Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Story. My Truth. My Powerful Life. My Love.


Dear all who listen and read this blog..........This is probably the most terrifying post I have ever shared. My intuition is letting me know it is time. Here is my truth.

Where do I find words to even begin. Today is the day, to express myself in a way that I thought I would never have the courage to do in my life. Something today has called me to this place, and it has taken me almost 20 years to come out and talk about it. This is my story. I am writing this to all those who may need to hear these words. To all who may be going through this right now in their lives, and to maybe someone who wants to end their life for these very reasons. I hope that these words come across as a way to heal myself, others, and to share my truth. This is my story. Bare with me now as I tell it the best way I know how. I do not want to live my life in secret, I want to live my life showing my true colors and embracing who I am to the fullest. I love who I have become out of this process. I wouldn't take these experiences back for anything. I am so happy and peaceful.

When I was little I always felt weird, or differen't than my peers at school. Something was always just not right with me. I always felt shy, uncertain, and that I was experiencing life completely differen't than everyone else....and I thought something was terribly wrong. I told myself I was broken. Moving to Scotland at 6 years old with my family was difficult. Before we moved to Scotland, If anyone spoke to me or looked like they were going to speak to me, then I would hide. Hiding became a very natural thing for me, and was only the beginning of a very long journey to stay hidden for many years. I remember living in Scotland and loving that all the kids in our family slept upstairs on the same floor. I had that creepy dark blue room. I hated it. I hated that window. I would surround my bed at night with dolls to feel safe. I always knew that my brother Garrett was in the next room, and that he would save me. We would play colored eggs, and run around the pond in our back yard. I remember all of these times. I loved that game. Those were the times in Scotland I would never forget. I was happy when I was playing with my brother and my sisters.

When we moved home, things became difficult. School was hard, I still felt very uncertain of myself. I did have a little bit more confidence from living in Scotland. I was the blonde hair, green eyed, American girl, that everyone wanted to be friends with while we lived there. So, when I got home, it was good for me on some level. It was easier to interact with kids. I did become boy crazy in elementary school. I chased boys at recess, and did all the stuff NORMAL little girls would do. I remember every single boyfriend I had in elementary. Of course, there was the neighbor boy I fell in love with at an early age. He was that dream boy. The first love; the too good to be true happy ending. The prince charming that would come and sweep me off my feet and marry me one day. I already knew as early as 9 or 10 years old, that I wanted to marry him. The love that I had for him at an early age kept me alive in my life. Thank you to you.

When I was in sixth grade, 11 years old, I started to experience changes. I remember it was in Mrs McBeths class. I noticed that I didn't like the same things that all girls did at my age. I knew something was differen't. I can remember my thoughts still SO clearly at that age;because they were so differen't than what normal kids would think or feel. I was so young to be
dealing with these thoughts. Sixth grade, I only wanted to play baseball, run the bases at Draper park on a summer night, and play basketball with the neighbor kids. I didn't want to chase boys around anymore. I didn't have those same feelings, and immediatly that scared the crap out of me.

I have always been very sensitive, intuitive, since I was a little girl. As young as I was, I identified with every feeling that would move through me. It scared the shit out of me. One day we were in class and we were talking about spinal meningitus. I thought I suddenly had this virus. My sensitive body was going through so much change, and I felt like my body was taking on everything. I didn't know what was happening to me. I was so scared. Once this happened, I was immediately put on anti-depressants, and diagnosed with OCD. Then, on top of all of this, I was introduced to my first shrink. I was supposed to talk. I didn't know how to express how I felt to this stranger. So, many times I lied. I told him what I thought he was supposed to hear. I remember his office. The brown couch that was too soft, my little body was swallowed up in the couch cushions. Dr. Winner. Long brown hair, he must have had every color of Bill Cosby sweater's you could imagine. He wore them each time I saw him. The office was crowded with old furniture, messy, and cluttered. It did not feel like home. I was terrified.

