To the person that doesn’t feel beautiful right now

I get it.

I know it’s hard feeling beautiful sometimes.

For many of us, genuine self confidence is a major hurdle.

‘Because I’m not beautiful …’

Says your mind.

Your mind is lying.

You can’t win the game it’s playing.

You’ve been chasing after perfection as if it’s obtainable.

But your eyes are lying too.

In this messy world with these cookie cutter goals…

The girl you see with what looks like everything, is living with a broken mirror as well.

She has her self imposed imperfections on display, yet none can see except the broken eyes that feel this way.

We are our own toughest critics.

Nobody sees us like we see ourselves.

Many of us are too busy shredding our own insecurities to have time to nitpick the invisible “flaws” in others.

I know that when you go out and feel like a spotlight is on you, like everyone is staring at your “flaws”, it’s hard to believe it.

But the streets are not filled with these materialistic beliefs that we are hammering into ourselves.

**eye roll**

Goes your mind.

Maybe you don’t feel beautiful because a toxic relationship stripped you of every sense of your worth.

As much as you try to remember who you really are, those pieces feel as if they are fading away.

Maybe a hurtful comment has branded truth into your negative feelings about yourself.

‘It must be true because someone else said it.’

So, SO false.

There is truth in the statement, “you will never be happy if your happiness is somewhere else”.

We feed these inner voices that are constantly compromising our happiness.

What if we really didn’t “need to just lose five pounds”, or “get a littleeee bit of Botox”, and we could just love ourselves like God loves us, simply?

What if instead of drowning in a pool of everything we hate about ourselves, we worked towards silencing those thoughts with the things we like about ourselves?

What if we tried “nurturing ourselves beautiful” instead of continuously failing at “hating ourselves pretty”?

Such a profound display of self love could be the key that unlocks your prison.

Every day is as beautiful as you choose to make it.

While day dreaming of your perfect physique may seem innocent enough, it’s not a healthy place to linger.

The fact is that you are not “that girl you’d die look like”.

You aren’t “shorter”, “blue eyed”, “skinny”.

By dwelling on the idea that your happiness lives in these things, you are setting yourself up for a long life of discontent.

What if the secret to feeling beautiful was way more obtainable than you thought…?

I know that telling you to love the person that you hate is the last thing you probably want to hear.

And that is the problem.

The truth is my dear, you are so beautiful.

You don’t need to change yourself, you need to change your mirror.

Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content! ❣️

Self validation

“Stop it Alexis, you are such a hypochondriac!”

I’ll admit, I’m definitely on the dramatic side.

My animated personality and high functioning anxiety have unintentionally given me this reputation of being a complete hypochondriac.

A lifetime of being told that every inner intuition was a joke has taken from the grace I give myself.

Sinus infections have been a major part of my life.

I genuinely can’t even remember when this all started as that moment was likely silenced with the distrust I’ve developed towards my own sensations.

I’ve been muddling through life, neglecting chronic facial pain by reaffirming to myself that I’m “just being dramatic”.

I don’t feel fine.

I’ve had a sinus infection for as long as I can remember.

Every day begins with a blaring sinus headache.

Attempting to focus on anything is an impossible task.

It feels like living in a perpetual grogginess.

‘Stop being so dramatic.’

Drowning my thoughts with this message as I attempt to pull through another day.

The frustration lies in the fact that I can’t just turn it off.

No matter how much I try to convince myself that I’m fine, I don’t feel fine.

I’m playing a constant game of manipulation with myself.

It’s a confusing way to live.

Trips to the doctor happen as time and patience allow.

Usually this looks like long periods of not wanting to deal with it until it gets so bad that I cave in.

This past year, as symptoms became increasingly unbearable, I received at least five separate six-week trials of antibiotics and steroids.

The medications provide some minor relief but the problem always returns abruptly.

Over time, I’ve convinced myself that this is just “normal”.

And it is normal, for me at least.

2019 has been a year of taking back control of my health.

I’m tired of feeling like crap all the time… this isn’t normal!

I got a new psychiatrist who actually wants to work as a team.

