I went to makeup school. For several years I would spend over an hour applying all kinds of makeup to cover this and enhance that.
I used to spend 400 bucks getting my hair done. I would curl it and straighten it several times a week.
I used to love going to swanky steakhouses and order a medium-rare Filet Mignon and drink red wine until I was mumbling.
I used to stock my closet with club dresses and heels that gifted me with the joy of bunions, and tag along with friends to clubs where I had to drink in excess to provide myself with the illusion that I was having a good time. All the while feeling physically uncomfortable and beyond socially awkward.
I refused to dissect a worm in high school biology class because any squirmy thing gave me the willies.
I once told someone I could never be vegan and that while I enjoyed plant protein sources I felt it was inferior to animal protein sources.
Here I can be found with a head of grey hair, no makeup, and willingly sticking my hands into worm castings–more specifically in this photo I am picking a worm out of the soil we are collecting at our local community garden and placing it back into the earth from which it came. I can’t recall the last time I took out my straightener, and I only spend more than 10 minutes applying makeup if it’s for an event as big as a wedding. I would never again consider eating animal flesh, and I am so incredibly proud to call myself a healthy, happy vegan with great protein levels.
And I didn’t just get up one day and change my mind about eating animals.
Conversely, I took the time to listen to my soul. I got to know myself and slowly stripped away what I had learned I needed to be and how I needed to look to “fit into” society. I shed what was no longer serving me, and I still am.
At the wonderful age of 31, I feel more like a child than I have since I was a child and there is a very good reason for that– I have become myself again. When I was a little kid I was vegetarian for many years because of my love for animals as well as my honest disinterest in the tastes and textures of animal flesh. I was goofy and silly, carefree and beyond sensitive and compassionate. I spent many of my summer days at the grandparent’s pool saving the bugs that had made their way into the water. I ran around naked as much as possible and had hair past my little butt. I loved twirling around and feeling free.
But the influences of our peers and society are strong and none of us are immune to that fact. In today’s day and age, it is easier than ever to be influenced without even questioning what we are doing and we quickly end up taking on the ideals of others. We forget who we were when we were young and innocent and we start becoming someone other than ourselves. And over time we don’t even realize that this has happened.
At some point a few years back I started feeling like everything I was and all that I did was not right. I wasn’t sure why, but I just knew that I needed to change my life. So I started doing that, and one by one I let go of things that didn’t feel organic; step by step I became my true self again. By growing I returned home.
When we say that people can’t change or grow I think we are really recognizing the inability to take charge and change things in our own lives.
In 2018 I intend to continue honoring myself by connecting with and listening to my soul, and I hope that you find the courage and strength to join me.
Love always in all ways