I felt moved to share my story with you – writing this wasn’t particularly easy as I wanted to be as honest as possible with you. So here goes!
“It’s lonely in here! I’ve built up a lifetime of walls to protect me from being hurt or overwhelmed but in the still of the night when I am lying awake I just feel so alone. I’ve been behind these walls for so long I don’t remember how to feel any more.
“Sometimes I go out and party with friends and briefly I get a glimpse of myself laughing and apparently enjoying life. Deep inside though I know this is not the way to handle things – I won’t find the peace I desire at the bottom of a bottle. I know I need to let people in and learn how to experience the full range of human emotions but I am scared. I don’t want to get hurt again. I don’t want people to laugh at me. I don’t want to fail.
“From the outside things look fine to everyone else. I am successful in my career, I have a husband and 2 children, I smile when I should and I do and say what is expected of me. Inside though I am screaming for help. I look in the mirror and I don’t even recognise the woman looking back at me. Who is she? What does she really want from life? What makes her tick?”
I spent years like this. I knew all the things I should do and I talked the talk really well. I even persuaded myself that I was fine and my life was exactly how I wanted it to be. I kept ignoring the growing feeling that I was suffocating and I kept on and on repeating the same bullshit to myself every day. This is what life is all about – you grow up, get a job, get married, have kids, run a house, be an employee, be a wife, be a mother, be something to everyone ….. I forgot about me.
My walls came down spectacularly in 2012 and since then I have not looked back. It wasn’t easy and my life was turned upside-down but I know now that I was previously just living half a life. It took a lot of courage for me to grab life with both hands but I did it. I know that had I not discovered Reiki back in 2010 I would probably still be behind those walls. Reiki gently started to erode the foundations of the walls I had carefully constructed over the years. Subtle but profound changes started to happen in my life and gradually I came to realise that I couldn’t live a lie any more.
I had a happy childhood but was a child of a second marriage. There was an undercurrent of acrimony in my early years where my father was unable to marry my mother until I was six due to his first wife initially refusing a divorce. My mother had left her family in order to be with my father so there was hurt and bitterness there which still has an impact today as you can imagine. I had a large extended family but was always the “half”-sister. I honestly never really felt like I belonged and I therefore grew up essentially as an only child. I have contact with my brothers and sisters but to be honest we are not really a part of each other’s lives in a big way, which is sad, but is just how things are.
My parents both turned to the church when I was young and as a result I spent a lot of time being indoctrinated into Christianity. It has taken me a long time to unpick all the limiting beliefs that were fed to me over the years. I don’t blame my parents in any way for this – they were just doing what they thought was right at the time but I have to say that, for me, religion has a lot to answer for in this world. Man-made rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do simply allows the church to control people, leading to conflict and an overwhelming sense of guilt and fear. In my opinion having a basis of mutual respect and a deep inner peace rather than religion is a far better approach. This allows us to see the divinity in each person, regardless of creed, race or sexuality.
Spirituality is a personal relationship with the Divine rather than a set of outdated beliefs and rules to live by. For me, I recognise the beauty of nature, I love the wonders of science and I have a personal belief system that I have no desire to impose on any one else. I have raised this issue here simply to give you a background of where I came from and how being brought up in a strictly Christian household led me to have some deeply rooted fears and beliefs which took a while to cast off once my walls came down. To be honest it is something I still have to overcome on a daily basis but I am a work in progress, just like everyone else!
My father was my world and he died when I was just 14 years old. It was at that point I built up my walls – never again did I want to feel that type of pain. I know now that from that point in 1989 I changed. I hardened myself to the world and I put up a façade so that nobody would see the frightened and hurt little girl underneath.
I carried on doing what was expected of me so as not to trouble my mother who was hurting from the loss of my father. I went to school and worked hard. I got into university and graduated with honours. I got married the year I left university and got a job to pay the bills. I had two beautiful children and I somehow fell into a decent career working with computers despite having no IT training beforehand. On the surface life was great but as I said earlier – inside I was screaming.
After my second child I fell into a deep depression which left me on anti-depressants for over a year. I was then made redundant unexpectedly in 2008 and at that point I realised that things needed to change but I didn’t really know how that would happen. Over the next couple of years I researched everything I could find about alternative therapies, crystals, spirituality, Reiki and more. In 2010 I completed my Reiki Level 1 and 2 training as well as a crystal healing course and an aromatherapy course. That was the start of my life transformation.
By 2012 I knew my marriage wasn’t working and I had met someone else who I was fighting my feelings for. Things came to a head in the summer of that year and I had to tell my husband the 16 year marriage was over. It was at that point my walls came tumbling down. All the years of doing the things that were expected of me fell away. I was finally able to admit that I had fallen for one of my best friends and that I was not the person everyone thought I was. I had to admit to myself that being in love with another woman was not a terrible thing despite my deeply rooted indoctrinated beliefs. I had to become vulnerable and allow myself to feel emotion again and may I just say … it really hurt for a while!
Skip forward almost 3 years and my life has changed and improved in so many ways. I am in a loving, stable relationship with my fantastic best friend. My children are happy and healthy. My soon to be ex-husband and I are still friends and are going through an amicable divorce – yes that can happen! I have left my soul-destroying IT job and am now running my own business full time. Things are far from perfect but they are much better than they were before.
Over the years I have experienced death, divorce, betrayal and bitterness. I’ve been through depression, redundancy and the monotonous daily grind of working in jobs I didn’t love. I have come out of the closet with regard to my own sexuality and I am overcoming my limiting beliefs and fears every day. It hasn’t been an easy journey but it has certainly been worthwhile. I have an inner peace and a core of strength that I never thought possible. It is thanks to a daily practice of Reiki, meditation and being completely honest with myself and others about my feelings.
I use my life experience now to help other women gather their strength and break out of their self-imposed prisons. I work with women of all ages to help them regain their spark and to empower them to make healthy choices to take control of their lives and move forward in a positive way. Maybe I can help you.
If my story has touched you in any way or if you would like to get in touch with me please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.