I tried to Kill Myself Twice…

I tried to Kill Myself Twice…

I was suicidal once. Don’t believe me?
In 2008 I ended up in the hospital after an overdose. Twice.

What would you say if I told you that same year I was raped, diagnosed with a mental illness, and in a psych-ward? Would you be shocked to find that out too?

I also left a drug addicted husband, an unhealthy unhappy career, and some seriously abusive relationships.

If you knew me back then you would have probably said, “That girl won’t amount to anything.”

Because that’s what I used to say about myself.

Back then, that was my narrative: The crazy messed up, never good enough, always miserable never confident girl.

And I thought that was how it would always be.

Boy was I wrong.

Today that girl is gone, and a new woman stands in her place. A woman who is confident, happy, full of love, successful, healed, and recovered. A woman who created the life that once felt so impossible.

The old me might be gone, but I see her in each and every one of my clients.

She is in the woman who feels unhappy in her relationship and needs help healing.

The girl who wants to find happiness and purpose in her life but feels lost and in need of guidance.

The person who just wants to transform their life – live better, be better, serve the world better.

If you are that person out there feeling like your dreams are impossible, I want you to see that no matter where you are right now, you can rewrite your narrative.

Wherever you are right now is not where you have to be.

You can become a totally new you. You can transform your life. You can get out of whatever struggle you face.

You can do it all.

Nothing is impossible.

 

My Eating Disorder and the Valuable Lesson it Taught Me

My Eating Disorder and the Valuable Lesson it Taught Me

I never had a healthy relationship with food. Growing up in a big Italian family, food was always a center of any occasion. It was something we gathered around, something we joined together over. Something we used to celebrate and to show love. But as joyful as it sounds, growing up with a family that was very close, there was something eating away at my soul and separating me from truly celebrating those moments: My Eating Disorder.

lessons-from-a-girl-with-an-eating-disorder

I never really knew I had an eating disorder. I couldn’t tell you how it started, or why it started, but I can tell you the moment I recognized my body as something that was bad and needed to change. I was Seven. Yep… Seven. My friend and I were talking about our new favorite dance classes. I told her I loved my Jazz class, and that Ballet was boring. Offended by my statement, my little seven year old friend told me “Well, you wouldn’t be good at ballet anyway.”

“You have to be able to suck in your stomach,” she said.

I challenged her … showing her I could force in all my breath– sucking in all the air I could muster…. “See! I Can!” I said with a smile. Then she told me what she was trying to say all along. “No. Not like that. I mean… you have to be skinny.”

My Eating Disorder And How it Evolved

Through the years that moment, my body perception haunted me. As I got older, I wasn’t really getting attention from boys like my friends were. I blamed this on my body. And I started to believe that maybe my friend all those years ago was right. After all, I did have a belly… and my mom did tell me to suck in my stomach when she took pictures of me and my sisters. “Maybe my weight is what is holding me back,” I thought.

I wasn’t incredibly heavy, but I wasn’t skinny like most of my friends either. It was kind of like I was in this middle ground… I was on the edge of fitting in somewhere — I just didn’t know where. And like most teenagers who suffer from an eating disorder, I believed that if I gained control of my weight, I would be able to find my place in life. I would get guys to like me. I would feel more confident. I would finally have everything a teenager girl wants: LOVE.

eating disorder what is perfection

So in an effort to want to find love, I started punishing myself. I cut my calories, kept journals to log every crumb of food that touched my mouth…. and every pound I lost or gained. But the extremes of my lifestyle – eating nothing and starving my body only made my weight bounce up and down from one extreme to another…  all the way into college. Gaining and binge eating, Losing and starving, it was like I was on this rollercoaster of extremes with no middle ground.

When I started to date this guy my first year of college, I felt like I was finally in a place where feeling good about myself was possible. I started to believe that maybe my weight didn’t really matter much. But then, our relationship turned ugly… he didn’t treat me right and totally destroyed my self-esteem.. Things got really unhealthy and abusive really fast. And as a result, life got pretty dark for me after that. I got really depressed because of the way I was being treated and my self-esteem totally fell through into the deep end. I felt out of control of my life being in an abusive relationship. So I decided it was time to switch schools and head back home. And as quickly as my eating disorder had left my mind, it entered back again full force.

I felt the lowest self-worth I ever felt… and thinking that there was something wrong with me that I needed to change, the only way I could feel like I had control over my life was by forcing my body to change… in any way possible.