One day, I came home from school, and my Mom was watching Oprah. The gay olympic diver (I have no idea his name) was talking on tv. He was talking about having HIV. He was expressing his disease, and that he was dying. Then I heard the word gay. I heard enough of that to know that suddenly I am gay too. I really believed it. Why? Because I wasn't boy crazy anymore. I had stopped loving the boys like I did when I was a few years younger. I immediately took that on. This is when all the self
hatred started. I obssessed over it. I became so depressed, it was all I could think about. I was gay. I was gay. I was gay. Imagine
hearing that in your head all day at 12 years old. Not knowing what the crap this meant, and who to talk to. I am a child of God right? If I am a child of God, then how can I be gay? So, this was the beginning of trying to talk myself ouf of this obsession. I tried everything. I remember going to Disneyworld with my family and taking pictures. I rememember in every picture exactly what was on my mind. I could not even function. I was so confused at why I had these feelings, and everyone was so happy. Afterall, we were at the happiest place on earth. I was a child, and I was miserable in this playground
of hopes and dreams. The only thing I could think about was, "If I am Gay, what will happen to me?" I wanted to disappear.

All of this lasted through highschool. I tried to supress it. So, of course I tried every medication known to man. Let me clarify, My Mom and Dad did everything they could at this time for me. I remember my mom saturating her pillow at night with her tears for me. She would check me out of school, knowing I was having a rough time, and take me to lunch. She didn't know what was going on with me. But she is my mom. Mom's are intuitive. She knew deep down inside. My parents have alway's been there for me. They have always wanted me to be safe and happy.

During these times, there was somewhere inside of me that still had hope. I was still in love with the neighbor boy. I loved him. If I could win his heart, I would be safe. I would make it to the "Celestial" Kingdom, and would live with my family forever. I tried every day in highschool to win his heart. I did everything. He was the only boy I ever loved, and wanted to marry. So, when he became more interested in me my Jr. year, I felt really good. I actually became more popular and I really came out of my shell. I thought I won him over. He kissed me on spring break the following year. So, of course still feeling good about life as I was preparing to finish highschool. Although, the question still festered in the back of my mind.....could I still be gay? It was like a little yappy bird on my shoulder that would never shut up. Despite all of this, I made it through graduation. I sent the neighbor boy I loved on his mission, we wrote the entire time. While he was gone, I did everything to prepare myself for when he came back. I wanted to be the skinniest, the most beautiful. I became obssessed with working out. I wanted to be perfect. Not realizing until much later in life, that I am already perfect the way I am. I was anorexic, bullemic, you name it. I ran my heart out. Garrett and I ran my first marathon together. But all this time, still miserable inside, because I didn't know how to deal with all these confused thoughts and feelings. Running became a way to numb me from the pain, and I suddenly became addicted to the runner's high.

Back up to when I was 16 years old. I got my patriartichal blessing, hoping it would tell me I would marry in
temple. So, of course!!!! Of course!!! It told me that I would be married in the temple. I slept with that blessing every night against my chest. I slid the blessing in my Book of Mormon, and held it tight until I fell asleep. This blessing gave me hope that one day I would be fixed. I wanted to believe it as truth. I wanted all my feelings to go away. While I was obsessing over the neighbor, there was ALWAYS this feeling I had deep down inside. I think I am gay.

The neighbor boy comes home from his mission. I had purchased the best outfit. I was so excited. His two sisters where out on their front steps waiting with everyone. I remember them asking me if I was excited to see him. I could barely contain myself. This was the moment I was waiting for since I was a little girl. Afterall, he had been writing me his ENTIRE mission. I thought, this is it! I am going to finally marry the man of my dreams. Standing in his front yard, waiting to see him, he gets out of the car, and gives EVERYONE a hug but me. I am standing there foolish. I felt so beautiful, and I was excited for him to see me. But he walked right past me as though I was invisible and gave his future wife the first hug. "REJECTION!" back to, "I am gay." Neighbor boy gets married. My life is over.

