Posted in Business, healing, learning, self-love

Worth It

It is my belief that people are born inherently worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of respect, worthy of just taking up space and existing exactly as they are.

Almost immediately, we all start to unlearn this. We each have different experiences that help us form our beliefs about ourselves and what we are deserving of. Sometimes, these are good beliefs like, “Mom and Dad still love me even though I did poorly on my school assignment. My worth is not dependent on doing well in school.” But sometimes, they are limiting beliefs like, “If I hadn’t spilled my drink on the sofa, Mom and Dad wouldn’t be fighting right now. It is my fault they argue because I am always making mistakes.”

Obviously, we don’t usually form these beliefs in straight-forward, black and white sentences, and that is what makes them so sinister. We are constantly shaping the way we view ourselves without even knowing it! Then, we behave in a way that we think will make us more desirable, more lovable, more worthy, believing that worthiness is something that can be achieved.

We try to achieve worthiness through our jobs, our relationships, our belongings, and the way we present ourselves to others. We think that if our life just looks a certain way, if we could just obtain perfection, then FINALLY, we would be deemed worthy.

I created my business, Chariot and Charm, as a way to help others release the limiting beliefs they hold about themselves so they can rediscover their own self-worth. The modalities I offer (Life Coaching, Tarot and Oracle readings, and Yoga Nidra) allow clients to reconnect to themselves in a world that often encourages numbing and disconnection. By reconnecting to their truth, my hope is that individuals can become aware of how their beliefs effect their behaviors and then consciously decide which beliefs they want to keep, and which beliefs are no longer serving them.

In my dream world, all people would know they are valuable and worthy. All people would know they are here for a purpose and they would pursue that purpose confidently and passionately, knowing that they don’t have to be “perfect” to be good enough. My goal is to offer a safe and supportive environment for people to get to know themselves so that they can really, truly love themselves.

Posted in healing, learning, self-love

Please please please please love me

Hi, my name is Jordan, and I am a chronic people-pleaser. This has been the case my entire life. So much of my identity is built upon wanting others to like me (or, even better, LOOOOOVE me). I became so codependent (on everyone), so focused on being who I thought everyone else wanted me to be, that for a long time, I didn’t even know myself.

I believe this started in my childhood around the time my parents started to have problems in their marriage. I remember once, hearing them shouting at each other in our garage, I quickly drew a happy family portrait with my crayons and presented it to them. I was trying to “fix” whatever was broken (even before I understood how a marriage could be broken).

My sister was what you would call the “problem child” in our house. She struggled with school and often cut class. She had a hard time holding down a job. For a lot of reasons- some fair and some really unfair- my dad (technically our step-dad) had issues with my sister. Which meant our mom had issues with my dad. There were other problems, too, but a lot of it centered around the struggles my sister dealt with. Before I was even old enough to realize what I was doing, I made it a point to be the easy kid. I performed well in school, I got a job at 16 and worked hard at it, I didn’t really ask my parents for anything. I tried not to be a “burden.” I saw that they already had a lot on their plate (especially my mom) and I did my best not to add to it.

This translated into pretty much every relationship that followed. My first boyfriend would become distant and cold if I ever brought up concerns about our relationship. On one occasion, he didn’t speak to me for 3 days. I didn’t think my requests were unfair or unwarranted, but I also didn’t want him to leave me, so I apologized excessively and smoothed everything over. I internalized any discomfort or pain that I felt, because I felt it wasn’t safe to share; if I shared it, I could potentially end up alone.

In my early 20’s, I moved to Arizona to start fresh. I soon learned that you don’t just leave all your baggage behind. My people-pleasing, codependent ways followed me. I was basically alone in a new state where I knew exactly two people. I didn’t know who I was or what I liked or what I wanted. All I knew was I was afraid of being alone. I wanted to badly to be loved and wanted. If others didn’t love me, I knew it was beIMG_8400cause I was unworthy of being loved. I was unlovable. It was my fault.

These feelings weren’t reserved solely for romantic relationships, either. I was completely codependent on my friends as well. I did whatever they wanted to do. I never started an argument and I avoided conflict at all costs. I am an introvert by nature, but I was so afraid of being left out that I was constantly out partying and drinking. I avoided my feelings by being constantly in contact with other people; I could NOT be alone. Sometimes my friends would become upset with me or need space, and when that happened, I would spiral into my depression, even resorting to self-harm. I didn’t share any of these sad or bad feelings with my friends because I didn’t want to be a burden. I wanted them to like me and I thought that if I wasn’t “easy,” then they wouldn’t want me around.

