I think this could be the first time where I’ve pulled together some significant moments that have shaped me, and created my self sabotage alter ego, into one place. Wow. That’s kind of a scary thought! Yet somehow so empowering that I am now able to sit here, remember, feel whatever emotion might arise, reflect, smile, write it for others to read and move forward.
Maybe to start, I’ll share who my self sabotage alter ego is. She is a part of me, and that will never change. I’ve spent most of my life being overpowered by her, instead of acknowledging and embracing her before putting her in her place. She can drag me down to Fear-town when she is in power but keep me grounded and real when she is not.
She is the one that challenges everything that is light in my life, yet she is not the dark.
SHE IS RAW FEAR!
Here are 3 significant moments for me:
10 YEARS OLD
My first clear memory of her is when I was 10 years old. I was in boarding school in Scotland, and despite the bad rep that these schools have, I absolutely loved mine. I was a good student with great grades. I did a lot of sport and music. I played the tenor drum in the pipe band (could I be any more Scottish?) and had an amazing group of friends.
I had first become a boarder when I was 9, and soon after I started a boy had given me a toy cuddly lion as a gift and asked me to be his girlfriend. Terrified, I ran to the bathroom. I had no clue how to react in this situation and had almost no experience even talking to boys. I realise now that even by the age of 9 I had been domesticated and shaped to societies idea of interactions between girls and boys. I didn’t feel that I was able to do it. The next day, he brought me a cuddly toy bat. Again, my answer was no and that was the end of that. At least that’s what I thought.
A few months later, I turned 10, and decided that I did quite like this boy. He ticked all of the boxes that are required for a 10-year-old; cute, funny, good hair gel. Yet, when it surfaced that I had changed my mind a friend of his told me:
“He will only go out with you if you get liposuction and a face lift”.
13/14 YEARS OLD
A few years later I was excitedly getting ready to go to the annual Christmas dance (THE event of the year; a Scottish Ceilidh, where the men wear kilts and the women dress up) with a particular boy. We had danced together during the traditional “PE classes turned dancing lessons”, where boys sit on one side and girls on the other, and one sex gets to pick the other for the lesson. At the end of those it was agreed we would go together. Although I do have to admit, the whole situation was exceptionally awkward. Yet, when the evening came around, to my surprise, the boy was going with another girl.
So, by the age of 13 or so, my self sabotage alter ego was thriving on my low self esteem. Not to mention the joys of puberty. I felt very lost and uncertain as friends around me thrived with guys, and I simply didn’t know what to do, nor felt that I was worthy. Even friendship with guys of my own age was a challenge for me. I only connected with them if they were in the Pipe Band or my shooting group.
17/18 YEARS OLD
Let’s fast forward to when I moved to New Zealand. Halfway across the world from home. Some of this time is a bit blurry; I’ve never been good with keeping strong timelines. Also, to keep a very long story short, I fell in love for the first time, and with it came a lot of first experiences; sex, love, wholeness, co-habitation, engagement, betrayal, heartache, manipulation, lies, desperation, eating disorder, self-harm, depression, suicidal thoughts and eventually renewal.
He had cheated on me multiple times with multiple women. Some physical, some emotional.
What kept me in that relationship was fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear of being alone. Fear of never been wanted by anybody else, and fear of losing what I was manipulated into believing was a “good thing”. My self-sabotage alter ego was in her element. I stopped eating to stay skinny, I bought expensive clothes I couldn’t afford to look good, I grasped at anything within my control to try and master some sense of self-worth. But when I looked in the mirror, I only saw worthlessness. After 3 years I walked away. My soul had simply had enough. I felt broken. Shattered. But somewhere during that time I started to awaken, just a little, to what was real; a life of worth.
Today, I genuinely wish nothing but good things for that man. It took me about 5 years to reach that place, yet it feels good to be there.
This might look like a few sad stories and experiences. It isn’t intended to be that way. Instead, my intention here is to share some influential experiences that have shaped the woman I have become, while acknowledging the pain and heartache that I endured.
To be able to stand here and say “Hey, I came out of all this I’m doing pretty freaking good”.
A lot of my fear comes from relationships. I believe that relationships are at the core of our self-worth, with our relationship with ourselves sitting at the centre. If we don’t create, engage, build a trusting and loving bond with ourselves then we cannot keep our self-sabotage alter ego in her place. It takes commitment to do that. Commitment to self-care, listening to yourself, acknowledging the difference between thoughts and reality. Stepping out of situations to create space to calmly analyse what’s going on and decide the best course of action for yourself.
I’m still working on staying on top.
But when I’m there, it’s the best feeling I could ask for.