New chapter in my life. This is the beginning of my teaching. My first job at a local gym. 2003. One of the best years of my life. I had so much in me, that teaching became a very powerful way for me to heal. I wasn't in my thoughts teaching. I was there to help others. I was able to speak without speaking. I was able to express myself from the deepest part of my core. I could connect with others. I could speak my truth without actually coming right out and saying it. My classes were packed! Packed! I am a damn good teacher. I was going so deep to teach, to motivate, to heal. Something inside of me was coming out and connecting on deeper levels then I can even speak to. When I was not teaching, the gay thoughts, over and over and over again like a broken record. I fell in deep love with a woman. And I was trying to hide and run as far away from those feelings as possible. I made up as many excuses for myself to believe that I was not in love with this woman. I thought nobody knew. I was grapsing on to ANYTHING that would tell me I wasn't gay. ANYTHING. Teaching saved me. It fed me. It fed something in me that wasn't feeding me in my life. Teaching other people saved me from killing myself. I thought many times how I might do it for sure. Anything to ease the pain. This is when I found my bike. I loved my bike. Another way to numb. I could climb the highest of mountains on this bike, and by doing so, this would ease the pain. I kept searching. I kept running away. The only thing I could do was run and bike. It was what I did best. I ran. I ran like hell. I ran as many marathons, and biked as many LOTOJAS as I could. I was a damn good athlete! The athlete in me kept me alive. It showed me the drive that I have inside of me. The fight. It revealed to me in so many ways, that I don't give up on myself. That I don't give up on my life. That I climb the hills, and I make it to the top.

After trying to date a few nice guys in college. I met a GREAT guy! He was really cute, my family adored him, BUT not a whole lot of attraction on my end. BUT, he didn't reject me. He actually liked my hard outer layer. He LIKED me. I think I was a challenge for him. So, of course I kept him around as long as I could. He bought me time. More time to prove I would be straight. The relationship was good for about ten minutes, and then I became very miserable. I was so sad, because he really was perfect. And he really loved me. I tried SO hard to talk myself into believing this is the right person. I put so much pressure on myself. I wanted to be fixed. One night I went to the bishop's office of my home ward. I asked him straight up, "should I marry this man?" "I am scared, because I don't feel anything." The bishop told me it was Satan creating this fear in my body. To not be scared, and that I should marry him. He told me that everything would be all better. That I should go to the temple once a week for six months, and that a worthy man would take me to the temple. Man did I eat that up. Anything to fix me. Six months passed. Temple once a week. Did not miss! When I dedicate myself, I really dedicate myself. It didn't work. I felt more
and more disconnected from my boyfriend, and more miserable. My Grandpa passed away. I remember his passing was right before I decided to end things with my boyfriend. I wasn't happy. I decided to listen to my intuition. I was going to give up on a great guy. We ended things, I listened, even when I didn't want to. I wanted to be happy. I wasn't. So, ANOTHER rejection in life. I was defeated. I was completely defeated.

Next Chapter. After the break up! Next big decision. Do I do register for Ironman St. George? Of course! Another way to ease the pain. Time to train. Time to rededicate myself to my masochistic and self violent behaviors. How much more could my body take. It felt tired. Self hatred, another way to hate myself yet again. Numbing myself was more important than listening to my body. I wanted to continue to prove I wasn't broken. I could continue to numb and self medicate, and run further from my truth. (all along, GAY) was still running like a broken record in my head. While training for the Ironman, I became so exhausted. It was a Friday afternoon in March 2010. It was a very windy day. It was the beginning of my training run. Mile 4 of 12. I still had to go swim before the day was over. I couldn't breath. The wind was stopping me in my tracks, but I KEPT ON PUSHING. Stopping was not an option. I became angry with myself. A school bus passed me. Kids pressing their faces out the window, people passing me with their kids in jogging strollers. I STOPPED! I cried. I couldn't do it anymore. Thoughts running through my mind. Disappointment. "I HATE YOU" "I HATE YOU ABBEY!" "YOU FUCKING FAILURE!!!!" "YOU FAIL." "YOU GAY FUCKER! YOU GAY FUCKER." (excuse my language.) I am being real. As real as I know to be. I walked, jogged, shuffled my way home. I couldn't call anyone to come pick me up. How could anyone know I quit... BUT I quit that day. This was the beginning of my healing....

