I gratefully wrote this guest post in 2021 for the Blessings Butterfly.
Hi there, loves! I’m Kristin and in 2020 I built an LLC in Kansas City, Missouri called Unravel Your Life. I create & take opportunities that allow me to help people de-clutter their homes & minds, making more space for them to stretch out their arms & be themselves. I do Akashic Record & Tarot readings, and I’m learning Reiki & energy healing. It’s glorious & I’m grateful because my life is rad. I let the Universe guide me on what to do next. I listen, I move forward, one step at a time, with Spirit by my side, receiving messages for myself and for my clients. I feel connected & fulfilled for the first time in my life.
Sounds beautiful & fun & easy breezy, doesn’t it!? Like I just woke up one day and became a magical mystical spiritual goddess. Like I just stepped into energy work & oops, discovered I could hear messages from Spirit for myself and others. Teehee, the fairies made me do it!
NOPE. HARD NOPE. NOOOOOOPE.
It's been hard af.
I didn’t step into this life, into energy work, gracefully & with poise. It wasn’t an angelic ascension or a miracle enlightenment. It wasn’t perfection incarnate. It wasn’t love & light & laughter. It was so. very. human. And spoiler alert…being a human is gross. And heartbreaking. And messy. And smelly. And imperfect. And hairy. And overwhelming. And it hurts. A lot.
But for me, it was the only way through.
Shiny On The Outside
Because for decades, I had tried everything else. I was a rule follower & I listened to what society told me to do: “Stop crying. Study up. Climb the ladder. Buckle down. Hustle. Work hard. Keep moving. Buy more! Eat this. Lose weight. Improve yourself. Move on. Try harder.” Guess what? It didn’t work. I had a great career. I had a great life. I had everything they said would give me happiness. But I felt unfulfilled, burned out. And the world around me was still a mess.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you saw me, you’d never know that I wasn’t happy. On the outside, I usually looked shiny & excited, and I always looked put together & accomplished & productive. That’s the persona I built my entire life. I was independent & studious & a go-getter. But inside, I was scared a lot. I needed to control all the things to keep the anxiety at bay. I was always moving, always planning, always thinking ahead. Running so fast that time (life) would just fly by me. I kept my mind either racing with distractions or numbed out with alcohol. Never just still. Never just present. Never just fully here. I pushed down anything that was scary or sad or dark or unpleasant or uncomfortable to feel, and leaned hard into safety, security, comfort, control.
In some ways it felt like living a double life. Super fine & dandy on the outside. “All good here! Livin’ the dream! Keepin’ busy!” And then under the surface I often felt…broken. A mess. Like I needed fixing because I did all the things & still wasn’t happy. Still wasn’t satisfied with myself and my life. Still didn’t know what I wanted. Still didn’t feel like I had a purpose. I felt far away from myself & had no idea who I was or wanted to be.
And all that stuff I suppressed, pushed down, ignored, denied? It had nowhere to go. It stayed inside of me because I wouldn’t let it out. It bubbled & boiled & lingered. And so every so often, always in the dark, always in private, I would break down & shatter into a thousand pieces. All the darkness I ignored would spill out & through me, I couldn’t control it any longer. Panic, paralyzation, disorientation. In those moments when I let it all loose, I felt completely batshit crazy. Like I was nuts for feeling so ‘fine’ most of the time (life is good! I have all the things!) and then for being completely blindsided again and again by this deep, dark horrible realization that living as I was, with high functioning anxiety & indecision & fear & control, wasn’t really how I wanted to live.
It was like waking up for a brief moment after being asleep for a really long time. It was like glimpsing reality for a brief moment after living in denial for decades. It was like realizing that I had been floating along, letting the current of busy life just sweep me away, getting farther and farther and farther away from myself. It felt fucking awful. It felt like I was so broken inside, so unfixable, that maybe I should just stop tryin’.
This happened over and over throughout my life, when I least expected it, when I thought everything was good & under control. Until I reached a point in 2016, hyperventilating (again) on the floor of my closet, after 6 MONTHS of debilitating indecision & anxiety over an impending break up, where I just couldn’t do it anymore. This cycle of living in the land of make believe and crashing into reality, over and over. 30 years of curation. 30 years of seeking perfection. 30 years of trying to control everything. I was tired. I was done. I wouldn’t put myself through that again.
Healing From The Inside
So in that moment, I made a vow to stop pretending. To start dealing with my shit instead of burying it inside of me. It was the only thing left I hadn’t tried. The only thing I had always been too scared to do. Facing myself. Turning inwards, instead of out there, to “find myself.” At the age of 31, I stopped pretending that I was “fine” & started wading through the muck of my life. Childhood experiences that made me build super strong armor around my heart & hide who I really was. Beliefs I had about life that were hurting me, not helping me. All the rules & the ‘shoulds’ I had accumulated over decades. For me personally, a big one was feeling all the things I never let myself feel when I was 13 and my mom died. At her funeral, I smiled & played with my cousins & was “totally fine, thanks bye!.” I never grieved. I never processed.
I unearthed everything within me that I had been pretending wasn’t there. I stepped into myself. And it was horrifying stuff. It’s dark in there, in the corners of yourself you’ve never dared to look. I got a therapist. I started digging & exploring within myself. Anything that came up, instead of suppressing it & running in the other direction, I faced it. Wrote about it. Talked about it. Shared about it. Read about it. Cried about it. Laughed about it. Raged about it. I let anything that needed to surface, surface. And I faced it. And it sucked.
But I also realized that it’s everything I came here to do. I’m here to LIVE, not float through life. I’m here to THRIVE, not settle for some mediocre existence. I’m here to be a messy human, not a perfect robot. I’m here to learn & grow & expand. And now I have enough room inside me to do that. Those things that I suppressed actually took up real estate inside of me. They blocked my life force from flowing. They kept ‘me’ hidden & small, when all I’ve ever really wanted is to be seen & valued & loved. They kept my mind spinning. For decades I hemorrhaged my personal power & energy trying to keep them quiet & hidden & secret.
“Finding myself” was not a process of adding new experiences, new skills, new jobs, new knowledge on top of myself. The accumulation actually made it even harder for me to see myself within all that junk. “Finding myself” was a process of removal. Digging deep. Exploring. Rooting around & removing all the junk that others had given to me. Expectations, shoulds, beliefs, stories, lies, inherited traumas from my family & ancestors….stuff that wasn’t really mine. And when I unraveled that mess inside myself, when I made space, all that was left was…me.
And what’s extra wild is that when the noise & clutter were gone, and I could hear myself clearly for the first damn time, I didn’t feel alone & small in a deep dark cave of nothingness. I felt…connected for the first time in my life to something bigger than me.
Where I used to spend so much of my energy curating and improving and perfecting myself, and caring what other people thought of me, and maintaining my image, now my power is free for me to use. The energy has always been there. The connection has always been there. The power has always been there. But I was always too busy racing through life to notice.
Maybe like me, you were told to leave your troubles behind & climb to the highest heights to find happiness. Those stairs lead nowhere. Trust me, I climbed pretty damn high. You are strong enough to feel all the things & to face all of you. Stop climbing. Turn around. And start stepping down into yourself. It will be gross, and heartbreaking, and messy, and smelly, and imperfect, and hairy, and overwhelming, and hard af, and it will hurt. A lot. But for me, it was the only way through.