For the last two weeks I took time off from my main hustle (as a server at a restaurant) to work on my side hustle (kick ass Life Transition Coach).  Being a Virgo and an overachiever, I had a nice long list of things for me to do so I felt accomplished and productive.  

One of the items on the list was to do 10 Discovery Calls and connect with women (and even one man!!) on the phone, and get hired for my coaching services.  For those of you not involved in the coaching community, Discovery Calls typically last from 30-60 minutes and we talk about YOU!! What your goals are, what's keeping you from reaching those goals, and we explore what life would be like if you cleared out all of the shit and started seeing the bigger picture.  

One wonderful woman who's been following me on The Facebook for YEARS, finally reached out and we were able to connect!  How amazing that someone I've never met has been following my life and living vicariously through me, and is inspired by how I've chosen to live my life.  She gave me some really useful feedback that got me thinking.  Usually, Discovery Calls are all about the potential client.  But she already knew so much about me, and wanted to know more about where I actually came from, and how I got to where I am.  So we chatted a little bit about my struggles.  She said that she sees all of the positive stuff that I've done in the last few years, but she was having a hard time connecting with me because she was in a place where she couldn't imagine life being so good, and all I've been talking about has been positive.  

And it dawned on me: people need to know the GOOD and the BAD.  I can tell you that I had an amazing day at the beach, but sometimes what I leave out are the days that I feel like complete shit for no apparent reason, and can barely get out of bed.  Because depression has a shitty way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it, and when things are going well for you.  It's still there...waiting.  

I don't want to dump on you all of the shitty stuff that has happened to me in my life, and there are still some things that I'm not ready to talk about publicly, but for the most part I'm an open book.  And I want my story to continue inspiring people all over the world.  

I never want to be one of those people who forgets where they came from.  Only happy and positive and rainbows shooting out of my ass all of the time.  While my good days far out number my bad days, I still have shitty days. So here's a bit of my back story...

**Taking a deep breath and getting REALLLLY vulnerable**

I grew up in Southern California (Temecula) with my older brother.  I was born in August 1979, my parents divorced and my mom married my step-dad, we call him Pap, in October 1982.  I was the flower girl at their wedding.  They had my little brother in June 1984 and my sister in July 1985. We were one big happy family.  For the most part.  The dynamics of mixed families are weird. It's all I know, but I imagine a nuclear family functions much differently.  We went to see my bio dad, we called him by his name, Jim, and his wife, Monika, every Wednesday for dinner and every other weekend.  As we got older and sleepovers and friends started taking priority, we wanted to go to Jim's house less and less.  And it became a problem.  My mom wasn't shy about telling us what she thought about Jim, and I was a typical teen and hated all of my parents.  I'm of course condensing all of this, but what eventually happened was me cutting Jim out of my life when I was around 14.  I wanted nothing to do with him.  I was disappointed, let down and hurt when I found out that he was a human and made mistakes.  But I was a 14 year old shit head that couldn't see beyond my clique of girls and what MY NEEDS ARE!!!!  DOESN'T ANYBODY CARE ABOUT MY NEEDS????

Experimenting with cigarettes started in 6th grade. Sneaking alcohol at friends houses started when I was in 7th grade.  I was getting suspended from school right and left, sometimes weeks at a time.  I cleaned up my act in 8th grade and actually spoke at my 8th grade graduation!! It appeared as though I went through my rebellious stage and things were looking up.  

This would be the beginning of my many ups and downs in my life.  

I tried out for the cheerleading squad when I got to high school and although I had never been even remotely interested in anything so girly, I made the squad!!  I decided to counter all of that goodness by dabbling in the pot and subsequently getting suspended (and eventually expelled) from school for dealing 4 months into my freshman year.  What.  A. Mess. I was made an example of and they threw the book at me. My parents decided to fight it, and so began the long and torturous journey of media coverage, school hearings, attorneys, and being expelled from the entire district.  I wasn't even allowed on the campus of my little brother to pick him up from school!!  And now we start the downward spiral...