(This photo is from one of my many drunken nights out. Don’t get me wrong, not every night out was bad, and I have a lot of good memories. But when I look at this girl, I see someone so lost, someone who didn’t love herself, and who was using alcohol as a way to fill that void.)

Of course, there is a rock bottom in this story (involving way too much alcohol and an interrupted suicide attempt). Fortunately, there were professionals there to catch me. I wound up in a mental healthcare facility off the Las Vegas strip. It was fucking real and fucking terrifying. It was also what I needed to open my eyes. I realized, I don’t want to die. What am I doing?

It was in a group therapy session at this facility that I first heard the term codependency. It resonated deeply and I wanted to know more. Codependency has traditionally been used to describe relationships with addicts, but more recently the definition has evolved and expanded. Codependency is a sort of relationship addiction based on an excessive reliance on approval from others. A person puts so much focus on keeping their partner around and filling their needs that they ignore their own needs. As I read, I was like whoa. This is me.

So, I knew that in order to crawl my way out of rock bottom. I needed to make some changes. It helped that now I had an idea of where to start.

The first thing that had to go was drinking. It wasn’t just unhealthy for me, it was dangerous for me in my current mindset. This meant I had to miss out on going out with my friends multiple times a week, which was hard for me. At first I felt left out, and was certain I would be forgotten. I wasn’t actually too far off. Pretty quickly I realized that there wasn’t much to these friendships beyond drinking. Most of these people didn’t reach out to me to see how I was, or invite me to other activities like dinner or the movies. I mourned the loss of these “friendships.” But this showed me who my real people were. The ones who stood by my side and helped me through my transition, who genuinely cared about my well-being. These people are still my best friends today.

Maybe even more difficult than quitting drinking was learning how to set boundaries. I had to fucking learn to say no, and it went against everything in my body. I learned that I couldn’t go to every event, I couldn’t take every late-night phone call, I even had to lessen my load at the community college I was attending. I had to slow down. I had to take time for me. I had to spend time with me, learning to check in with myself and pay attention if I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. It was uncomfortable, spending time alone. It was hard to be alone with my thoughts instead of out numbing and ignoring. But it got easier and I’ve become in tune to what I need for my mental and emotional health. Now I can make a decision to do something based on what I truly want, not how I think others will perceive me.

Finally, and this is I think a constant work in progress, I had to learn who the hell I am. What my likes and dislikes are. What my fears are and what my hopes and dreams are. What kinds of personalities I enjoy and want to be around. I was 25 years old and I didn’t know these things!! I had worn a mask for so long, I didn’t know what my real reflection looked like. This takes practice and discovery and trying new things and again, boundaries. I learned to listen to and respect my own opinion. Now, I am finally in a place where I know who I am and what I stand for, and this has been my greatest gift to myself.

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(Infographic by Sara Kuburic, @millennial.therapist)

Posted in depression, goals, healing, hope, self-care, self-love, Uncategorized

Fall down 6 times, stand up 7

I am currently taking a class called Building Resiliency. It’s inspirational, obviously, and throughout, I’ve also learned methods and techniques I can use to coach others on resiliency. The techniques are so applicable, I have been integrating them into my own self-care practice as well. (For instance, I have recently found great closure in a past relationship through the practice of Higher Consciousness Conversations.)

What is important to know about resiliency is that it isn’t a personality trait. It’s a skill. That means we can all develop resiliency and learn to grow through the trials life throws at us, and even come out stronger.

For me, building resiliency has really been about coming back from my depression as a stronger person. To be frank, depression knocked me on my ass and sent me tumbling hard into rock bottom. Not only did I feel completely alone, but I felt like I deserved to be alone. I felt like a burden to the people I loved. I didn’t feel worthy of joy, love, or even existing. And through this, I completely lost my sense of identity. I wasn’t an animal-loving, poetry-writing, kind-hearted person suffering the despair of depression. I was despair and depression.

Everywhere I looked, I found evidence of this fact, evidence to support how unworthy of love I was. I put on a mask everywhere I went of a happy, silly, easy-going girl, so even my “friends” and “family” (quotations because, at the time, I felt they didn’t want to be a part of my life and were unfortunately forced to because they felt sorry for me or felt too guilty to blow me off) couldn’t see how lost and full of hurt I was. I didn’t let anyone in, sure that nobody could love the real me; the me that carried a heavy heart and a tightness in my chest so stifling that sometimes I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

For me, rock bottom and the turning point were one and the same. On what was supposed to be a joyful trip to Las Vegas to celebrate friends’ birthdays, I found myself alone, drunk, and crying, wishing for my non-existence. Here, I attempted to end my own life, and was stopped at the last moment. I got to see another side of Las Vegas- an emergency room visit, followed by a stay in a mental health facility where my life was on a consistent schedule of meal times, group therapy, and two outdoor breaks a day. Not what I really had in mind when I embarked on this trip. Still, it was here that I realized, I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to stop existing. I just wanted to feel better. I didn’t know if that was possible, but I committed to at least trying.

