My real + vulnerable transformation journey

It’s the start of the new year and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, so I wrote you a letter that’s a little more personal and vulnerable than usual. So, snuggle up + hang with me for a little.

From the time I was a little a little girl, I always felt different. I didn’t know what it was, but I could just feel it. I was the black sheep of my family – born and raised in a really wonderful Southern, Catholic, Lebanese family. My dad worked a lot + my mom held the home together. We had family nights + I played sports + everything was “normal”, but I could always feel something was off. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I actually was feeling everything from everyone around me. As an empath and highly-sensitive kid, I was on sensory overload all the time. I could feel mom’s feelings and dad’s feelings and I made it my job to people please and placate and make sure everyone else was okay.

Kind of a big job for little Julie to take on.

I spent a lot of time alone – in my thoughts and in imaginary worlds. There was this pervasive feeling that something was wrong with me + all I ever wanted was to fit in with the other kids. Eventually the feelings got to be too much, so I slowly started to just turn them off. It was easier for me to feel nothing than to feel everything.

At my 8th grade graduation, I was surprisingly named Student of the Year. As I stood on the altar in the Catholic church receiving the award from the priest, I looked out at the audience + saw my parents pride. My dad’s eyes were filled with tears + my mom was cheering. The other kids were looking at me longingly.

It was in that moment – I was HOOKED. For some people, addiction happens with alcohol or food or drugs or sex. For me, my first addiction was ACHIEVEMENT.

I spent the next 4 years in high school, doing everything I could to recreate this feeling of being worthy through achieving. I was involved in every club, voluntary organization, and more. By senior year, I was the President of Student Council and was again named Student of the Year – for my entire city!

The striving continued.

I was accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, where I suddenly felt like a small fish in a very big pond. My first year of college was my first taste of depression. I didn’t know what was happening, but I felt an indescribable sense of hopelessness and despair. Shortly after my sophomore year began, my parents called me one night to let me know they were separating.

WTF?

My whole life had been built around family + now I was 1000s of miles from home and everything was falling apart.

But, I didn’t have the tools to deal with my feelings because I’d stopped feeling things long ago and replaced feeling things for doing things.

So I did what many college kids would do: I drank more + I worked harder.

I convinced myself that everything was fine + that I was fine. So I kept on moving, kept on striving, and kept on achieving. I was on a never-ending hamster wheel and was petrified to get off because if I did, I was afraid my feelings would kill me.

I graduated from college as the President of my sorority and my a cappella group (not kidding) and kept climbing the Achievement ladder.

I landed a high-paying corporate job on Wall Street and the striving continued. My parents got divorced and I isolated myself even more. I turned to food (usually pints of ice cream), wine (some nights an entire bottle), and more work (aka achieving).

Those were the HOLY TRINITY OF ADDICTION for me: food, wine, + work.

But my feelings were starting to catch up with me.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore. Just a year into my very depressed life in NYC, I quit + moved to Argentina to volunteer with kids in a poor neighborhood.

I thought that maybe if I had a more meaningful existence, then I’d be happy.

But 6 months into volunteering in Argentina, the depression came on stronger than ever. I would come home after a full day of volunteering with these amazing kids and would spend the rest of the night drinking a bottle of wine, eating block of cheese and crackers, and watching The Simpsons in Spanish.

When I returned to the United States, I was in a deep cycle of binging, drinking, trying to exercise to make up for it, dieting, all while deeply looking for my purpose in this world, and trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do with my life.

Somehow in the midst of this all, I fell in love. My then boyfriend, now husband, lived in San Francisco so I thought that maybe if I moved there, THEN I’d be happy.

It turns out the zip code didn’t fix all my problems. I still didn’t know who I was or what I wanted.

I tried working in a non-profit and ended up back at my Wall Street job this time on the West Coast – waking up at 3:30am and working 13 hour days.

I couldn’t stop. I knew it wasn’t where I was supposed to be but I didn’t know what else to do.

I was stuck.

Finally, on my 29th birthday, I found myself face down over a toilet after a brunch filled with mimosas. I looked at myself in the mirror + heard my higher self lovingly and fiercely say “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER JULIE.” That was the moment everything changed. It was the crack – the turning point.

I heard myself for the first time in over a decade.

The next few years were a roller coaster.

In the few months that followed that “aha” moment in the bathroom, my body fell apart. My body had been speaking to me in whispers for years, but I’d ignored her so she finally started yelling.
I had to look my food addiction square in the face.

I had to get myself to therapy and deal with the unresolved feelings I’d been hiding since I was a kid.

I quit my job, faced all my fears about security and stability, and had to let it all fall apart before it could come back together.

I went to India + studied yoga.

I took countless classes and workshops, courses and have studied with some of the best healers and practitioners in the world.

I had to find ME.

It turns out that NOTHING OUTSIDE OF ME was going to “fix” me. It was never about the job, or getting married, or a body that looked a certain way, or having a business I loved.

It wasn’t about any of that.

That’s not what I was really looking for.

I was looking for MYSELF.

And “I” couldn’t be found in anything other than me.

So I had to meet myself again.

I had to rediscover who I was + I had to heal all the crap that I built as an armor to protect myself.

Brick by brick, I took down the walls.

Day by day, I found myself.

And breathe by breathe I am STILL discovering more and more of who I truly am.

That’s why I do the work I work – because it keeps me REAL + authentic = and if we’re not being real, what’s the point of being alive?

The illuminated Life is meant to take you off the hamster wheel and help you reconnect to who you truly are before the world told you that you needed to be someone else. This 4-week course is a powerful healing journey that will help you rediscover your confidence, your strength and your passion for life.

Nothing outside of you will ever fill you up in the way your heart is longing to be filled.

 
You already have everything you need inside of you. All you have to do is say “yes” to finding it.

Life is such a beautiful, bittersweet opportunity for each of us to heal, to overcome, and to rise up. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being real.

If you’re ready to authentically shine your light, I’d be honored to welcome you into our loving community.

Click here to enroll in The Illuminated Life.

 
XO,
Julie

P.s. Enroll by 11:59pm PT on January 10th and you’ll receive a free deck of Shine Affirmation Cards in the mail from me as a welcome gift. Enroll Now.

Like this? Sign up for updates from my heart to yours!

Speak Your Mind

*

SIMILAR POSTS

This exercise changed my life. Here you go.

One of the things that I love so much about the work I do is that I have the opporunity to continue to grow and shed layers of myself all the time.  I didn’t realize when I created the tagline of my business “The Radical Discovery of Your Truth” that I would stretch into living that tagline all the time.  Layer after layer, my onion gets peeled.  Just when Iread more

Video: My dance-off with a 9 year old

Last week was a very special day in India: “Holi” Holi is a huge festival and one of the oldest in India celebrated across the country. The whole idea is to burn away the old and to let go of what you no longer need in your life. You dance out the old!  Then you smear each other in these amazingly bright colors to seep into your body and enliven you.  That might sound aread more