“I’m deeply sorry to tell you that things are not good. Based on what we have discovered with the bacterial infection, we feel that you have about 10 months left”.
My throat closed so quickly that speaking was impossible. My breathing went shallow; I felt like I was going to vomit. I will never forget that feeling, or what I saw when I looked at my mom next to me. I watched her tears quickly beginning to pool, and then flow. I could only cry for what seems like hours, even still I get choked up.
That September day in a northern hospital would mark the beginning of a nearly 6-year journey of dying, and re-birth, so that I could finally, for the first time in my 35 years, LIVE. The funny thing about being told your life is near its end at 29 is that you get a window into what you have not done yet, what you have done, and what you are not willing to give up on. I was so angry and full of rage. I could only fight from a place of “fuck this… I am not ready to die”. Thankfully I never gave up and by the grace of god, the love and support of my amazing family, particularly my mom who never left my side, and two brilliant huge hearted doctors Brenda and Lil, I am here today typing this.
In the years since, I’ve chosen to face my two most toxic beliefs: that I was unloveable, and undeserving of surviving my illness. The first fed the latter and I felt like an impostor in my life. So many days, after becoming well, I worked hard at self-sabotage; lying to myself about my ability and gifts, resurrecting my drug addiction (so I didn’t have to feel the pain in my heart), and I hiding it all from as many as I could. Fortunately, I had a few key people in my life that saw through the smoke and mirrors and stood firmly for my healing.
Today I celebrate more than 3 years clean from drug use, solidarity in my worthiness, and I’m deeply in love with my husband Hugo, and the life we are creating. I could not have gotten to this place of self-ease, and confidence, without some deep healing. I faced intense PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) through therapy, coaching and TRE®. I got very honest about my drug use and sought my recovery and ongoing support through meetings, my family’s love, and my coaching community. I became a certified Martha Beck Life Coach and through that training discovered that being in my body sober and without self-judgement felt pretty darn amazing. I embraced and claimed the label of artist, author, and highly creative being. But more than anything I embraced imperfection through just choosing to LOVE Me!
The fat little artsy gay kid that fit nowhere is with me always, now I accept him. I tried so hard, for so many years to be another version of myself: better, stronger, more fit, happier, richer, and more successful. However the biggest shift happened when I stopped trying to cut away the pieces of me that I didn’t like. I realize now that by saying, and accepting, that it’s all part of me – the good, the bad, the imperfect in-between, I have in fact become a different person… I am, and believe, for the first time in my life, I am whole complete and missing no piece.