I broke it off with my anxiety therapist after we couldn’t come to an agreement on proceeding with EMDR.

And finally, I had a CT scan done on my sinuses.

The results were one big wake up call.

“Your CT shows some major changes in your sinuses due to chronic inflammation.”

The doctor then began walking me through the imagery.

First he showed me an example of a normal CT scan of the sinuses.

The image showed air pockets throughout the sinus cavities.

My images were almost a complete contrast.

The right side appeared to be completely blacked out.

The left side, a close runner up, with only tiny pockets of air visible.

“How have you been functioning like this…? You have got to be miserable.”

He said, with complete empathy.

Words that were absorbed like a foreign language.

“I don’t know… I guess I just thought everyone felt like this all the time.”

I was referred to ENT to meet with a surgeon, whose remarks on my CT weren’t much better.

He stuck a scope down my nose to take a peek.

The good news?

I don’t have nasal polyps, which could require recurrent surgeries throughout life.

The bad news?

My sinuses have been inflamed for so long that some of the sinus cavities are swollen closed.

The right side has 3 of 4 nasal cavities completely sealed from inflammation.

The left side is narrowing and bacterial fluid has begun stockpiling.

Both sides will require surgery.

The surgery I’m having will require “cutting out bone” to reopen the sinus passages, allowing them to drain for the first time in years.

Multiple doctors commenting that this surgery could potentially be life changing.

I’m ready to experience this new normal.

April 3rd is the big day and it honestly can’t come soon enough.

I’m ready to experience life at my full potential.

In the meantime I’m left pondering a powerful lesson on self validation.

You see, if I had just listened to my intuition, this could have been taken care of a long time ago.

I have nobody to blame but myself for such neglect.

“Something in my body feels off.”

Is a statement that isn’t up for discussion.

You are the only person who knows how you feel.

Yet society has us trained to value the opinions of others above our own; To practice self care the way in which we were taught, which may not even be the best method for us personally.

I’ve learned that the opinions of others are irrelevant when addressing my personal feelings.

What are your self care habits?

Are you an exemplary advocate for your inner intuition?

Or is your shadow trying to tell you something…?

Check out Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️

Dissociation- “emotional numbing”

This past year has been the most extensive year of self reflection ever.

And with understanding has come more questions- a lot of them!

Like last week when I processed for the very first time that I in fact, leave my physical body, subconsciously, hundreds of times every day.

Don’t get me wrong.

This isn’t some kind of witch craft or wizardry.

It’s a mental illness called depersonalization disorder.

It’s also the only way I can remember ever functioning…. making it that much more confusing.

How would you react if you realized that you’ve spent over half of your life physically “zoned out” while being somewhere else completely mentally…?

“Whenever my PTSD gets triggered I get like, trapped in another world for awhile. I don’t know what happens there because my memory in that time period gets completely wiped. Nothing really gets done while the time is running.

Sometimes I realize I don’t know what’s going on when I’m literally in the middle of a sentence with someone. It’s super stressful being around anyone really, for that reason.

But most of the time I don’t even realize that I’d left. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember and until just recently, I thought that everyone experienced this.

I know that sounds crazy… am I dying?”

My best friend who is studying psychology, responded with this:

“If I’m understanding you right it sounds like dissociation or depersonalization. Which is common for people with PTSD. It sounds terrifying but you are not dying. It is something that many people with PTSD experience.”

Off to the internet I went, in attempt to learn more about this madness, aka my life.

The first thing that stood out to me was “a confusing sense of identity“.

Looking no further than the name of this blog to check that one off the list of qualifying criteria.

As I continued reading, the checks started piling up.

‘Man… I had no clue there was a name for this!’

Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, or sense of identity.

A child is more able than an adult to step outside of themself and observe trauma as though it’s happening to another person.

Children who learn to dissociate in attempt to endure a traumatic experience may use this coping mechanism, even subconsciously, in response to stressful situations throughout life.

The dissociative adult may automatically disconnect in everyday situations, leaving them “spaced out” and unable to protect themselves in the event of real danger.