My mom saw me when I got home. She saw the look of exhaustion and failure in my face. I didn't even have to say anything, and the first thing she said to me. "Abbey, it is okay to quit the Ironman" I didn't want to hear those words coming from her mouth. BUT something in me was telling me to just give. Just hold up the white flag. I was at the time enrolled in yoga teacher training at CCY. I walked into class later that night, same day as my horrible run. D' started talking about her life. She was an athlete, aerobics teacher, etc. The story of her life was resonating so deeply with mine. She talked about a marathon. San Francisco. Mile eighteen. She said that is when she discovered she was disconnected from herself, she had to quit. She was bored, and she knew she was disconnected from her body. That moment I knew I had to quit Ironman training, and I was only 2 months away from the race. Something in her story, the way she told it, gave me permission to quit. I quit. I canceled my Ironman plans. This time I didn't feel so bad about myself. This is an indication that I loved myself. Even if it was a little bit. I cared. I started to listen to my body, and my body liked it. Retiring the running shoes, selling my bike, living on my yoga mat, while listening to my body each day, my life started to crack open. I started to become more confident. I started to really live in my body. My thoughts.....my obsessive thoughts. Suddenly, for what felt like the first time in my life, disappeard. Peace.

November, 11. 2011 The day that changed my life forever.
InBody Retreat. I was there to help. I was there to be at service. To make sure everything went smoothly. To assist in other's experience. To understand other's. The name of the retreat, "Be real." I am planning on expressing myself in a way that I never had before. I had been preparing my journal entries for the last month. I went back to my Jr year of highschool journal entries, and compiled everything that rang true for me to the present moment. I put ALL my writings together in a poetic way. I wanted to share myself. I wanted to express what was inside of me. My dear friend Barbara sat on a stool in the middle of the room. My black yoga mat in the middle of the room. 65 people staring at me. Dark in the room with just a spotlight over my mat. My body moved gracefully, in a way it had never moved in my life. Barbara read my words, and I moved like a dance on my mat. My body expressed. My body felt beautiful; I felt beautiful for the first time in my life. I felt understood. I felt powerful. I felt okay. In that moment, I stepped inside to a deeper part of myself, that I was never willing to even look at. I went there, that dark place, full of cobwebbs and dust. I was lead there by the grace of God. By the safe place of that retreat. I didn't know what happened. I felt completely empty. I could describe the feeling as emptiness inside. My body would echo in this emptiness. I was lying on my mat in tears. I freed mysef. Literally from all those fetters, suffering, and the pain. I finally knew that I was okay with me. That I was okay being in love with a woman. I fell in love. I fell in love with myself. I was given a gift, a gift from a woman that changed my life forever. The cool thing about this gift, I was able to receive it with my entire heart. After I moved my body to my words, I knew it. I felt my body relax around it, and I realized what I had known since I was 12 years old, to be truth my entire life. It couldn't be a lie. That I was okay. That I loved another soul deeply and it happened to be a woman, and I was okay with this discovery.

I returned home from retreat and I felt so light, and I moved with ease and grace. I felt butterflies for the FIRST time in my life. I felt all these feelings that I NEVER allowed myself to feel. I felt out of control at times. I was okay with feeling out of control; I had been in control of my life every single day up until this point. I see this as the greatest gift I have ever received in my life. I was finally worthy of my own love. I was truly in love with myself. To this person. Thank you. You know who you are, and you know how important you are to me.

