Happy Un-Valentine’s Day

Okay, I’m finally (sort of) giving in to the Valentine’s Day madness, though of course in my own typically rebellious fashion.  And I’m not writing this because Friday is Valentine’s Day, but for whatever reason, when I sat down to write this week, this is what came up…

Recently I’ve embarked on a new journey with a beautiful tribe called the Totemic Arts Apprenticeship in which we learn about our personal animal totems, how they correspond with the chakras, archetypes, zodiac signs, and numerology, and what this means for our own healing process, our businesses, lives, and those of our clients.  I’ve been exploring my relationships with my known animal totems (wolf and snowy owl) and how the wisdom and medicine they bring to us can empower our lives and bring clarity to obstacles we love to put in our own way.  There’s lots of fun research and intellectual headiness that the nerd in me LOVES, but throughout the program there’s lots of opportunity for play, art, creativity, collaboration, and receiving support and love from the tribe.

It all sounds great, right?

And it is!

snowy owl flying

AND THEN alllllll your shit comes up.  Stuff you haven’t dealt with, looked at, sat with, or even acknowledged because it’s dark and scary and ugly.  And who wants to feel those ugly emotions and see what kind of shadows are lurking underneath that lovely, mostly put together exterior that we put up?  Not me.

wolf - red

But the thing is, your soul doesn’t give you anything you’re not ready for.  So when things started stirring, I knew it was time.  And I’ll just tell you now, the last couple weeks have been SO UNCOMFORTABLE.  Like I wanted to crawl out of my skin.  Old, small, invisible Katie would have bailed in a second.  But I’ve been preparing for this.  I’ve been feeling a major shift coming for the last year, and here it was.  And you know what it was that triggered me so badly? My inner Lover archetype.  The one I had been ignoring most of my adult life.  The one who is terrified of being unloved and unlovable.  The one who, at times, has lost her identity in order to please others.  The one who is afraid of being alone or in relationships devoid of intimacy.  Whose shadow consists of jealousy, attachment, and fear of being undesirable.  Even now as I write that I wince ever so slightly.  But there it is.  Truth laid bare.

red lady wings

So I sat.  I cried.  I fell apart completely, not knowing how the pieces would fit together again.  I was exhausted, emotionally and physically.  Totally burnt out.  Like too tired to speak.  I spent a whole day hibernating, listening to Tom Waits and Nick Cave (yeah, it got dark) and drawing, getting to know this Lover with her medicine of passion, sensuality, creativity, and desire, while acknowledging and forgiving the shadow side that has occasionally made herself known.

Now I’m beginning to come out the other side and I feel as if I reclaimed my power, self-love, sharp instincts, and a piece of my wild soul.  And the message I got from deeply listening to this part of my soul is this:

Love isn’t “nice.”  It isn’t all pink hearts and chocolate and roses.  It’s gutsy, uncomfortable, gritty, and isn’t afraid to reflect to us where we need to work on ourselves.  Love itself can feel like heartbreak.  Like struggle.  Like we’re stepping off the edge of a cliff and have no idea what’s going to catch us.

openness

And the same can be said of Self-Love…maybe even more so.  Because that’s where it begins.  How can we truly love another if we don’t have the foundation of love for ourselves?  How can we show up for someone else if we’re constantly abandoning our own heart?  We gain the confidence and ability to love ourselves when we have the courage to softly open our hearts when we’re scared shitless, speak our truth, honor our process, and let down our walls.  And that’s what Love for another is too.

Let’s not just honor each other one day a year.  Seriously.  Happy Un-Valentine’s Day (aka every other day of the year)!

Keep the channel open

lady pantherI’ve been having some deep conversations lately with sisters, fellow artists, therapists, and visionaries in all capacities about taking that next step.  From being on your spiritual path, doing trainings, certifications, seeing clients, teaching classes, showing up day to day, to then stepping into this new, unknown, and completely terrifying place that has been chosen by your soul.  You know that everything up until now has been leading to this moment in time.  All the transformation, all the dark, mucky, sludgy, messy, chaos and shitstorms that you’ve been weathering have led you here.  And now ALL you have to do is open, receive, and allow your soul’s work to come through you.  So you freeze.