I starved myself. I purged. I did everything in my control to keep food from entering my life. But my eating disorder was controlling me.  I started loosing my hair. I could feel my spine poking through my shirts. And I was cold… all the time.  I dropped to under 109 pounds, losing more than 70 pounds in four months. Sure my mom wasn’t telling me to suck in my stomach anymore…. but now she was telling me I looked like a skeleton. A ghost of my former self. And even then, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I was never going to be as thin or as beautiful as I needed to find the love I was looking for… because the truth is, I was looking in all the wrong places.

Me Eating Disorder What is Perfection

The Road to Recovering from My Eating Disorder

The road to recovery was long. I gained the weight back and learned how to lose it all over again — this time, the healthy way.

The most important lesson I learned was that my body wasn’t the thing I needed to fix in order to feel good: It was my mind that needed the true repairing.

I started educating myself on emotional eating and discovered principles I now teach in my online courses— Learning to let go of my insecurities about being accomplished or “being good enough,” and learning to actually just go after what I wanted for myself… without the fear that I wasn’t worth it. I started going after my goals in a healthier way.  And I uncovered the emotional compass that led me to set goals that were achievable, goals that were confidence boosting, not destructively unhealthy.

And mainly… most importantly….I started treating my body like something that was a reflection of who I wanted to be — not something that was holding me back from being beautiful.

Slowly, I learned to let go of my eating disorder, and let in love.

 

eating disorder what is perfection

I’ve realized something looking back on those moments where my eating disorder was strongest…

I was fighting to change my body because I believed that the world around me would change if it did.  I thought maybe if I was skinnier I would feel better about who I was by fitting in and getting the attention and love I was seeking. I thought what would follow would be a sense of true beauty that would keep me from ever being harmed or hurt by others.

But why did I think other people were holding the key to my ability to feel good about myself?  Why did I believe changing my body would change the feelings I had toward myself — and my worth? Why couldn’t I just make effort to feel better about who I was in general?

My eating disorder taught me that finding love is about figuring out how to love yourself first. Feeling confident doesn’t come from other people. Feeling beautiful never follows any physical transformation unless you yourself embark on the emotional journey required to get there.

To all the girls out there struggling to find the body they are looking for — the body they think will bring them amazing love, or a larger amount of happiness than they already have…. the key to changing everything, starts within you…. 

My “Big Leap” Story.

My “Big Leap” Story.

I have been thinking a lot, long and hard about my life. The choices I have made in the past that led me to where I am now. So many people feel like they want to take that big life leap but they are scared

What started it all:

Hitting rockbottom. In my career. See before I was a life coach and business owner, I was working for the big man in the city, running the daily grind at CBS News. And for a while, I loved it.  I was eating living and breathing my job. I loved it. I thrived there. I wanted nothing more than to be the best producer I could possibly be for a company I totally adored. So much news obsession. I loved it.

Then one day I got a offered the “big break” promotion I was waiting for.

I finally felt like my hard work was paying off. My years of 12 plus hour days were finally fruitful. My life was changing. I finally felt like I had “made it.” Except.. I didn’t.

I had a serious life change and a really bad bully.

The hours were overnight. My life totally changed. My position was very challenging and extremely overwhelming. My boss was a bully who was constantly talking down to me and throwing me under the bus for things. I felt like I was watching my life fall apart. The reputation I spent so long trying to build to be successful was crumbling. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my five years there.

Working for her made the last year of my professional career at CBS a living hell. I came home crying more times than I could count. It wasn’t just a job to me, it was my life, and so when things started to fall in my career, I started to crumble too.  I started drinking constantly to cope with the stress and anxiety related to work. My boyfriend came home on several occasions to find me passed out on the floor. It was a shameful, shameful time in my life. I felt totally out of control of my happiness. The long over night hours of midnight to nine am were draining me of my energy, and on top of that, the bullying was so constant that I just wanted to run away and hide.

I tried talking to human resources but in that industry, it is hard to voice your mistreatment. Despite everything I went through, H.R. told me I had two choices: I could report the incident and get an X on my back for the rest of my career, or I could fight it and push through it knowing that one day she wouldn’t be my boss anymore.

I had a third option: Preparing my exit.

So I started looking for an exit .

I applied for jobs left and right – searching for any opportunity to get out of there and move on to something bigger and better. When nothing pulled through, I started looking for anything at all to pay the bills. But nothing felt right to me.  So I made a decision.

I decided that from that moment on, I was never going to let someone else dictate my happiness. If I was miserable in my career, which was my whole life at the time, then I needed to take action and do something about it. I needed to change my life. Even if I wasn’t being handed a new job on a silver platter. I needed to take action myself.