If you want to turn a decent kid into a slutty party girl, kick her out of school, tell her she's worthless, stupid, a complete fuck up, a disgrace to her family, a loser, and every other negative thing you can think of.  You'll for sure create a kid that fucking hates herself, believes what you tell her, and will find ways to make it all go away.  She'll find ways to hurt herself anyway she can: drugs, alcohol, sex, cutting, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, depression, and more drugs.  

It's funny because I wasn't actually dealing drugs when I was expelled.  I had never even DONE drugs before!!!  I was so new to everything and so stupid, that I got caught THE FIRST TIME I even had drugs in my possession!!  We were going to take the pot that I had and smoke it after school, and the dipshit I was head-over-heels in stupid 14 year old love with took my weed, got caught and ratted me out.  

Had I been given a second chance, and believed in, I could have turned things around. 

But that's not how things went.  And I figured, if everybody is saying all of these things about me anyways, I may as well do them.  Because as far as everyone knew, I was a slutty drug user.  So I may as well have some fun!! And so began my slutty drug use.  I was 15.  I'll spare the details, because now when I talk about it, it's like telling war stories.  Shit that nobody really needs to hear, it makes you cringe, you'll just end up feeling sorry for me, and you'll wonder how I came out alive. 

But I did.  And here I am.

High school was a blur.  How I got through it without getting pregnant, an STD, arrested, beat up, or dead, I have no idea.  I remember as I stood in my graduation gown, having that thought, and realizing that I had some serious guardian angels around me.  How I got into college is still a mystery to me.  But senior year was an upswing year for me.  I pulled my head out of my ass just long enough to apply to college, get accepted, and leave the shit hole town I grew up in.  I couldn't get away fast enough.  I knew it was the only way I was going to save myself.  

I didn't realize that I was running from myself.  And all of this baggage was with me until I looked at it head on.

College was full of drum circles, acid, mushrooms, dreads, smoking weed, camping, self-discovery, independence, the Women's Center, rallies, dating women, and learning to love myself again.  It was a time of re-connection.  It was also a time of an assault, depression, loneliness, feeling abandoned, isolated, scared and completely and desperately alone.  

The ups and downs in my life have been utterly exhausting.   

I started therapy when I was 18, after a guy I was dating decided to have sex with me after I told him no.  I would spend the next 15 years in and out of therapy, on and off medication, and even took a week vacation at a mental hospital, "for my own safety".  (Yes, I'm totally minimizing here.  Thanks for noticing.)

As can be expected, I shut down.  I disconnected from my feelings, from my body, from my thoughts, and from my family.  I had no where to turn for comfort.  I isolated, cried, and begged God/The Universe/Anybody That Would Listen, to just make all of this go away.  

I'm not sure how many times I've cried to myself that I just wanted to die.  I just wanted it all to go away.  I wanted the pain to stop.  But there was something in me that kept me from doing anything permanent.  From finding the gun, taking all the pills, from pulling out in front of the big rig, driving off the cliff, doing all the coke/meth/ecstasy/anything I could find. Something kept me from getting that close to the edge.  

I could go on, tell the rest of my story, and someday I will. Maybe someday I'll be able to talk about the stuff that I won't talk about.  I don't know.  What I do know is that there is a reason why I made it through all of that bullshit.  There's a reason why I went through it all, but I'm not going to bullshit you and say "I'm so happy for all of my lessons." Fuck. That.  I could have done without 80% of the bullshit I've been through.  

I made a choice.  

When I was 33 I made a choice to start living my life differently.  And yes, it's THAT easy.  I was sick and tired of crying.  I was sick and tired of hurting.  I knew unless I got help, I was going to continue this up and down life.  If I continued on the path that I was on, I knew there was a chance I was going to end up dead. Because you can only do so many drugs for so long before your body hates you enough and decides you're done.  I had been in intense therapy for two years, working on my 'daddy issues', which were actually my 'mommy issues', my 'drug issues', my 'abandonment issues', my 'self-esteem issues', my 'depression issues'.  I was re-wiring everything.  Looking at MY role in all of it, and looking at is square in the eyes so I could move THROUGH it.  I was done avoiding it. And it fucking SUCKED.  But I made a choice.  

And here I am.  And  But it hasn't always been that way.  And life could suck again.  But it will never suck as bad as it has in the past.  Because I made a choice to start living differently.  

And you can make that choice, too.