I was a pretty shitty human being in my 20's.
I was verbally abusive towards my sister and I hurt my parents so badly with the things I would say, I made them cry (and this is no exaggeration).
Hardly anyone could really talk to me without me blowing up in their faces for their innocent banter.
All along, I believed it was everyone else's fault but mine.
For the longest time, I was Sheila "They Don't Understand Me" Makena.
Anger became my best friend: my shield and protector from everyone else who crossed my path and had the audacity to even think thoughts that were contrary to mine.
Having said this, I don't mean to trivialize the things I was going through.
I grew up in a society that made it very clear that my being different was an absolute no-no.
I held so much shame and self loathing inside me that it had to come out in some way, shape or form.
What I didn't realize was that form had become a monster that I was unknowingly nurturing and grooming for 2 decades...
We actually have no idea that what we entertain, what we believe is for us is actually against us... what we believe is supposed to protect us will eventually kill us.
I had absolutely no idea I was playing a deadly game with my ego... and it was willing to do anything to protect me, even if it meant killing me.
My Planned Suicide
It was a hot Sunday afternoon back in October 2008.
Laying on my bed, frustrated and angry for the millionth time, I began to think about my life...
I told myself that nobody loved me.
I convinced myself that I had caused too much damage and created too much chaos for anyone to ever love me... not even my mother.
So I threw on some sandals, walked out of the house and out of the gate and began to walk.
I decided to walk as far as my legs would take me... I just wanted to tire myself out and no longer be held prisoner by the terrible thoughts of shame and guilt that were eating me alive.
As I walked, I continued to think about the failure I had become.
I kept telling myself, over and over, that I had nothing to show for the 28 years I existed on this planet.
4 km (almost 3 miles) later, I was exhausted.
I walked towards an old wooden bench in front of me, relieved that I could rest my weary legs for a while.
"Why not just end it all?" I thought to myself...
And it hit me... I could actually leave all this behind.
I quickly justified it in my mind, reminding myself how badly I had screwed up my life, and how I had ruined all my relationships.
"No one would miss me." I reasoned.
As I sat on the bench, oblivious to the passers-by or cars and trucks speeding past me, I pulled out my phone and started researching different ways I could end my existence.
(This is a pretty difficult thing to write about, and I do not mean to trigger anyone by going into the details of my dark experience.)
After sitting there for an hour, I devised a plan on how I would execute this plan.
All I can reveal is that I decided not to do it at home, and if I needed to buy anything, I would steal the money out of my mother's bag and disappear early the next day.
This might sound like a terrible thing to say, but I felt relief after coming up with this plan.
Just knowing that I didn't have to deal with my demons anymore was enough to lift a weight off my shoulders.
I felt two things I hadn't felt in a long time... fatigue and hunger. I decided to slowly walk back home, feeling a sense of calm and serenity.
It would all be over soon.
An Unexpected Message...
A few minutes into my walk back home, another thought jumped into my head.
"Why don't you talk to Auntie? She'll understand... she will help you."
It struck me like a bolt of lightning and I stopped dead in my tracks.
My auntie, my godmother, had been a source of solace for me, a woman who did not judge me for what I was going through.
Countless were the occasions that I would show up to her house unannounced and stay there for weekends or even weeks on end.
Hers was a face that was happy to see me, which was quite rare during those tough times.
I literally nodded in agreement and thought "Yes, I could talk to her! It doesn't have to end this way!"
By now, I was talking to myself, standing on the side of the road as tears started to flow down my face.
I began to think about my brother, who had died 8 years earlier. It had absolutely devastated my family.
They would not survive another death this close.
At that moment, I started to think about everyone that I loved...
On that day, I realized just how much love and care surrounded me, and I banished the thought that I was a useless human being who nobody cared about.
I walked back home now, exhausted, but feeling like a darkness was lifted from my soul.
I truly believe an angel whispered that thought right into my mind, the one about my auntie helping me.
That thought truly did save my life that day.
How Self-Awareness Changed Me
I will always bring this book up called "You Can Heal Your Life" by the late, great Louise Hay.
It taught me that to
- seek to understand than to be understood, (this is how I mended my relationship with my parents)
- be more compassionate with myself because I am doing the best I can under the level of consciousness I am in
- understand the power of how we talk to ourselves and the power of affirmations.
I watched a documentary of Louise Hays based on this same book, and in it was a mantra that changed everything for me.
This mantra was "I am willing to change."
The Benefits Of A Mantra
There were still so many blocks and old beliefs I had that made it very difficult for me to believe the affirmations in her book.
However, the mantra "I am willing to change" was much more believable for me than "I am changing". The resistance inside me was still too strong to internalize the latter statement.
However, because I was ready and willing to change, those words became a mantra for me.
I would repeat them all the time: when I'd run errands, before I fell asleep and when I woke up in the morning.
Whenever I felt those old feelings of anger come up, even when I would say something hurtful, I reminded myself that I was willing to change. It made me feel like there was a new version of me that was ready to come out, and I was ready to evolve into that new version.
And it worked, incredibly well!
When I have conversations with my mother about the person I was then compared to who I am now, she tells me she still doesn't believe how much of a 180 I made.
How Can You Transform Yourself?
It will not happen overnight, I can definitely tell you that!
But I can assure you that if you are genuinely tired of your behavior, when you look at yourself and are appalled by the way you react to people and situations in a way that you are not proud of, you will do something about it!
So take these 3-steps from now on:
1. Make The Decision To Change
2. Become More Self-Aware Everyday As You Work On Changing Yourself, and
3. Give yourself 1,000 chances, and when those chances run out, give yourself a thousand more.
This is a lifelong journey, and it is important to become your own cheerleader.
You will get there!