I have spent the past 2 ½ years exploring the concepts of ‘softness’, ‘feminine energy’, and ‘vulnerability’. I have entered into the darkest corners of my soul (which I refer to as the ‘soul swamp') and I can now say with certainty, that I truly value the dark. I believe the darkness has a divinity to it like nothing else.
We are not designed to be happy all of the time. And you know what? That’s ok.
One of the most profound lessons I have learned is the ability to sit with the dark sides of the soul. I am not afraid of the human capacity to feel. I find it an honor to be there myself, and an even bigger honor when I get the privilege to hold the space for another person to simply be human.
It is natural to have a wide range of emotions, and they can bubble up at any time, without any warning, rhyme or reason. Emotions are like wild horses, they are best left to run free.
I have always known what I want to do with my existence. I have always wanted to be a leader and a warrior in leading woman back to self-love. I knew this deep in my soul from a young age. Ironically I didn’t truly know what self-love was until I fell so completely, so desperately out of self-love that I wound up in therapy one dark September evening almost 3 years ago. I was merely a shell of a person. I was barley hanging on. I was sad. I was numb. I hated every ounce of who I was. I had lost my spark, my creativity, and my passion. My spirit was so beat-up; I was so overwhelming consumed with self-hate, self-doubt, and self harm.
So, for 2 ½ years I spent my time exploring the inner workings of my being. I spent countless hours staring into space, contemplating the purpose of this existence and most importantly I dedicated my time to figuring out how to self-care. What does self-love look like? What does it mean to fall in love with who you are? What is it like to authentically love the reflection in the mirror – no matter what you look like, no matter how many fucked up mistakes you have made. What is it like to just learn to accept who you are? Flaws and all.
It’s funny, the moment I decided to explore self-love, all things self hating bubbled to the surface. It was like self-hate was on steroids for me. It was so in my face, all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and never face reality again.
I can tell you (and Im sure my family, and friends will attest to this) that this was not a pretty process. This was a dark process for me. This was a time of trying and failing and having many sleepless nights, coupled with emotional outbursts, depression and a tun of anxiety. There was a day that I will never forget in this process that I asked my therapist if perhaps he thought I was bi-polar. I felt so off-kilter, I could not seem to gain balance. No matter how hard and how dark it got I would see tiny glimpses of peace - small moments of self-knowing would show themselves. However short-lived those moments were, they gave me hope - and it was enough for me to remain dedicated to the journey.
A learned a few coping techniques, a keep them in my phone with the title "emergency list" - these are the activities I would do to get grounded, when things got dark. I made elixirs, I cooked (no, I did not used to like cooking), I painted (no, painting is not a talent of mine, but it feels good), I wrote in my journal - alot. I took "goddess baths"; I cried, I yelled, I visited my dads grave; I spent countless hours at the Light Cellar in Calgary learning about herbs and tinctures! I spent alot of time alone.
It was only a short time ago that I thought being feminine was weak. I thought that vulnerability was a trait to run away from. I thought that strength meant creating goals, accomplishing them, working hard and staying busy. My mind tends to lead towards perfectionism, and speed. I was always racing to the invisible finish line. My Mum and my therapist constantly told me “Kori, ‘slow down’” – this became a mantra for me. It was scribbled in my agenda, I wrote it on the bathroom mirror in lipstick and often times it would be scribbled on my hand in permanent marker. I had this insane pressure in my head – a team of critics who told me how shitty I was at being human, how I would never amount to anything, who was I to ‘lead women’, other people are more qualified”. It told me that I sucked – at, everything. This voice knocked me down more times than I can count.
I know I am not alone in this.
I used to always run from these dark voices. I would put a happy face on ‘think positive’, but the voices only got louder. The shadow became a dark cloud that followed me, and no matter how fast I ran, it ran faster. I could not escape. And then, I learned to turn around and look at the critics in the face. I learned to face the shadow – I learned the concept of ‘leaning in to the pain’. That skill was life changing for me.
It has taken me very carefully directed energy, and a lot of disciple to explore self-compassion and self-forgiveness. It was only possible for me through the support of my therapist (who got emails from me on a daily basis – bless is heart), my tribe, and my concentrated effort to re-connect to God and the bigger idea of ‘the universe’; that I was able to fall back in-love with myself.
It’s emotional to simply recount the journey this was. (and still is)
I had to learn to slow down. I had to learn that organic growth takes time. I had to learn to become ok with uncertainty. I had to learn that I am worthy even when I screw up. I learned that when I am tired, it’s ok to nap. When I am sad, its ok to cry. When I am scared it’s ok to admit it. I learned to stay soft in thought; I learned to breathe. I learned that this whole ‘self-evolution’ thing is a sloooow process, and to my surprise I learned that there is no finish line to race towards. No one is coming to save me, and no one would be waiting at the imaginary finish line with a trophy for my excellent work. I learned the busy-ness does not equate to success; and with that I also learned that slowing down – taking a break – doing nothing – does not equate to laziness or failure. I learned the strength and power of a tribe.
I share this with you because part of my promise in this blog is to be raw and real. One of my strongest values is vulnerability – vulnerability does not exist without ‘showing up’, really, truly showing up.
IT IS NOT WEAKNESS. That is a myth. (one that I used to firmly believe in). Vulnerability is the ability to show up. It’s the ability to be seen. It’s the ability to speak your truth, to follow the yearnings of your heart and show up in the most real, most authentic way possible. Brene Brown says that vulnerability is the birthplace of courage, innovation and creativity. I could not agree more.
I am dedicated to the exploration of what it truly means to be a powerful, self-loving, authentic woman. There we have it, blog #1 – complete.