I went back to my therapist, who I had been ignoring for the past few months. Here, I did WORK. Hard, dirty, painful, soul-searching work. I strengthened and learned new personal protective factors. Because I spent so much time in the chair, exploring my past, my emotions, my thought processes, I learned Inner Direction. I was able to consciously evaluate how I felt about something and make my decisions based on this, rather than what I felt would make me most lovable to others. I learned Perseverance. Things didn’t feel better for a long time. But I held onto a tiny glimmer of hope that one day, they would. I deepened my Spirituality starting with the belief that we matter because we exist. On days that I couldn’t convince myself that I mattered, I would come back to this belief. Everyone matters, so by default, I had to matter as well. Self-Worth came slowly, and there are still rough days when I can’t find it. But it is now something I know is there, so I trust that if I show myself some love and compassion, I can always find it again.

Another very important piece to my healing was pro-social bonding. Prior to my hospitalization, I spent as many nights as possible going out to parties or bars with a large group of people I considered my friends, but who actually didn’t even know me. After I decided to quit drinking for a while, I didn’t see many of them again. Who I did see, were the people I discovered were my real friends. The ones who called to check in on me in the hospital, and who sent me encouraging notes in the weeks that followed. The friends that I could hang out with without drinking and (though it was scary at first) be my true self around. My circle shrank significantly, but the love I felt grew immensely.

The tricky part about pro-social bonding and depression is that depression doesn’t want you to bond. It wants you to stay home alone and compare yourself to others on social media and wallow in regrets and past traumas. And it’s comfortable, and it feels safe, so sometimes we give in. Some nights, I had to force myself to go watch a movie or meet for dinner because I knew I would feel better after spending time with a good friend. My advice to others dealing with depression would be, “Say yes sometimes.” You don’t have to go to all of the events; in fact, you really probably shouldn’t. But do go, sometimes, with the people you care about and who you know care about you. Being around people who love you is miraculously helpful when you are trying to learn to love yourself.

While I am in a much healthier head-space these days, my recovery from depression is ongoing. There are great days and there are days that I feel I barely made it through. Resiliency is what keeps me going through all the days. Resiliency helped me climb from the shadowy darkness into the light. Resiliency helps me find humor and creativity around what I have experienced. And resiliency helped me find myself again, which was the greatest gift of all.

Posted in depression, healing, hope, self-love

Breaking down the walls

I started thinking about blogging and its many forms. WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram- the list goes on and on. If you frequent the internet, you see a lot of Millennial-shaming for their tend to “over-share” on social media. “Nobody cares what you ate for breakfast,” or “We’re all looking at the exact same sunset,” and the ever-present “TMI!” are just a couple of comments I’ve seen or heard more than once. In an insecure moment, I questioned myself and this blog; does anyone really care what I have to say?

In regards to this question, I look to some of my big female heroes. Glennon Doyle Melton. Elizabeth Gilbert. Brene Brown. These women are famous for opening up in their books and blogs about many personal topics considered taboo to talk about in our society. Divorce. Mental illness. Shame. Pain. They don’t gloss over the hard stuff; they lay it all out in the open, where anyone can see it. They’re vulnerable.

Brene Brown has written an amazing book on the subject of vulnerability, “Daring Greatly.” In the book, she states,

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough- that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.”

We love when others are open and honest, we crave it, because it lets us relate to them on a new, deeper level. Our hearts cry out, “Oh! I’m not alone in all this!” But vulnerability is really hard to do. I’ve been working on that with my therapist for a few years now, and it’s still hard. How can you know if someone is trustworthy with this tender piece of yourself? How can you know they’ll take care of it, that they won’t use it against you?

The fact is, nobody makes it through life unscathed. We have all been hurt by somebody we thought we could trust. Somebody who we cared about, who we once trusted to protect us. And after being marred like that, it’s difficult to expose ourselves again- to that person or others.

When I’ve been emotionally hurt, I can almost see the walls coming up around me. My body tenses. A knot forms in my stomach. It feels as if the wind has been knocked out of me. Much like a wounded animal in the wild, my first reaction is, “Protect yourself!” I want space between myself and the perpetrator. I recoil from their touch. It’s hard to speak because in my head, alarms are flashing, telling me, “THIS PERSON IS DANGEROUS! DON’T GET TOO CLOSE!”

