!?!
This time, when I came across this picture (if we can call it that, lol), it didn’t trigger me. It didn’t even register much with me. I tore it out of my notebook and put it in a pile to throw away.
And it sat there on my desk, looking at me because you can’t rush these things (ahem…getting rid of said piles because you were distracted by something else).
Until one day, my eyes caught The After and I read through it again and realized…hey, THAT’S ME. I’M DESCRIBING ME! WHEN THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN?!?!?!
I feel ALIVE. I am beyond content. My life is exhilarating often (not all the time because that would be exhausting). I’m happy. I feel shiny. I am vibrant, sexy, confident, fulfilled, on cloud 9, capable, and free.
If you’ve been around and read my story, you’ll know that nothing changed and everything changed.
What I mean by that is, none of my external circumstances changed. I still had the same job, same husband, same kiddos, etc.
But everything had changed internally.
✨ Self-loathing had been healed into self-love
✨ Confusion on why I was the way I was (broken) turned into so much compassion and love for the little girl who’d been raised in an abusive, non-nurturing home. No wonder she never felt safe in her world and learned to hold everyone at arm’s distance, away from her tender heart
✨ Being told I wasn’t a very good or kind person by my mother healed into knowing I am inherently worthy of love + connection
I became the person I’d always wanted to be.
Now – it didn’t happen overnight and I had a lot of support from my husband along the way who had been raised in a nurturing home so he knew what it looked like and could model it for me.
First, I want you to remember that it’s been a decade since I first drew this picture. A decade of tears, depression, losing both parents, job losses, almost walking away from my marriage, loneliness, self-loathing, you name it.
Sure – in between the shit, there were moments of joy and happiness and sometimes fooling myself into believing I was “fine”.
I was not, in fact, “fine”.
It would be another number of years from originally drawing this image that I would start to heal my shit in earnest. It didn’t happen overnight and there were times I was “this close” to throwing in the towel and settle for The Before.
But perseverance has always been a strength of mine and I didn’t give up. Over time, I became The After.
If you’re ready for support, I promise I can get you to The After so much quicker than a decade. Using my SELFISH framework and six months will save you years of heartache and I promise what’s on the other side of the work is so much better than you can even imagine right now.
Does 80-yo you still love PSLs and getting into all sorts of fun trouble? I bet she does!
She is NOT messing around when it comes to her life's fulfillment + contentment. She holds the answers to questions like "Is this all there is?", "Is it ok to want more?", and "What's it all for?".
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