I remember waking up every morning feeling dread. I would get out of bed and walk into my closet. I was surrounded by things that made me feel less than. I would put 3,4, 5 different outfits on and look at myself in the mirror and just scoff. Wondering what it was that my husband saw in me because I clearly did NOT see anything worth looking at.
It didn’t end with what I saw in the mirror reflecting back at me. There was this feeling of darkness, something heavy within me that was eating away at all the good parts of myself. The little bit of good that I could still see was disappearing incredibly fast.
I was a mom.
I was a wife.
I was a daughter.
But none of those roles were fulfilling me. I loved being a mom but I knew that I had to hide pieces of me. I had to put on that smile so that my kids thought that mommy was great. That life couldn’t be any better. I didn’t want them to see how much I HATED myself. I wanted more than anything in the world for them to love who they were and if they saw me hate myself, well…
What a contradiction that would be?!?!
As a wife, I was trying everything not to be seen but to ensure that everything in our home life was perfect. I would make sure the house was clean. I would make sure that the kids were well behaved. I would make sure that dinner was done. I had to be the perfect wife. I also had to make sure that he didn’t see me naked. A man that I had been with since 2005 and had seen me naked and had seen me give birth. A man who didn’t intentionally (I say intentionally because sometimes I would twist his words) make me feel ugly or unwanted. A man who stepped up to show me that I was worthy of love.
None of that mattered. I NEEDED him to NOT see me. I needed to hide in baggy clothes. I needed to sleep fully clothed. I needed to have sex in the dark. I couldn’t let him in. I could only allow him to see the pieces of me that were safe for him to see. That were safe for me to allow him to see.
MY LIFE WAS ALL ABOUT HIDING
Before 2014, my life was all about hiding myself. Hiding behind a smile that trapped all the emotions inside. I couldn’t let ANYONE in. I couldn’t trust anyone.
The day my son was born in 2007, I thought I had it made. I had finally become a mother and that was all that I needed to be. There were no other pieces to me anymore. Wife disappeared. Daughter disappeared. Samantha disappeared. All I was was MOM.
It was great for the first few months and then I began to wither. I began to collapse inside and I didn’t know why. I thought my life had meaning. I thought that becoming a mom was all that I needed to do to be happy. Little did I realize, that isn’t how happiness works.
HOW THE IDEA OF HAPPINESS CHANGED ME
I am not a big fan of the word happy. I think that it puts too much pressure on ourselves to think that it is the ONLY thing that we should ever feel. To feel anything but happy means that we aren’t happy.
I was always striving to be happy. Hence the smile that was always on my face. I wanted those around me to KNOW that I was happy. That my everyday version of Samantha was happy. Even if behind closed doors, I was feeling trapped, alone and incredibly depressed. No one could see that side of me. That meant that I was less than I was supposed to be. It meant that I hated being a mom. It meant that I hated being a wife. It meant that I hated my life. That is what that little voice inside of me was always telling me. That if I couldn’t show I was happy every single day then I hated every piece of me.
I now strive to be content. I want to feel at peace in my life. I want to feel like everything is flowing. In order for everything to flow, I need to throw the smiles to the side sometimes and break down. I need to cry, be sad, feel empty. I need to dig into those emotions in order to know why they are there. That is how I feel content. Knowing that to be the best version of myself, I need to step into the darkness and welcome it in. I need to tell myself that I am safe and secure. That the darkness is here to show me something, to teach me something.
MY LIFE BEFORE BLOGGING
There are days when I feel sad about the years before 2014. I feel like my kids missed out on who I am today. I feel like they missed part of their childhood because I was too consumed by hiding myself instead of just being myself.
I feel anger that it took me so long to finally say, enough is enough. It took me noticing my kids picking up my self-hatred habits to even notice that they secretly knew how I felt the whole time.
I was broken.
I was scared.
I felt defeated.
I felt lonely.
I felt like my life was no longer mine.
I had given up my power on December 18, 2003, and I didn’t know how to get it back. Maybe deep down I didn’t want it back. I didn’t know how to handle my own power. I didn’t know who I was and regaining that power terrified me. Maybe some days it still does.
Before blogging, I thought that I was going to wake up every single day feeling like I had the day before. Feeling as if my life was over. I would just survive. Barely. I would put in the minimum effort required in order to get back into bed and dream of the life that could have been. Dream of the Samantha that I could have been.
Before blogging, that mirror reflected someone that I hated deeply. She was a shell of a woman that I didn’t want to look at or even get to know. She was NEVER going to amount to anything. She was always going to fail in her life.
