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  • Writer's pictureKoko

The Path That Brought Me Here..(How I Found Spirituality)

The path that brought here was a bumpy one, filled with sporadic inclines and steep downhills too. I won't be sharing my whole life story, but the parts that truly made me- the parts that brought me here.

I think it's important to tell you that this isn't easy for me, in fact, I've been putting off this post for some time now. I kept bumping into my ego and it's idea that "I don't have to explain how I got here, or who I used to be". Which is true, I don't have to explain myself but I want to, because there were a lot of times that I felt like this place in my life would never come. There were points when this path of mine went so utterly downhill, that if you told me I'd be how I am today, I just simply wouldn't believe it a bit. So maybe someone else is sitting in that low spot right now, feeling the very same way, and maybe my path looks a little something like theirs.

You see, I was raised by a pagan mother. She taught me ideas of spirituality that was heavily influenced by our Native American culture. She taught me Shamanic journeying, how to be in tune with intuition & nature, and the ideas of spirit but she never forced me to believe anything. So as I got older, I didn't believe in anything, I lost touch with my spirituality.

I'd had my morals but I didn't have faith.

After a car accident on my 16th birthday, I found out I had a spine injury that would change my life for the next 6 years. I developed chronic migraines that debilitated me to the point where I was spending days, even weeks, alone in the dark due to the amount of pain I was in. I had to stop attending high school, and would do homeschooling from sophomore to senior year but even that was a challenge for me. After years of pain & solitude, and the loss of my best friend, I developed depression and suicidal thoughts. Finding the right medications to be paired with that of my chronic pain caused me to have severe side effects and I was in the emergency room on a regular basis. At the time, I couldn't fathom having anything to believe in. It just wouldn't make sense that there was something out there for me to be worshipping while people were on this earth suffering.

I found a light in the darkness when I began makeup artistry, I graduated cosmetology school as a certified makeup artist by taking night classes and then I entered the world of fashion. I started coordinating high fashion shoots, working in fashion shows in NYC and surrounding areas, as well as worked on a talent team that was hired to execute editorial looks for shoots all through New England. It was a much more fast paced lifestyle than I'd ever anticipated for myself, especially while managing chronic pains, and I soon started to lose my fire. Makeup artistry started as my passion, something I loved to do because I was making clients feel beautiful. But the looks became more eccentric than beautiful, the gigs went from exciting to intense stress, and instead of gleaming clients I was working with unhappy models. It all began to effect me so deeply, the light in my life that was make up artistry started to dim, and I felt myself becoming lost in sadness once again.

This changed again when I reconnected with a childhood friend. He'd done so much in his life since the time we knew each other growing up; he always had something to teach me and show me. He brought into my life this whirlwind of excitement. But excitement turned so quickly to chaos. I found myself completely engulfed in his triumphs, they soon became my own. He'd given me responsibility of all the things he'd been struggling with- eviction, addiction, ostracization from his family (to name a few). I put aside my worries, like my chronic pain, and gave up my life to see his become better. I let him manipulate me into thinking that if I didn't take care of him, I was just like everyone else in his life who kicked him to the curb. Little did I know, there was a reason for that...

All my life, I told myself "I'd never be in a relationship that was consumed with chaos and drama". But somehow, I was neck deep in it, clinging to whatever sanity I had left. Then it turned dangerous, somehow I'd become a victim of mental and physical abuse.

I describe this point in my life as the time when I was merely a shade of the vibrant person I'd known myself to be. Even with chronic pain and depression, I was valid; I could have thoughts/opinions of my own, I could find hobbies that brought me pieces of joy. During that "relationship", I couldn't do any of that; I'd completely lost my individuality and zest for life. I remember thinking "How did I get here? How did it come to this?" while being pushed down into the ground so hard that I had rug burns on my cheek, and down my shoulders & knees. By the time the abuse became so violent and so frequent, I felt hopeless- I truly believed that the only way I was getting out of that relationship was if I died.

Abuse and manipulation are such tricky things. Even when you know all the warning signs, even when you're a strong warrior of a person, it can still get you. You'll pass by opportunities of breaking up because you're convinced there's something worth fighting for but let me tell you, heart to heart- YOU are worth fighting for, your sanity, your happiness, your livelihood....fight for that, not the person who is taking it away from you.

My whole life did a back flip when I began meeting amazing people- people who showed me genuine kindness and love after only knowing me for a short period of time. I was so confused at how people I barely knew could be so warm to me and the person I'd known my entire life and loved more than anything knew only how to be vicious. And then an opportunity to escape the "relationship" arose. Normally, I'd have let it pass me by afraid of who knows what- but something in me had changed. Something in me knew that I deserved to feel loved. So I took it. I got out and I never looked back.

At first, I felt lost. I didn't know who I was; someone was telling me how to think, feel, and act for a year of my life. I collapsed and I prayed. I didn't know who or what I was praying to, I just begged for direction and wept on my bedroom floor. And then, I felt this pull in my stomach, like the magnet in a compass pointing which way to go. I got up, got in my car, and I drove to my favorite crystal shop that my mom and my grandmother (my very best friend) used to bring me to when I was younger. I bought a bundle of sage, a piece of Turitella agate, and a piece of obsidian- expect I had no idea what their names were at the time! After I made my purchase, I drove to my favorite hiking spot that I loved as a child and I spent the entire day wandering through it's trails. I climbed on huge rocks, I took paths I'd never been down, and I laid in the fallen leaves. Everything I was confused about started making sense, I started laughing hysterically because I realized that everything I ever needed was right there. It was in the leaves, the dirt, the me. When I got home, I decided to look up what the stones I bought represented. I was brought to tears when I revealed that obsidian was the stone of protection; warding off negativities, bringing transformation & strength. And Turitella Agate was known as the "Survivor Stone", aiding is strength, transitions, and releasing trauma after abuse.

My intuition brought me to those stones for a reason, and then to the woods. And after that day, I promised I'd never ignore it again. This promise unfolded magnificent things for me through the last year. I've been blessed with even more beautiful souls in my life who teach me kindness, unconditional love, and how to embrace my inner child once again. I found my spirituality- well rather my spirituality found me, and I have faith once more in the things unseen. I've been able to travel to places I'd never imagined setting foot in, creating adventures big and small. And most of all, I've been able to connect, embrace, and love my authentic self. I've come out on the other side of depression, my suicidal thoughts are a thing of the past.

I look back over the last few years of my life and have trouble fathoming the amount of change and growth that has happened. To think of all that's to come in my future excites me and ignites the light in me that I'd struggled to keep lit for so long.

I'm really glad that I wrote this- it was emotional and very raw but damn, I'm still learning how to give myself credit for all that I've come through and this sorta feels like a start. I really, really hope that if any of this resonates with anyone who might read this, that you can believe there is a day when it's all behind you. There's a day that comes when you're smiling, shining bright, and full of love. That you see you're not alone in what you're feeling and there's support for you when you're ready.

I love you, stay smiling <3

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