[Featured image: pictured is a slice of toasted white bread on a white background. Credit to Adobe Stockphotos]
Here’s to never giving up 🥂
Cw: mental and physical health (mentions su*c*de)
I was such a ham as a kid
Pictured above: a tiny Jaesic plays in the Autumn leaves while wearing a bright red coat, they pose in front of carved pumpkins with their brother, they pose in a yellow coat and red hat with a huge grin (and some missing front teeth), and again in the yellow coat with their dog Rocket.
I look at these photos and truly see a happy kid. Well, maybe not in my dedication photo (ain’t that foreshadowing or what ). But yes, a happy kid. But as I got older, something changed. You can kind of see it in the solo dancer photo, or me with a toy horse on a stick, at the end of this little gallery. The light started to dim from behind my eyes. Chronic pain, misunderstanding, and conformity really took a toll on me.
I’ve been sick with unexplainable physical symptoms since I was 4 years old, compounded by regular colds and flus. I’ve had mono BADLY twice, the worst of it as a freshman in college. When you are not physically well most days of your life, you are not mentally well either. That shit adds up, and depression/anxiety settles in. And this is only a fraction of what changed.
I was bullied, left out, and abandoned for being different more times than I can remember. Not knowing how I was neurodivergent significantly impacted how I developed self-esteem, efficacy, and relationships. I often invested my time in the wrong people (hell, I’m just learning how to not do that now). And I often failed the good relationships I did have because I didn’t have the tools to properly self-regulate and effectively communicate. I learned to people please and spread myself so thin in order to attempt at measuring up to the rest. The result? Repeat burnout, illness, suicidality, and years of abusive relationships. I’ve been trying to define myself by others’ standards and desires instead of looking inward to my core and shedding anything that isn’t ME.
Pictured above: Jaesic is in a dance troupe wearing a tie-dye blue and gold leotard, below they are in a red dress and tights, and to the right they are in a cowboy get-up with a toy horse on a stick named Oreo (it is black and white with a red bridle).
Well, no more. Finally, I see myself for who I am: a being of overflowing love, joy, and light. I no longer am ashamed of my joy or love and how I express it (or, at least most of the time; I’m getting better). I no longer waste my energy on things and people who do not symbiotically impact my life. I pursue my passions and care so deeply for the world, and I have power to make a difference.
My parents raised a little girl. That little girl grew into a severely repressed, depressed, scared young woman who let life and the people in it take advantage of her. Today I know that little girl is still a part of me, and that young woman helped me find how I am so much more now. I get to love her and carry her through to see just how expansive we can be as a fluid creature who never gave up on learning and loving. I know she is looking at me in awe, and maybe a little fear (lol). But how beautiful it is to be able to coalesce all parts of myself after working hard at healing my trauma, so that I can live a truly purposefully authentic life! I am so lucky. I almost didn’t make it. And now I know my life’s purpose is to support others to find themselves and heal too. We all possess the power to make a difference. Each time we realize that, the world has that much a better chance to become even more compassionate and inclusive for us all.
Thank you for being a part of my journey here
Because my brain won’t let go of paranoia:
If you read things like this that I write and take offense because you considered us good friends growing up, these writings are NOT about you. I speak in generalizations about my life because it is easiest when describing the effect OTHER people had on me. I know I’ve had good relationships amongst the bad. But again, those relationships were few and far between, and it’s taken a lot of inner work to find people who will continuously choose me without taking advantage of me. So, know that you are loved, and I very much value whatever kind of relationship we’ve had over the years