Dissociative episodes increase in frequency with the severity of trauma and triggers.

Smells, sounds, colors, places…. anything tied to a traumatic memory can send you out from the drivers seat of your body in an instant.

Wow…Just wow!

The research I have done on this disorder in the last week has been redundant.

I am so beyond confident that I battle with extreme depersonalization disorder, it’s like they wrote it all about me.

This understanding has come with the bomb of a realization that I am transitioning in and out of my body hundreds of times every single day.

With this knowledge I’ve made a few reflections.

1) I have depersonalization disorder.

2) I’ve been living this way for so long that the transitions are usually unnoticeable.

3) It would be nice if I could just stay inside my body all the time.

4) How do I make this stop?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple.

Like the majority of my mental health madness, this is going to take a crap ton of hard work.

“Stuffing” is my most often used defense mechanism.

It’s a process of trying to trick myself that any undesirable emotion or sensation isn’t really happening.

This is a subconscious behavior that happens like clockwork.

Typically for me, the “stuffed” emotion presents itself as high strung anxiety or irritability.

To “cure” the dissociative episodes I’m going to have to talk to my emotions and actually feel themno more “stuffing”. 😳

As someone who has “stuffed” every foreign emotion for as long as I can remember, this feels like an overwhelming task to take on.

Dissociation is kind of like having your body and mind living on two different planets.

The first step will be simply increasing my personal awareness.

Mindfulness, sitting with my emotions… YUCK!

I need to practice the repetitive cycle of acknowledging my emotions as they arise and responding that they are valid for feeling that way.

I’d be absolutely lying if I said I wasn’t scared out of my mind.

This entire situation is freaking terrifying.

I’ve been functioning emotionally numb for far too long and I need to do this for me.

Once I begin allowing my emotions to be a part of me, my body will start relearning how to function as a whole.

It will be an intense process of triumphs and failures.

And after all, isn’t that what life is all about?

Trying and failing until we reach our goal…?

I’m ready to embrace this life for all that it is, the good and the bad.

For now, this book is still being written.

It’s my journey and I’m ready to start living it.

In a perfect world, this pursuit will end in an alignment of my identity.

Who am I helping by continuing to live this way?

Certainly not myself.

Project accepted. ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

The “devalued” child

“When I was a kid I remember crying in the mirror and feeling so badly that my parents had to have the ugliest kid in the entire world.”

I expressed to my anxiety therapist.

“What happened to trigger that? At the age of 4 or 5 a child doesn’t just come up with these feelings from nowhere… something must have happened.”

She questioned.

“Nothing happened. I’m just ugly.”

It would be YEARS of therapy before unlocking this can of worms.

Years of wondering if I was raped or abused as a child and just blacked out the entire thing.

Years of silencing that fear with my proclamation of ugliness.

‘At least if you understand that you are ugly you aren’t ugly and in denial…’

Confidence has never been my strong suit.

It wasn’t until my anxiety therapist gave me a list of books to look into that my life started making sense for once.

While she never said it directly, all of the books had a common theme.

Borderline personality disorder.

The second I looked up the definition, I felt my mom’s picture should have been pasted right next to it.

It was her exactly.

My mom has borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by the following behaviors:

  • Intense, highly changeable moods
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors (spending sprees, substance abuse, binge eating)
  • Extreme emotional swings
  • Hostility
  • Lack of restraint

In my case, “a pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)”, my brother is the idealized and I am the devalued.

With this newfound knowledge about my mom, it has been an emotional rollercoaster the past few months.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has borderline personality disorder is an extremely traumatic thing to go through.

The fact that I never even understood this piece of myself for the first 26 years of my life completely blows my mind.

There is no denying that all of it makes sense.

Anger, sadness, frustration.

Every emotion showing its colors in myself at this new revelation.

‘Is therapy making me crazier?’

Instead of my mom just removing herself from my life all together, I grew up in an “I love you, go away” environment.

There was a constant push and pull.

Actions that were justified by clothing me in shame and guilt.

Our father, whom I got along with best, was away from home making the money.