This has happened with many previous boyfriends. With my parents. With my best friends. Even with my husband. The link between this people? We care about each other. I’m vulnerable with them.

In the darkest months of my depression, I was terrified of letting people get close to me. My heart was already aching so much, I couldn’t bear the thought of adding any more pain. During this time, my walls stayed up. Always. With everyone. I kept my very closest friends, the ones I had known for over a decade, at arms’ length away. I would still have conversations with them, sometimes even emotional conversations, but I always held back. I never let them see too much of myself. I was afraid for two reasons:

  1. If I told them my deepest thoughts, feelings, fears, dreams, and secrets, they could use them against me. They would know my weak spots, know right where to strike a blow.
  2. I didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want my loved ones to pity me, or to be a burden in their lives.

Of these fears I would like to say this: I was never a burden, nor could I ever be. I know that now, although it took years of unlearning to get to this place. The reason they’re called loved ones is because we love them. My family and my friends loved me then and love me now. And I love them. And when you’re in a loving relationship, you’re there because you want to be. You’re there because you genuinely care for somebody.

When it comes to baring myself to others, I’m getting better. It’s a work in progress, and I’m fine with that. There is a (very) small circle of people who I can now let myself be completely raw with. No walls, no distance. Does that mean they know where to attack my most fragile parts? Yeah, it does. But by keeping those parts hidden, I wasn’t allowing myself to be fully loved. So it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Sometimes, because that’s just how life is, we hurt each other. But I’m learning to peek over my rising walls and just be honest when that happens. Admit that I’m hurt. Then, together, we can move forward and heal.

So, yeah, maybe some people don’t care what I have to say. Maybe some people do. My goal with this blog (other than helping me keep track of my own self-care journey) is to be vulnerable and honest and raw because to be known, truly known, is a good feeling. And that is my wish to you all.

Posted in anxiety, depression, healing, self-care, self-love

This isn’t a gardening blog

But I did start a garden. It’s small. Four pots. Two vegetables and two herbs.

It’s an experiment in self-care. The idea came to me because I kept drawing the Nine of Pentacles every time I did a tarot reading for myself. The Nine of Pentacles often depicts a woman in her luscious garden, not laboring, but rather, enjoying its richness.

Work hard and then enjoy thIMG_4454e fruits of your labor. The garden acts as a symbol for my real work.

Since my last post, I’ve come a long way in my healing. There is still work to be done (because there is always more you can learn about yourself), but I am in a good place. It’s weird. I constantly question my happiness, am nervously waiting for everything to come crashing down on me and plunge me back into the dark depths of my own brain. But so far, it hasn’t happened. Can I get a HELL YEAH?!

Mainly, I think this is because, through therapy (and more therapy and more and more and more therapy), I’ve learned the skills I need to get back to my center. I have learned that I am worthy of self-care. As someone who has consistently put the needs of everyone I know ahead of my own, this is a new notion for me. But hey, turns out my therapist, Joy, has some pretty solid advice.

Depression and anxiety are different for everyone, but for me, a lot of it was being completely overwhelmed by the smallest, simplest of tasks. If I knew I had to do the dishes, I would dread doing them. I was too tired to do them, but looking at them made me even more tired. The stack would continue to pile up and become more and more daunting. Before bed, I would tell myself, “Tomorrow after school I AM GOING TO DO THE DISHES.” And after school, I was so exhausted I couldn’t bring myself to move off the couch. This could go on for days (once for 2 full weeks). Add to this a list of other tasks: homework; laundry; text so-and-so back; make an effort to socialize (ughhhh). Even things I legitimately wanted to be doing, like practicing yoga, seemed like so much work. I just didn’t have the energy. So I literally did nothing, and my list continued to grow, which overwhelmed me even more, so I did nothing still… you can see how the cycle goes.

Anyway, I have sort of learned how to better manage my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still fall to pieces here and there, but I try to take inventory of how I am feeling, try to be aware of my triggers, and (this is a big one) I try to say ‘no’ sometimes when I don’t want to or don’t have the energy to do something.

Which in turn, gives me time to do things I actually want to do, and thinIMG_4408k about things that I want to think about. One thing that I keep circling back to is writing. Even if it isn’t any good, even if nobody reads it, I just need to get the words out.

So, here I am, trying this blog again after a 2-year hiatus. (Oops.) I’m hoping to document my attempts at self-care and self-love. Because, although I’m better at it than I was two years ago, it still takes work and conscious effort.

But you’ve got to water the garden if you want to eat the damn tomatoes.