Here we are, day fourteen of journal entries -- what a healing practice it is to show up for self every-single-day. The simple act of being here to look into the soul and peer into my own beating heart to say nothing more than "how are you today, Kori?" and then to allow the emotions to pour out on paper refraining from judgement or agenda; just allowing self to... be.
Allowing self to show up as self is has been the single greatest tool of healing I have ever learned. For so long I spent my time clinging to the good, manifesting my desires and vision boarding my hopes and "perfect life" all the while shaming my perceived flaws, striving for perfection when I felt I was lacking and avoiding (at all cost) the "negative" side of self. I had no idea how to show up where I was at; I only knew how to create an image in my minds eye of how thought I should show up and then muster up the creativity and self-discipline to be that thing I thought I should be.
Unless I was perfect then nothing I ever did felt good enough. I was trapped in my own self-defeating thought patterns that told me that perfection was the goal; type A is the desire; I am an accomplisher, a hard worker, a pretty, fit, goal-oriented, get-shit-done human who excels at all I do. Inside I never felt like I could do enough to keep the voice in my head happy. It was a strict regime of perfection and when I could not juggle all the self-imposed balls, shame kicked in -- I didn't know it was "shame" then, I just knew I hated myself.
I really hated myself for so long.
I hated how I looked. I hated how people expected a certain behavior from me based on how I looked. I hated that people looked at me and told me with their out-loud-voice that I was "lucky" as if they knew what its like to be me; as if my body identified who I am... and yet, I let it. I thought it did. You think it's easy to be in this body? You think I just roll out of bed and become fit? Fuck no; back then I stressed about it -- I obsessively worked out -- too be skinny, not to be healthy -- I starved myself, counted calories and very, very strictly (aka: obsessively) only ate healthy food. If I consumed something unhealthy in those days I would visibly be able to see it on my body though the lens of intensely distorted body image -- it tortured me. It was hell. No one knew it, the praised for my body and for my looks -- thats who I was. Why did the people see me how they saw me and I saw me completley different? Why was it hell-on-earth for me and yet a perception for others as ease and luck?
I knew men wanted me, I knew I had a face and body that was "pretty" even though i failed to see it. I knew I was the woman that some men felt proud to be with and yet being a girlfriend felt like hell on the daily basis. I felt like I wasn't sexy or good at being sexual. I didn't feel cuddly and submissive like I thought I should be. I didn't identify with any form of softness and 100% of the time I would become hardened in love -- relationships felt like 2 left feet; a foreign and frightening land. It felt out of my comfort zone, I felt frigid and weird and awkward. I was uncomfortable in my body, in my mind and in my skin. Why couldn't I be what the men thought I was based on what I looked like? How come I couldn't match up to the monthly advise in Cosmo? I wasn't sexy like those woman. I didn't know how to do my makeup of dress cool, like those women. I didn't feel confident around men like those women did. Sex felt like a out of body experience -- a job to do -- and not always becasue there was a lack of love for the other human but becasue I was faking it -- I hated self, I had an abundant well of self-distain. I hated being naked -- Ihated my body, I was unsure if my vagina was "normal" and my boobs were so small they made me feel like a child My insides and my outsides never made sense.
And yet when I tried to use the thing that everyone told me was my thing -- my looks -- at modeling agencies I was told that my nose was too big, I was too short.... I wasn't "quiet right". Even my talent -- my looks -- wasn't right.
My whole life felt like this.
A big failure.
A waste of potential.
2 left feet.
The inside mismatching the outside.
The pretty face masking a dark and dirty secret of self-loathing.
My goals and visions for myself were so grande -- I could feel a light in me -- but the reality would be for many years that I could barley make rent. In school I fumbled, I didn't feel smart but I didn't have the courage to ask questions. I didn't feel like I fit into the popular group but I didn't have the courage to step back and say this didn't feel right to me -- plus that group gave me a brilliant false sense of self-worth. I hated dance class -- almost every second of it -- it tore my self esteem apart (granted that could have alot to do with my dance teacher that seemed to enjoy yelling at me in front of our entire company on a regular basis, but thats another journal entry). There was no where in my life that I felt... good about myself -- becasue I was trying so hard to be something else.
Behind closed doors I was raging mad and I couldn't figure out why.
I didn't know then that there was a beauty in anger; in rage. I didn't know how to be intimate with my emotions, I only knew that this dark and uncomfortable feeling did not fit into my perfect little box of measuring up to the standards that I had placed for self and so I tried to burry it with all my mite. I didn't know how to honour sexual desires that showed up, I didn't see them as natural, they made me feel like a dirty sinner and so I repressed that too. I didn't know how to honour my body and to allow it to fluctuate like a woman's body does and so I starved it, I beat it up and I hated it. I had a false idea that being a woman meant having babies, being a sexual object and doing dishes and so I hated being a woman, I hated being inside my "weak" woman body and I decided that anything I man can do, I can do it -- better. I didn't know that the school system was made for one style of learning nor did I know that many of my forms of eduction were to come from life lessons rather than university and so I sat back and felt defeated, un-smart and useless .... like I had wasted my potential and like I would never measure up the way the smart people did. I shut down my voice and my opinions becasue I didn't have a degree to back them up. I shook with fear when conversations got "brainy", I felt I had nothing to offer -- nothing at all.
I walked around and felt like a fraud.
Nothing I did could meet the level of perfection that my inner critic had set out for me. No distance of running, no limiting of calories, no amount of makeup, no circle of friends ... nothing would measure up. Nothing was ever good enough. Somehow I didn't even see this as a problem; I saw this as my "standards". I was that girl that worked hard, that put my whole heart in, that didn't value rest, that would push and plough forward and never let onto the world how hard it was, how broken and lost and weak I felt inside.
Inside I just wanted to be saved from the hell I had created for self.
And alas it happened; holding the masks up became too much and I crumbled.
Perfection was surprisingly not such a pretty word as I once thought it was.
Perfection was not a standard.
Perfection was not a motivating force.
Perfection was not ideal to strive for.
Perfection was the voice of the inner critic.
Perfection was not propelling me forward but rather disconnecting me from the authenticity of how I truly felt which was in turn shrinking my ability to expand into full potential; for full potential requires an intimate knowing, surrendering too and understanding of our emotions.
Perfection was holding me back.
And so, with alot of therapy and alot of time I started to drop the need to be perfect and in the process I found me. I found a woman who was longing to be seen, I found a woman who was tender and smart and unique and broken and shattered and complete and light and whole and intuitive and dark and deep. I found a depth in this woman that is me. I found the courage to show up as I am, to lean into the spaces that are real for me.
I have learned to be able to lean into self, to show up as I am and to simply say "how are you today Kori?" and from there I have learned to listen and to acknowledge and to call on nourishment in the from of daily self-care rituals. I have learned that there is no need to cling to the good or run from the bad becasue there is no good or bad -- they are all but experiences that lead us deeper and deeper and deeper into our human experience, into our hearts.
At the end of the day, allowing myself to show up has created peace in my soul; for a woman who has been in a lifetime of self-battle of destructive war, peace feels really, really wonderful. Today my insides match my outsides and I have discovered a deep sense of comfort in being who I am -- even when it is uncomfortable.