The way I internalized my moms behavior as a child was processing it as a personal flaw.

The almost comical “obsession” (idealization) she had for my brother was a stark contrast to the way she treated me.

“Maybe if I was prettier my mom would love me too…”

The constant push and pull from a person in trust is enough to destroy someone entirely.

My feelings were never heard or validated.

I was always wrong, she was always right.

My attempts at having a voice were converted into backlash.

Growing up in the care of a parent who had borderline personality disorder distorted my self worth at a very young age.

The devalued child feels unworthy of love- even from themselves.

You get used to always being the one at fault.

To this day I overuse the word “sorry”.

I am sorry.

Sorry for any way that I may be bothering you with my presence.

It’s been hammered into my head that I’m a nuisance.

My mom loves me and I know that.

I don’t believe that she ever intended to hurt me.

Yet there is still a part of me that hates her.

A part that wants to give a voice to the child who didn’t have one.

A part that wants to say, “F you” and never talk to her again to pay her back for that broken little girl looking in the mirror.

Except I’m not going to go out like that.

Yes, this understanding has been quite the rollercoaster… but it’s one that I’m glad to be riding.

Without understanding myself I would never have the means to fix anything.

I can’t change my mom.

And I will probably never get an apology from her.

But that’s okay.

THERAPY TAKES WORK!

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

But it’s the only way to obtain justice for myself, for the little girl in the mirror.

I know that someday all of this hard work will pay off.

I will love my mom forever and while I can’t guarantee it’s the end of the outbursts, I can agree to forgive her.

Holding firm in my boundaries while staying true to my values.

I’m choosing to live my life in love instead of hate.

I’m choosing to accept the things I cannot change and changing the things that I can.

Dear little girl in the mirror,

You are beautiful.

Have empathy for your mother even in the times that it’s hard.

You don’t HAVE to do so, but CHOOSE to do so.

Forgive your mom.

Live your life in love.

Learn to love yourself the way God loves you.

Your moms behavior has everything to do with her and nothing to do with you.

Remember that her outbursts are professions of her pain rather than expressions of her feelings towards you.

Don’t forget to be there for yourself.

You are worthy.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️

Revisiting the memories I would rather have forgotten

“Maybe you should just stop doing the blog if you aren’t able to make any income from it. It’s just so negative….ha. You are always talking about about weird stuff. People must think that you’re nuts!”

This blog has been an absolute rollercoaster.

Some days I ride the high of feeling like I’m helping people while in turn freeing myself of my “baggage”.

Other days I feel like an idiot and wonder why I’m wasting all this time for nothing, until it spirals so far out of control that I about quit.

“Should I really post that?”

“How are people going to react to this?”

Will anyone react to this…?”

The truth is that it would be SO much easier to just go about my life and pretend like all the years of chaos never even happened.

Easier to pretend that I’ve been this “normal” person my whole life…

Easier to bury my skeletons than to go searching for them in attempt to resolve the trauma that they’ve branded me with.

My blog is called Project Identity because I hope to uncover what I feel are “missing pieces” of my identity through the process of this project.

In terms of adversity, I’ve had a very wide range of it.

Mental health, eating disorders, sexual abuse, dysfunctional families…. YOU NAME IT!

By revisiting these traumas, my goal is to sort through my life and figure out who I really am.

This is NOT in any way an attempt to glorify or normalize the things that I’ve done.

Im not sharing my deepest, darkest secrets with YOU to win sympathy or to place blame on others for things that have happened in my life.

My intention IS to help others by saying,

“this is where I was and look where I am now.”

An attempt to find the answers for survival after adversity– answers that I don’t necessarily believe that I have, yet somehow…. I made it.

And the story isn’t over.

People don’t just overcome something and live happily ever after.

With time, the book you just closed will start revealing itself in your next book.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has Borderline Personality Disorder left me runningself medicating with drugs and alcohol.

The consequences that I received for such behavior opened the door for a newfound battle of control with food (read Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself).

All of the above rooting me in distorted self worth and eventually leading to rape and suicide attempts.

