Losing Everything To Find Myself

The Abstract MIrror

Losing Everything To Find Myself

I joined the United States Air Force in January of 2011.  In 4 years, I found myself going to basic training in San Antonio, finishing my technical school in San Angelo, getting married in Tom green county, living in Korea for 2 years, and spending my last year in Bellevue, Nebraska. 

 

I said hello and goodbye to many people who were near and dear to my heart.  I felt like I was in a constant state of transition.  So much so, I didn’t unpack half my things in Nebraska because I knew I would be leaving just as fast.  By the time I turned in my military separation paperwork, I was burnt out.  I had been overworked, overwhelmed, and under-appreciated.  I allowed myself to lose my true essence, giving my power away professionally to the military and personally in a marriage.

 

For most of my marriage, I was separated from my wife due to different and difficult life circumstances.  We were married and we both felt alone.  Two neglected children who had trouble connecting with ourselves and one another.  We were both growing but also growing apart.  While laying on a blanket on the floor because our furniture was in transit from Korea, my wife turned to me and asked:

 

“Do you want to still do this?”

 

With the most honesty I have ever had the courage to muster up I replied:

 

“No.”

 

I had checked out so long ago.  I was an empty shell of a man, riddled with depression, anxiety, a lack of self-love, and no boundaries.  A part of me knew we could make it work.  We could have stuck out if we gave it 100% percent, but another part of me felt it was unfair for both of us to be together.  I felt there was a better life for both of us.  Where we could be loved the way we deserved.  At the end of the day, we didn’t have many things that attached us, no children or real estate.  We could have a clean and civil break that would allow us to both live the lives we wanted.

 

I lived out the rest of my service time in Nebraska on my own.  I spent my time with coworkers, learning how to cook, and watching Netflix.  I was in a deep depression and contemplated suicide on different occasions.  What saved my life was the thought of leaving my dog, Osan.  No one could ever explain to him “why” if I decided to end my time in this world.  I didn’t have the courage to ask for help at the time.  I had a belief that expressing my emotions was a sign of weakness and “it’s not what men did.”  Let me tell you, I was misinformed.

 

Oh, how I wished I had asked for help when I needed it.  Within me was a counter-dependence.  I struggled to communicate I was hurting.  I knew I had many avenues of support.  I was afraid I would be a burden to the people around me.  I kept quiet and the pain brewed.  My pain went from being mental to emotional and then finally physical.  I often had trouble staying asleep and my joints were in chronic pain.  My only outlet of expression at the time was dancing and it still couldn’t silence the inner critic in my head.  I had a belief that I was unlovable and unworthy of connection.  Now I know none of that was true.

 

When I returned home to Washington, I vowed to trust myself and follow my intuition.  I listened to audiobooks on relationships and communication.  I started to understand what self-love actually meant.  I reconnected with my friends and family through spending quality time.  I got in touch with the hobbies I had neglected.  I continued to train hours in the gym, I went hiking with my friends and learned the thrill of backpacking.  I ate real and healthy food.  The kind you ate because you loved your body, mind, and spirit.

 

In May of 2015, I finalized my divorce.  I walked out of the courthouse with a huge smile on my face.  I felt so liberated.  I called my ex-wife, told her the news, and celebrated.  When I got to my car there was an 80 dollar parking ticket waiting for me.  I laughed it off and paid the fine.  For once in my life that outside circumstance was not going to ruin my mood.

 

Early 2015 I had to surrender the vehicle I was driving to my ex-mother-in-law to clear a debt.  My family gave me a backup car to drive to work and 3 days later, the car broke down from a faulty engine.  It was crushing to my spirit.  The next Monday, with my dad’s help, I bought my dream car: a 2015 Subaru WRX.  In late August of that same year, I was involved in a car accident that didn’t total the car but shifted my hips and spine, leaving me in a tremendous amount of pain.

