Love Yourself: The Importance of Speaking Your Truth

“Being yourself ” today can be a scary thing in a world of so many mixed messages, expectations, fear mongering, and marketing.  Just when it feels safe to speak up or “be yourself,” someone seems to shoot you down or makes you second guess that “you” you’ve been striving to embody.

Well, I’ve finally shed the final few things that have been holding me back from being my authentic self.  For me, the most important element of being “Kristin” is simple: it is speaking my truth.

I need to be in an environment where it is safe to surround myself with people who allow me to speak my truth and can benefit from my stories.

As I feel safer and safer to share my story and speak my truth on a daily basis, the easier life has become- and the more I have been able to be of service to others.

As some of you know, I have been sober on-and-off since April 8th, 2011.

I’ve never publicly written about this before in fear of being both isolated or grouped together with other “sober people.”  I don’t identify with any group, religion, or title- nor will I.  I’ve tried it, and it didn’t work.  You will never label Kristin or put her in a box.

Today, I am simply “Kristin, and I’ll take a coffee.”

My reasons today for not drinking are different than they were a few years, or even months, ago.  I used to say, “bad things happen when I drink,” or “my body can’t handle it.”  I used to make excuses, such as “I’m on medication” or “I’m on a diet,” but today, my answer is simple:

“I’m fine as I am.”

Over my seven years of sobriety, relapses, periods of thinking I was “normal,” and drinking for pure self-sabotage, I found one common theme:

I drank when I thought I couldn’t be myself.

Being “myself” used to be a scary thing.  I used to water myself down, drink away my thoughts, and numb out my emotions.  I used to fear my imagination.  My creativity used to scare me.  I was told “creatives are flaky” or “artists starve.”  Again, that’s society’s stereotype, their lack of understanding, and their inability to think, create, or live on their own.

I get by just fine doing things my way.  I tried to fit in their box, and it didn’t work- time and time again.  So, with a clear mind and a lot of lessons under my belt, I’ll try the alternatives and create on my own.

Don’t listen to the others if their way doesn’t work for you. 

Keep doing you.  Keep speaking your truth.  Your niche will find you.

Today, I wouldn’t want to water down any message; I want to be my authentic self to share my experience and strength with others.

I am happy to share that I finally love being myself- and I’ll do my best to help you love yourself, too.

If you think you have a problem a problem with drinking or need someone to talk to, please feel free to send me a message. You are never alone: kristinfehrman@gmail.com

Being Your Own Partner

The other week at work I told a friend of mine that this would be the summer I would meet a guy with a sailboat.  She looked at me and replied, “you need to find a guy with a dog.”  I looked at her, gave a puzzled look, and said, “I’m more of a cat person.  I’ll go with the sailboat.”

Truth be told, I don’t want the guy.  I want to go sailing.

Society makes us think we need the guy- but guess what? We don’t.

This morning I was messaging with a friend who lives in NYC who mentioned there’s a sailing school on the Charles River, which I had looked into when I learned about the community sailing program.  Sounds like a happy medium to me- the perks of sailing without the baggage of the guy.

Funny enough, over two years ago I went on a date with this friend; yes, he has a sailboat, and no, I am not interested in him.  However, two years ago I would have hung out with him purely for the boat.

This Kristin would rather hang out alone.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about partnership.  How many people do you know who are in unsatisfying relationships?  I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of these people.  Sure, some people are scared of being alone.  Some people are extroverts.  Some people want to settle down.  Some people like the security of having a “plus one.”  However, I see absolutely no reason anyone should feel obligated to settle down with another person.

To me, a man would only hold me back- unless he was extremely strong.

The one and only time I am certain I was in love ended after this person told me he didn’t want a partner- ever.  This shook me to the core.  He was one of the only people in my life I could just sit in a room with, fall asleep next to, and sing old Chicago songs with.  He was only time I ever got “the fuzzies;”  I didn’t even know what “the fuzzies” were until I met him the very last night in June of 2014.

Nevertheless, it ended, and it has taken me four years to finally realize he wasn’t perfect, either.  He would sit on his phone all morning, go to Brooklyn and hang out with his old Harvard friends without me, and was the most self-deprecating person I had ever met.  Still, I loved him.  A lot.