WHEN ACCEPTANCE TURNS INTO LOVE
This blog post is bringing me back to some of the moments in my life that I haven’t wanted to relive. I know that someone out there needs to hear all of this. Someone out there is currently feeling the way I did back then.
When I started blogging in 2014, I really didn’t expect anything to change. I didn’t expect to see the transformation that I did. I just expected to write and to share my journey.
I began to notice that by sharing the hard moments, I gave myself permission to work through them. I was showing the world that my life wasn’t perfect. That I had sh** that I needed to work through. I was showing myself that it was safe to open up, to allow others in because they were feeling the same way that I was.
Blogging allowed me to create a unique self-love journey that connected me to myself more than I had ever been. I began to see the possibilities of my life. I began to notice the changes that were happening. I began to look at my reflection in a new way. I began to embrace her. I began to fall in love with her.
I want to share with you some of the steps that I took to get to where I am today. I am learning and growing every single day. I am learning that self-love is a journey that doesn’t end. It gets deeper and deeper.
The self-love journey I took in 2014 was ONLY the beginning. I am now on what I like to refer to as, Part 2 of my self-love journey. I am now learning even more ways to love myself and to create the life that I am now allowing myself to imagine. Before this, I wouldn’t allow myself to dream. I couldn’t. It was too painful to imagine a life different than what I had.
These are the steps that I created as I went through part one of my reself-discovery. I don’t think that is a word but we are going with it. I had to start with the basics at the beginning. I had to learn how to love my outer self. For me, that seemed so much easier than loving myself on the inside.
Stand in front of your mirror naked and look at yourself. This is something that I still do daily. I remember crying uncontrollably the first time that I did this. I didn’t want to look at myself. I didn’t want to see what I had “become” because I thought that I was ugly and imperfect. I began by just looking at myself. Setting a timer for 30 seconds and then building on that as the days went on. The first day, I didn’t make it for 30 seconds. I couldn’t stand what I looked like. I built up to five minutes. Five minutes of just looking at my body. Once I was at that point, I knew that I had to dig deeper. So I began to pick a body part that I hated. I started with my belly. By this point, I had two kids and my belly was not flat and it was riddled with stretch marks. I began to give reasons for why my belly was beautiful. I would repeat them day in and day out. I would pick a different body part each day to focus on and repeat why I loved that body part. I began to change the inner language that I was using with myself. I began to appreciate my body for what it was in the present moment. I began to fall in love with myself.
Forgive yourself. Oh how this was so hard to do. I had to forgive myself for the years I hated myself, for the language that I used about myself and for allowing myself to believe what others said about me. I remember writing myself a forgiveness letter on my blog. It was one of the most emotional blog posts that I had ever written. It gave me the strength to see where I was still struggling and parts of my life that I needed to focus on. I still wish that I had that blog post. I lost it with about 4 years of other posts. (A blog post for another day.)
Find me time. In 2014, I was exhausted. I was giving to everyone else that by the end of the day, I didn’t have anything left for myself so I would just go to bed. I always thought that me-time meant that I had to leave my home or that I needed to spend hours doing something or even spend hundreds of dollars. It wasn’t until I began to focus on finding me time, did I realize it wasn’t any of those things. It could be if I wanted it to be but for me, that isn’t what I needed. I needed to walk outside and stand in the sunshine for 5 minutes. I needed to do 10 minutes of yoga. I needed to do 10 minutes of meditation. I needed to go into my room, close the door, light a candle and read a book for 20 minutes. I began to realize that self-care meant that I was doing things that I loved and enjoyed just because I could. Give yourself some time to do the things that you love.
Write a list of goals that matter to you. I loved this step. It allowed me to dream of how my life could be different. It gave me hope and things to reach for. This list allowed me to be seen for what I wanted to accomplish. It allowed me to be myself, to put my needs and wants first. Have fun with this list. Dream big.
There were other steps that I took in my self-love journey but I wanted to start you off small. Start doing these steps daily to rediscover who you are. You are worthy of change. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of overcoming your past and falling madly in love with who you are in this present moment.
I want you to know that I understand how you feel. I understand the loneliness that you are feeling. I also want you to know that change is possible. That how you feel today doesn’t mean you need to feel this way for the rest of your life. If you are ready to step into the power of your past, let me guide you. I will be there every step of the way. You deserve to heal and to learn to love who you are. Join the Fierce Growth Accelerator to learn even more steps to falling in love with yourself and starting a blog based on your story. You have no limit.