 

Prior to the accident, all my favorite things were physical activities: Dancing, martial arts, backpacking, hiking, training at the gym.  They helped me process my emotions while I was at the lowest point of my life.  I was bedridden after the accident.  I spent my time playing Destiny and eating Sour Patch straws by the bucket.  My depression had set in harder than ever.  I was put on light duty at work and spent my afternoons seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist.  I was losing my mind.

 

I refused to be on standby and let myself wither away again.  I decided to tap into my creativity and reawaken my hobbies of self-connection.  I started to write again.  I journaled, wrote poetry, and short stories.  I began learning about meditation.  I dove into books and articles about spirituality and consciousness.  I decided to try anything that piqued my interest.  I learned photography.  I would cruise Alki (the local beach) on my longboard, and complete ground school to potentially become a pilot.  I learned to tap into my emotions, mind, and soul to explore new avenues of expression.

 

My sense of adventure was rekindled.  I felt like I had a choice.  I remembered how good it felt to choose and use my power.  I had many ideas of what life should be.  It had to fall apart to finally fall into place.  I was tired of feeling like crap for my past decisions.  My discomfort pushed me to change my inner world to influence my outer world.  I just knew things could be different and I was at cause to change it. 

 

Here is a self-reflection that allowed me to change my paradigm and helped me to move forward from the past.

 

First but not last steps to self-love

 

Know your worth.

Believe and see yourself as valuable.  You are not a commodity to be used but an asset to be cherished.  You bring a unique perspective to the world that can help or hinder the people around you.  You have the power to influence and change your surroundings.  The fact that you exist gives you the ability to create.  Choose to be in authentic expression because there is no one else who can bring to this world what you have to offer.  When you know your worth, you will be unshakable to external factors.

 

Learn how to self-soothe.

Have compassion for oneself.  Be aware of what brings you joy when there are times of chaos and uncertainty.  We must realize when the going gets tough that we have the ability to bring ourselves back home.  Learn to be your own coach through positive self-talk.  Be kind to yourself and observe without judgment.  Self-soothing can look like dancing, going on a walk, writing in a journal, breath work, listening to music, and meditation.  Find a self-soothing practice that is constructive rather than destructive.

 

Eating/nourishment.

Be sure you are eating as you love yourself.  Your body knows how you feel when you are feeding it.  Create habits that will have you feeling and looking the way you desire.  Eat delicious food.  My rule of thumb is what I consume must either or both be delicious and healthy.  I can only eat food from people who love cooking.  I choose not to consume anything that is gross and a detriment to my health.  Nourishment also means drinking quality water, slow nasal breathing, and being conscious of what you digest physically and mentally such as scrolling through social media, watching tv, and the music you listen to.

 

Exercise

Find your favorite ways to move energy.  Whether it’s weight lifting, cycling, yoga, martial arts, intuitive dancing, moving helps pass stuck energy.  It will leave you feeling light and connected to your vessel.  Create a body strong enough to do the activities that bring you peace and joy. 

 

Self-nurturing

Learn how to put yourself first.  It is okay to say “no” to others especially if what you are saying no to comes at the cost of your well-being.  You may be highly compassionate and want to please the people you love and care about, but remember who you have to live with at the end of the day.  It is possible to make decisions that are best for yourself while also taking others’ needs into consideration.

 

“Everyone has the right to ask you for anything and you have the equal right to say no“

 

“Saying no when you need to, free of guilt and discomfort is a vital building block of self-care”

 

“I am working on better self-care and I will be doing things differently from now on“

 

“After you change your philosophy you must follow up with a change in behavior.“

 

These quotes are from the book “running on empty” by Dr Jonice Webb

 

My journey through self-love has not been the smoothest ride.  I am still going through it as I type these words.  I am not a perfect human being, but what kind of human beings are perfect?  May these words remind you that you have an inner knowing and there’s power in the choices you make.  Give yourself space to grow and embrace the impermanence of life.  It will all unfold accordingly.  Remember it is okay to ask for help.  This process with beat you down, tear you apart, and put you back together in ways you cannot imagine.

 

Remain strong, remain kind, and remain free despite it all.

 

 

Written by:  Hendichan, Higher Channel

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