But since he left me, I learned to love myself.  In fact, now I love myself enough to not let another person bring me down.  If a guy were to tell me my sunglasses were too big, my lips were too red, or my hair was too short, I would laugh at him.  If a guy suggested I wear shorter skirts, tighter tops, or send suggestive photos, I would run.  Fast. 

Sexism, misogyny, and objectification have no home here.

The old Kristin didn’t stand up for herself, so she fell for everything.  Yes, that is cliche.  However, what I didn’t realize was that I was attracting the wrong people because I was insecure.   I know this is partially because I grew up without a male role model; and the things I did hear about women were negative, judgmental, and, well, mean.  

They say women get their loving side from their mothers, and confidence from their fathers.  Not all of us have those blessings.  In a society where women are mean to each other, men treat women like playthings, and the media forces mixed messages down our throats, what are those girls supposed to do who have no role models at all?

This is why I write.  This is why I let my vulnerability out after years of holding back.  Maybe, just maybe, I can help one other woman realize she is worth so much more than her label, her view of herself, or what the world says about her.

So, I’ll leave you with this: my friend at work also told me there is a “lid to every kettle.”  She is probably right.  Whether or not I do meet my match one day, I will be fine- because I have the best partner of all- myself.

Compassion Toward Your Inner Child

img_0615

Although I am still learning to adult with balance and grace, an important thought came to mind:  not only do I need to practice self-care on a regular basis, I need to care for my inner child, too.

We forget to nurture the small people we once were and can be unforgiving to ourselves for the past.  Why are we so hard on ourselves for situations beyond our control?  Why do we push our own nurturing aside?  Our childhood is our foundation, yet many of us have histories of traumatic events which can follow us throughout our entire lives- if we let them.

I grew up with a wonderful mother next door to my grandparents.  I lived for art and nature, drawing and creating, but I was scared of the people around me.  I didn’t know what being an empath was back then, but I did know that being around a lot of people was overwhelming.  I always felt different but I didn’t know why.  Since I didn’t have many role models or siblings to shape my social habits, I lived with constant anxiety until I began to align with other creative people who understood me.

Getting bullied was something I lived with for many years.  One of my memories (which may explain my lifelong distaste for people in groups) was being bullied by several girls back in elementary school.  I was quiet and shy; an easy target.  They would usually strike on the bus where I was trapped and couldn’t go anywhere, but sometimes they’d follow me around at recess, too.  Recess was already traumatizing for me since I was terrible at sports- you’d find me on the swings.

Flashbacks of the bullying would always come back subconsciously when meeting new people or making friends.  In the back of my mind, I questioned my worthiness or value.  In a small town, “different” is one of the worst things you can be, so I stayed quiet and avoided conflict.  After college I moved to a big city, far away, where I could be whoever I wanted- I could hide, or I could shine.  In San Francisco, nobody cared what I street I grew up on in Michigan or whether or not I was “popular.”  I didn’t know anyone from my hometown out west, which is exactly how I liked it.  I was new.

San Francisco is where I started my cycle of running.  For nine years, I perpetually ran away, moved, or changed things because I was scared of letting people get to know who I truly was.  I was scared of abandonment, criticism, or failure, so I would be the one to leave.  I was scared of my mistakes.

It may have taken me 30-some years, but now I finally know it is safe to stand still. 

I used to think I could run away and ignore my problems, but that only made life more difficult.

Once I moved to Boston I knew that I would always be the same person until I made a change inside my soul.  Geographic cures and avoidance no longer worked: I had to face those bullies and demons… but more importantly, I had to face myself.

I didn’t realize how tightly I was still holding on to that timid, insecure girl.  Nearly a year later, I have forgiven those who hurt me, from family to perfect strangers, but I have also forgiven myself, too.  I am also learning to show compassion toward my inner child- she did her best for living without a solid foundation for many years.

My sensitivity and intuitive nature used to feel like a burden, it now they feel like of my greatest gifts.  I am grateful for each and every experience, from the mistakes to the pain.  Every road has lead me to where I am now:  a place where I am comfortable sharing what I have been through, who I am, and knowing what I want.

Today, being vulnerable isn’t so scary.  It’s my power.