LOVE. Wow. It is amazing. My body is expressing things to me I have never allowed myself to feel. I ran too damn far away from myself. It is exciting. I am feeling so happy. My home is beautiful, I adore my job. I get to teach at the best yoga studio on the planet. Everything is falling perfectly into place. I would rather be happy and in love with myself, and alone. Then unhappy and surrounded with people that don't encourage you to be your authentic self. It has taken me so much courage to leave everything I know behind. The church..... out of love.....I packed up my bags and I left.

Running. New relationship. I love it. I love running up mountains. The great outdoors is my gym membership. I can now go hiking, and I can just marvel at nature. I love that athlete in me. I honor her. She is there, reminding me every day how strong I am. How dedicated to my life I am. How dedicated to my own happiness I have been my entire life. I am not hurting myself anymore. When I go running, I am not running away anymore. I am running connected and engaged with my body and life.

I now have the freedom to express myself when I am in love with a soul. I have learned through all of this, that love has no boundaries. Love is love. That it is absolutely not about the label of being "gay". What does that mean anyway's! I refuse to put myself in a box. I refuse to label myself. I did that for my entire life. I fall in love with a soul. If it is a soul in a female body, then wonderful. If it is a soul in a male body, I accept. I am okay to shout my love from the rooftops! No more secrets, no more places to hide. I am simply honoring that God made me exactly the way I was supposed to be made. I left the church, because I had to. It taught me for so long that I could be fixed; when I was never broken. I had to stand up for myself. I had to take my power back. I took from myself for so many years.

I feel safe in my own life, in my own body. I feel safe inside myself. I get to walk the floors of the studio and teach with ease and grace. I am ME. I was willing to walk away from it ALL to be me. I had too, I had to leave it all behind. My yoga mat saved my life. literally. It was where I freed myself. I will teach yoga for the rest of my life. I will have a book. I will tell my story. I will be exactly who I am. I will love with all my heart.

I have every right to be who I am. To not be silent. To not suffer. All those moments, I was afraid, and all those
tears shed..... So DAMN worth it. I am so happy. I am not perfect. Actually, maybe I am! I am perfectly perfect
with who I am now. You are perfect. Let us be perfect together. I accept you. Thanks for reading my blog.

I am here to LOVE.

9 comments:

Unknown said...

I love, love, love you Abida! Yes, we are all perfect, and you are here to help us see that in ourselves. Thank you for writing your truth. Thank you for walking (running) your talk. I've watched your transformation and it is a beauty to behold; from sullen to joy is an enormous step. (Then, again, maybe it's just a turning of the heart to look into the eyes of a fellow traveler and see the spirit we all share.) YOGA!!!

CassiLou said...

Thank you for sharing Abbey. I have always thought you were a beautiful person and have such fun memories of you. Your truth is beautiful.

Life Go's On! said...

Abby I think you are a beautiful person, I love reading your blogs and I wish you many blessings and happiness. Im so sorry that life has been so hard for so long.

Sara said...

Love you abbey! So glad you can express who you are.

MJ said...

This was absolutely raw Abbey, and what is raw, is beautiful. May your beautiful light continue to shine on as it always has and always will! Love & Light to you....

Erica said...

what a beautiful post abbey!
i honestly miss your classes every day that i am at lifetime. no one - NO ONE teaches like you do. i miss it more than you will ever know. i connected with you and the way you poured your heart & soul into each class.
i am so glad you are happy and in such a good place. you deserve it!! a very beautiful, inspiring, wonderful post!
xoxo
erica

A-me said...

::tears:: that was absolutely divine. your words radiate such love. <3

CoLiE-O said...

Abbey, I haven't visited your blog in awhile...glad I stopped by. I can't begin to imagine the sense of peace you feel. I think we all could use a little bit of self discovery in life instead of just living each day without purpose. I've always admired your spunk and have great memories of you from high school. may you continue to be happy and find joy in your journey!! Hugs.

Michelle Jones said...

You add so much to this world . . . you truly inspire others! That was so courageous to blog your story to the world. I envy your deep connection to your own soul...I hope someday to get there.

Thank you, my "shy little neighbor girl".

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