If no one is going to give me an opportunity, I am going to make one for myself.

So I left. I left the company and decided that even though I didn’t have anything lined up, everything would be okay.

I knew that if I did that, there would be tough consequences: Financial consequences. Living situation consequences. Some big adult decisions would have to be made. And I made them together with my boyfriend. I quit my job, left my career and moved our apartment into a storage unit while Matt and I moved out to Connecticut with his family. It was a really tough choice full of a lot of compromises and sacrifices. But the one thing that mattered that I wouldn’t compromise in the process was my happiness.

On my last day at CBS, I saw her in the hallway. I turned to the woman who was responsible for causing me so much unhappiness and I told her “I wish you nothing but the best.” And truthfully, I did. And I still do. She taught me a valuable lesson that I am so grateful for: Never settle for less than you deserve when It comes to your happiness and self worth.

_MG_8255WhatisPerfection

Moving on Out…

After that, I decided it was time to go into recovery mode. I caught up on sleep, organized my life, and took some time reflecting on my happiness and my passions – what was this all for?  Everything happens for a reason, so why did this happen exactly? Why did I work so hard to build a career just to walk away from it all? There had to be some deeper purpose for my life. And then I founded What is Perfection. And it all made sense. Not everything is going to magically fall into place the second you shake things up. Change takes time. And I am in it for the long haul. My business is the beautiful baby child I created in a moment of darkness, that now shows other people how to pull out of their rock bottoms. And it’s fucking beautiful. I love it.

Don’t Ever Settle..

I guess the moral of the story  here is to never settle for being unhappy, but also to remember and recognize that life isn’t always what you expect it to be. If I continued on my life journey with the goal of being a successful news producer at CBS with 25 plus years under my belt, I would have been compromising my happiness in so many ways. By changing my purpose, and realizing that my main goal was happiness, so many new doors opened, but the CBS door had to close too. And that’s okay. Having the expectations that life is supposed to be perfect is simply not a way to live. Sometimes things work out differently than we originally had planned, but when we decide to be open to new possibilities, it makes life even more amazing.

So be clear in your mission to find happiness, but always be flexible in your approach. Don’t be afraid to close doors and open new ones. There is a world of possibility out there for you.

 

 

Episode 4: The Psych Ward and My Imperfect Mind.

Episode 4: The Psych Ward and My Imperfect Mind.

I am really excited about Episode 4 of the Imperfection In Me Podcast. But I got to be honest, I am also a little nervous. This is the episode where I share one of my most intense self reflections…. a moment from 2009 when I admired myself into a psychiatric ward. EEK! Yes. No wonder I’m nervous right?

 

Real and raw, just like I promised.

Yes. That was the girl I used to be. And even in this podcast, talking about the life I used to have feels really foreign to me. It almost feels like I am talking about a total stranger.

Why? Because I am so far away from that life now. I feel like a different person. I feel like so much has changed about me.

But I felt like this was something  I really wanted to open up about. There are so many people out there who are afraid to talk about their own mental illnesses- whether they be mood disorders, depression anxiety, or whatever. So many people are afraid to talk about the emotional struggles they face. And I refuse to be one of those people.

It’s time we raise awareness – get clear about the struggle is really like – and not shy away from sharing our stories.

come check it out!

xoxox

 

 

Listen on Google Play Music

 

A letter to the girl I once was…. [The Lost Letters Challenge]

A letter to the girl I once was…. [The Lost Letters Challenge]

If you are a member of the WIP Girl community following January’s free self love calendar guide, you know that today is this month’s “lost letter challenge.” And yes, you are probably wondering what the heck that is. So if you are a WIP girl and are reading this to learn more – awesome.. and if you aren’t yet a WIP Girl – 1: Join because it’s free. And 2: Do the lost letters challenge. It’s super healing.

The Idea behind the Lost Letters Challenge

Every so often, when I think back to the girl I once was (the girl I often think about when I write on the What is Perfection Blog) I get overcome with a sense of sadness. I remember the things I used to struggle with, the obstacles I faced, and the challenges that really kept me from feeling fulfilled for a very long time in my life.

I think about my  past unhealthy abusive relationships…

The sexual assault that happened when I was 13 and the raped that happened my first year of college…

I think about the friends I have lost, the fights, the loneliness I experienced.

That feeling like “no one understands me.”

The battles I faced with depression and anxiety.. My suicide attempt.

It’s all a lot of heavy shit… and it feels heavy looking at that list of challenges one right after the other, doesn’t it?