Recovery from both addictions simultaneously greeted me with crippling anxiety and PTSD- symptoms I now have to face head on, without a crutch.

I don’t believe that God dealt me these cards by mistake though.

Why?

Because I shouldn’t even be here right now.

The moment my life turned around was also the lowest, darkest place I’ve ever been.

My desire to live was gone, but God had other plans.

Just weeks after multiple failed suicide attempts and hospitalizations, my polar opposite walked into my life and we ended up pregnant.

I wasn’t living for me anymore.

A tiny human who would love me forever was too good of an offer to pass up.

God took the life I couldn’t handle anymore and replaced it with one that I could.

He wanted me here because He knows my heart.

My adversity is God’s opportunity.

His opportunity to change more lives.

This is why I do what I do.

I write about my rawest moments because frankly, life is raw.

The world needs more raw people, too.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

When our parents fail at being our parents

The broken child is now an adult.

Finally amounting the courage to seek healing for pain that still affects them to this day.

Disappointed when their parent falls short in mending such wounds.

I’m not sure which hurts worse…

Your mother saying she would choose a boyfriend over you OR her justification when you seek an apology many years later.

I guess the second option just further validated that she in fact, meant what she said all along.

Why can’t our parents just set aside their egos for a minute if it means the well being of their child?

Countless hours have been spent pondering that very question.

Hours spent angry.

Hours spent hurt.

Hours spent beating myself up, trying to figure out what’s so wrong with me that my own mother can’t say sorry for something that brings me pain.

Family members can hurt us way worse than anybody else because they are our blood.

We hold our parents to a different set of standards and expectations.

When they fail to meet those expectations we can’t help but blame ourselves and feel flawed.

“Maybe if I was prettier my mom would love me….”

There is a pit deep in my heart wanting this to just be resolved before one of us dies.

I know that we have had a lot of great times in our relationship…

It’s just,

you broke me

I know that I was a terrible person growing up.

I’m unfathomably sorry for every waking second you had to spend in complete terror because of me.

It genuinely kills me thinking back to the times where I was embarrassed being out in public with you.

I’m sorry for that too.

I am so unbelievably sorry that I’ve corrected myself and am living the admirable life that I am today.

I’ve said I’m sorry and I wish that you could too.

While I don’t believe it is an intentional lack of parenting it creates an emotional barrier until it’s been genuinely dealt with.

We can forgive… we can forget…

But the broken pieces in us will still remain.

In my head it just seems so easy.

Easy to be completely vulnerable for five minutes and say sorry even if it’s uncomfortable.

I’m not looking for a justification of “why” you did it,

I just want to know that you didn’t mean it.

Am I the only person who feels like “I’m sorry but” apologies are sometimes worse than no apology at all?

If you are justifying what you just “apologized” for then are you sure you’re really sorry…?

We unfortunately do not have the power to make people apologize to us.

The pain that comes out to scare us every once in awhile is out of our control also.

If you are reaching for a void from a parent who told you they are “never going to give it to you”…

Take a moment to sit with yourself and grieve.

Physically grieve the pain that this brings you.

A few minutes after you’ve successfully released it ⬇️

Accept the pain for what it is.

And here is the thing,

You are not the problem.

There is nothing wrong with you just because you have a toxic parent.

Deep down our parents love us.

No matter what they’ve said or what they’ve done {or not done} … they love us.

We are all human and have our own ways of living in this world.

Instead of running with the pain try silencing it with the positives.

Be the energy you would like to attract- even when you aren’t receiving it.

Human as we are, it will be a process.

Accept the pain for what it is as it arises in the future.

Don’t prevent yourself from feeling a certain way.

Find a time and a place to step away for a moment and redo the grieving process as needed.

Pray to God and ask to see yourself in His eyes…

It’s incredible I promise.

Remember that your life doesn’t have to end waiting on someone else’s apology.

You are not a reflection of your toxic parent.

Be free from the chains that have you bound.❤️

Your sanity will thank you someday.

Check out my blog for more inspirational goodness ❤️⬇️❤️

www.project-identity.blog

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