Hell bent on being my own worst enemy, I can’t help but wonder: Was it self-sabotage or was I f*cking things up because I needed to get out?
We’ve all been there before. You work so hard for something and as soon as you’re about to get it, you f*ck things up and it’s gone. All of us has a self-saboteur that feeds on our insecurities. Whether it’s a stupid decision that lost you a promotion you worked so hard for, or a late night sugar-binge that undoes all the painful workouts that are just starting to pay off — negative self-beliefs can become so powerful they begin to influence our behavior subconsciously.
For some it manifests at work or through their health, but for me it was always relationships. Admittedly, I’ve historically dated men who are Type A, outspoken and used to making all the decisions. You know them. They’re successful men who thrive in the business world. They often date very attractive women who are quiet and passive. Women who don’t mind being told what to do or how to dress, as long as their material needs are being taken care of. Women who appear to have created and sustained high-end lifestyles simply by smiling and linking arms with men dawning corporate credit cards without credit limits. I would see women like that growing up, and watch them with wild curiosity. The world seemed to lift them up with every step forward while men would fall at their feet in adoration. At the time I remember thinking, “I can’t even imagine what it would like to be that beautiful,” I envied them so much. In a way, I still admire these women for their innate ability to survive off of their strongest assets. They’re so bold they’ve literally turned confidence into currency. And that is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination.
Though I am the middle of three girls, I grew up in the mountains and was always told, “There are no princesses in our house.”
It won’t come as a surprise that I’ve never had the luxury of coasting on my good looks alone. I was expected to help with the chores every day, which included feeding the horses, chickens, dogs and (sometimes a) cat, cleaning out the barn, taking the trash out, and cleaning the house, among other things. As an adult, I built my career on working with action sports companies and was always surrounded men. But working with a bunch of “bros” felt more like adult babysitting than anything else. So when successful men (who regularly dated women who are far more beautiful than myself) showed interest in me, it was really exciting. But it also brought out all of my insecurities because I was constantly reminded about how I didn’t dress the way they wanted me to, or I was not paying enough attention to them when they wanted it.
I’ve never been afraid to speak up for myself, so it’s no surprise that arguing became a regular form of communication in those relationships. On multiple occasions I was told, “You just love to fight.” I didn’t understand why I kept hearing this because the reality is: I hate fighting. When the arguing would start, I remember thinking about those beautiful women and feeling an enormous amount of empathy for them. If you have to live the way someone else tells you what to do every second you’re together, is that a life worth living? I was constantly apologizing for asking questions, wanting my own independence and catching any number of absurd lies thrown at me on a daily basis. I started to believe it was my fault for looking too closely and not being satisfied. Was that that life I had grown up working so hard for? Was that the dream? I had to go through that situation a couple times to really learn my lesson. At least now I can say for certain — F*CK NO. It’s just not in my nature, and that’s okay. It’s not something I’m going to apologize for anymore, and that’s okay too.
I see women like that now and I still have a great deal of respect and empathy for them. But they aren’t the women I look up to now.
This love affair with myself has been one of the hardest relationships I’ve ever been in. There are no secrets or lies, which offers me great relief. But it means exactly that: There are no secrets. As I enter the 6th week of my 8 week challenge, new breakouts are still popping up on my face. This week I am having what feels like full blown PMS too, so you can imagine what a week it’s been with my hormonal acne. I have a little buddy here on my chin that literally refuses to leave, my #PIC. It’s been around so long I might actually even miss it when it’s gone. When I want to hide under the blankets and not leave the house because I’m bloated and breaking out, I have no choice but to face myself because surprise, surprise — I see everything in this relationship. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
But there is something beautiful that’s evolving in my new relationship. Something happening below the surface. Because forcing myself to accept, and eventually love, these flaws of mine has given me an entirely new perspective on beauty. Yes, I will always see those incredible, gorgeous women and admire their tenacity. But I don’t wish to have it anymore. Now, when I go out the women I’m most impressed by are the women who are naturally beautiful and confident. Women who show up to the market in t-shirts with their hair in knots and to lunch without a lick of makeup on. Since I’m doing the same, albeit less confidently, I might be noticing them more (Availability Bias, anyone?). They are the women who know what they deserve, how hard they’ve worked and all of the incredible things they are going to accomplish in this life. The women who stand on their own two feet and aren’t afraid to take up space in a room. The women who act like they’re permitted to speak, and do so because they know their opinions are valid. Even when they’re not projecting the feminine ideal of beauty, they carry themselves gracefully. Even when they’re not the object of lust or affection, they speak confidently. Those are the women I look up to now. The women who give us a voice as equals, and show us what it really means to thrive. Even under harsh conditions, whatever they might be.
At the time, I couldn’t see that “my love for fighting” was actually my subconscious response to being in unhealthy, manipulative relationships, even though it felt more like self-sabotage.
But now that I’m here, face-to-face (literally) in a relationship with the one person I used to hide from the most, I understand that this is all part of the journey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pushing back seeds of doubt and actively working on not giving in to any new “quick fixes.” I have to remind myself every day that I am in it for the long haul and nothing is permanent.
I’m still drinking bone broth and celery juice every day, in spite of my new blemishes. I’m exercising daily, even if it’s just a walk for a few miles with my dog. And most importantly, I’m still doing the hard work on getting to know and love myself better — every day. I had an amazing herbal medicine class at Wild Terra last weekend where we learned how to make homemade apple cider vinegar. We also learned how to make ‘fire cider’ which is ACV infused with healing herbs to help combat the flu. I still drink my ACV tea every morning — you know that’s my JAM!!
Last night I also joined Ellen and Lara from FitProsLA for a Spring Equinox Lunar Ceremony in Silverlake. We did a breathwork meditation led by the incredible Ana Lilia followed by a soundbath under the Supermoon to release the things that have been holding us back. Since last night was the first day of Spring and the last Supermoon of 2019, I went all in on this new ritual and set intentions to release beforehand with my UnitedOther intention papers, too. For anyone who’s never tried breathwork, I can’t recommend it enough. We love it so much we’re even going to feature it as one of the therapies we explore in our podcast launch this Spring, so our #instafam has the chance to learn more about how it works and how it can help with managing stress and burnout.
I think ultimately, this week it finally came together for me. I realized the best antidote to feeling out of sorts is to get outside and do something — literally anything — that helps me evolve and expand as a person, and to look inward when things are rough on the surface. Because the women I look up to now, that’s where they find their strength and power. We all have the ability to rise together and create a new version of the #bossbabe who doesn’t pretend to be perfect and “have it all” in this unattainable myth we’ve bought into. But change starts with us, from the bottom up. For me, this is the start of embracing my #womaninprogress and owning it every bloated, blemished step of the way.
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For Love of the Fight: Unconscious Self-Sabotage was originally published in We are All Daughters. on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.