I am not that girl anymore.

Which is probably why I feel so completely comfortable opening up and talking about all of those things to you girls… Because I am fully healed, happy, and full of self love. Things I thought were truly impossible back then then when I was struggling. Now I use my past to help other people get off the path of unhappiness. And I take pride in everything I have overcome to be able to do that today.

But still…

There are times when I think about the old me, and I just want to go back and hug her… comfort her… tell her things that she needs to know about how wonderful and bright the future is.

I wish the me I am now could be there for the Me I used to be.  

And I am sure, for the girls out there struggling with difficult life experiences, they wonder what the future holds for them – and sure, a lot of them feel like what they want is impossible (much like I did back then.)

It would be nice to just press a button and see the future – because if the future was great, it would inspire us to feel hopeful and determined… not stuck and lost in our lives.

The truth is you can have anything you want for yourself. 

And when it feels impossible, sometimes you need to instill that sense of certainty… and fight the “it will never get better” feelings.

That’s where the Lost Letters exercise comes in. 

Writing the Lost Letter

Early on at the very beginning of my self love healing process, when I was putting my life back together (those messy beginning months) I was still caring that sense of uncertainty. I felt like I wasn’t sure I could put my life back together. It felt like I was a little hamster on a wheel trying so desperately to find a way out. But at the same time, I wasn’t truly confident things would get better.

It wasn’t easy to “fake it till I made it,” all the time.

Somewhere along the way I had an idea.

“If I could just imagine the version of myself I want to be… the things I have, the amazing life I live, the love I experience every day in my life.. If I can get really clear about that… maybe I will be able to feel hopeful enough to keep pushing through this,” I thought.

So I got out a pen and paper and wrote a letter.

I pretended that the person writing it was the future me. She had her beautiful sense of confidence. Her life was happy. Her dreams came true. She felt constantly fulfilled and full of love.

I became a comfort and strength for my own self. It was incredibly healing.

There I was, the future me – with my life totally together, happy, and with everything I ever wanted.

It completely changed my outlook and restored that feeling of hope I was desperately in need of at the time.

I found it incredibly healing. To this day, lost letters is one of the strategies I offer to clients who are  learning how to overcome fear, and I decided it was time I share the reflection process with everyone out there who follows this blog.

The Challenge: Write a letter from the future you, to the you that you are now.

-What would you want the present you to know about the amazing future ahead?

-Use your imagination and pretend you are a wise incredibly beautiful version of you… what would you want to say to the you now?

-inspire her, motivate her, comfort her, encourage her. Tell her everything she needs to hear in order to make her way through whatever it is she is facing.

And today, here’s a little glimpse of my old letter.. circa 2012. 

“Dear Lauren: 

I hope you get this at the time in your life when you need it the most. There may be times where you find yourself longing for a reminder of these words.. so keep this letter close. 

You may feel alone right now, but there is a reason for that: this is the part of the journey of life where you become the person you have always wanted to be. This is the moment where you will learn and discover things about yourself that you never knew were possible. It is the time when you find strength, determination, and the meaning of true happiness in your life. And as hard as being alone might feel right know, just know – that this is the part of your life where you need to be alone so you can transform into that amazing wonderful you that has been missing your love and attention all these years. 

You have been neglecting yourself. You are at this cross roads because you have spent so much time trying to fill a void in your life with all things exterior – relationships, money, physical appearance – the superficial. You have never learned to love yourself. And that is where you are now.. about to embark on that journey. 

It may seem hard to be alone… it may seem scary. But it is not without reason. The reason is because for the first time in your life you are going to have this incredible opportunity to learn how to love yourself RIGHT NOW. It will be the most amazing experience. Don’t be afraid to stand tall by yourself.. invest in who you are and what makes you happy.. start definition your worth so others will see how great you are. Soon you will inspire them to do the same. 

The future you is not sad. The future you feels beautiful, confident, connected. She is not lost.. she is not scared.. she is not alone. That will happen. 

You have lost these unhealthy relationships in your life because they aren’t serving you.. soon you will find amazing new ones that are full of love and respect  — because you will learn how to respect yourself and raise your standards. 

You feel lost and without purpose because soon you are going to take big scary leaps of faith that will bring you closer to discovering the amazing you that was inside you all along. 

You will let go of all those “never enough feelings” soon.. I promise.. you only feel them because you have never learned to feel anything else. This is the part where you learn different. 

Don’t ever give up. Remember… everything you want is straight ahead.. Just keep pushing.. keep fighting.. and keep believing that you deserve it.”

xoxox