As I plopped into bed last night (yes, plop) I had a brief flashback of myself at the age of 19 (10 years ago). At first I had an internal giggle, then an internal cringe and then a massive internal sigh of relief. It was a moment of reflection for sure but also a reminder of who I once was.
There are always stories we choose to hide from people. Experiences we’d rather not share with our wider circle of friends, even stories we choose not to share with our best of friends. Perhaps it’s fear of being judged or criticised? Perhaps we feel ashamed of our choices and actions? Either way, we all have our skeletons that lie in our cupboards.
I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve always been interested in health and wellness, straight out lying. During my teenage years I was an outright rebellious spirit and although I wasn’t the naughtiest of naughty… I was still pretty naughty and gave my folks many a grey hair (queue Vodka bottle cap accidently left in jeans at age 13. Mom found it when doing laundry. I was grounded because I’m a sh*tty liar).
By the age of 18 I was smoking cigarettes daily, drinking unnecessary amounts of alcohol on weekends particularly and had already experimented with illegal drugs. A lost soul perhaps, but definitely not an angel. Ironically I showed immense discipline when it came to my attendance and efforts at dance class, but I didn’t really give a shi*t about finding any sort of balance. It was dance hard and play hard. This continued until about the age of 23, by which time I started getting a bit tired.
Not only was I getting tired, I was feeling really ill and my relationships were taking strain. I had no boundaries and had had my heart broken too many times. My drive started to dwindle and my health was approaching an all-time low. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder but I can tell you pretty confidently I had an eating disorder and a completely warped image of myself (welcome back to “The Leilah Diaries” by the way. Should’ve warned you. Sorry).
The core of this post is coming, hang in there!
I believe I’ve experienced a lot of sadness in my lifetime. It’s not quite clear whether it was mostly self-inflicted or happened because I just had no sense of purpose. None the less, I’ve made some seriously bad decisions which have ended up being pretty traumatic. Some on a small scale, some on a larger scale. If my parents are reading this, I’m not even sure if they’d have noticed my internal turmoil as I believe myself to be a pretty good actress and my skills improved the more I got hurt. Some people know the mistakes I’ve made, some have experienced the “wild child” I once was and some have been there with me in my darkest moments. Ultimately, I’ve picked myself up off the tear stained floor many many a time and perhaps that is why I am where I am today, because I never gave up on myself.
The phrase “everything happens for a reason” is not favoured by many. For me, it has been one of the most powerful phrases to say to myself during those lonely hours of self-hatred and remorse. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, it’s just whether you choose to learn, move on and try (key word being “try”) not to make the same mistake again or not.
The core of this piece of writing is to highlight the fact that we do not have to let our past define us. I sure as hell am not prepared to, not because I am filled with regret, but because I believe I have learned major life lessons and have chosen to become a better human and a better Leilah. My skeletons will always be in my cupboard and I live with the fact that some people know those skeletons quite well. I’ve made peace with this because I won’t let them define me. I hope those people who I’ve hurt with my poor choices and intoxicated actions have forgiven me as time has rolled on. I’ve made peace with those who have hurt me.
When last did you open your cupboard doors and offer your skeletons forgiveness and love? Try it, it’s important for self-growth, self-love and moving forward towards becoming your ideal self.