Instead of working on a class or lecture you’re putting together, you binge watch some crappy show on Netflix.  Rather than make those teacup succulent gardens you’re brilliant at, you let yourself get lost in the endless household chores.  You take low-paying (or maybe even high-paying) jobs so that you’re too busy to write that AMAZING coaching program you’ve been wanting to launch *sheepishly raising my hand*.  Maybe it’s something more shameful to you like using alcohol, drugs, food, or sex to fill that creative void or distract yourself from what you know in your heart you have this burning desire to fulfill, write, paint, create.

So, I’m calling bullshit.  And I’m doing this mainly because this is EXACTLY where I’ve been hiding out.  I’ve been holding back for one very simple reason: fear.  I’m afraid that it won’t come out right, that no one will be pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.  That I’ll essentially be failing the Universe at the task that’s been set for me.  The path that my own soul chose.  What if I just suck at it?  What if I fail?  What if I put my whole heart into something, make my voice heard, show up as big and as powerfully as I can, and all I hear is crickets?

It took a major surrendering, totally letting go of what I thought my ego wanted to do (because it was easy) and realizing my authentic self, my wild soul, is here to do something.  A big something.  Yesterday, I got to receive a bodywork session from a woman I’m lucky enough to call a friend, sister, and teacher.  I got to go into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul to listen.  I had finally reached the place where I could say, “I have no f*cking clue what I’m supposed to do with any of this.  Why is all of this happening?  What piece am I missing?  Please help!”  I was ready to be open and hear whatever needed to come up.

At the end of the session, before I opened my eyes, before I had a conscious thought, I heard a voice say, “Something big is coming.”  And it felt light.  Powerful and light.  As if my guides were saying all I have to do is say yes to this, to stop standing in my own way, and it’s coming.  Actually, it’s already done.  I just have to write it.

In reflecting on this intensely beautiful session and on the subsequent conversation with my friend after, I remembered this quote from Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you and into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is: Nor how valuable it is; Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is ever pleased, there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine satisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

So I’m putting my voice out there in a HUGE way.  I’m bending some of the marketing rules, completely breaking other ones, but sometimes you gotta break the rules for the sake of creation, transformation, and showing up as a leader.  And if my message and my unique gift to teach is that of self-love and honoring the wildness of your soul, one that is desperately needed by so many women (and men) in our society, then I need to get over my hang-up’s about being “good enough” and let it flow through me.

{Shameless Self-Love} Do you know how AMAZING you are?

Have you seen my Shameless Self-Love video series yet?  It began as a way to work through some of my own visibility issues and evolved into my newest (and soon to be launched) one-on-one coaching program.  30 days + 30 videos dedicated to creating a deeper and more nourishing relationship with your body + soul.  Here’s one of my favorites from day 28 where we dive into Self-Acceptance as part of Self-Love!  Check it out, comment, and share if you so desire…

And now for some serious truth-telling

A lot of people ask how I began my recovery from my eating disorder(s).  What was it that finally broke through the walls I had built up.  What was the thing that finally helped me to WANT to feed myself.  How did I recover?  People want to hear that it was one particular moment, that the light bulb went off, that I finally realized there was more to life than weight and food, blah blah blah…

Here’s the truth, and it may surprise some, anger a few, and make total sense to others.

I didn’t.  There was no light bulb.  There wasn’t a decisive moment when I had had enough.  There were many of those moments, and they would last anywhere from a few days to a couple years.  And then there would be a trigger, an event, a stressful couple months, a major (or minor) shift, and I would be sent spiraling back.  Only each time was a little worse because everyone expected me to be “better”, “recovered”, “over it”.   The shame and guilt over my behaviors, the fact that I was slowly ripping my body apart, was worse than I could bear, and so to alleviate that pain, I’d sink deeper.

story we will never tell

I did a pretty okay job of covering up this intense shame and self-loathing by soaking up all the knowledge I could about health, yoga, meditation, spirituality in general, healing work, bodywork, emotional holding, Ayurveda, herbalism from multiple traditions, Chinese Medicine, how to heal trauma, nutritional theory, shamanism, tarot, anything I could get my hands on.  I learned how to eat really healthy.  I’m now one of the most educated 27 year olds I know, and all that is simply a compensation, a distraction from dealing with the fact that I still had no idea how to nourish my Self.  I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting with myself long enough to hear the answers that my soul had for me.

And then for the greatest cover-up of them all, I decided to coach OTHER women with eating disorders, because if I couldn’t fix myself, maybe I could fix them and then my own struggle would be justified.  And that’s when it all started to crack and crumble.  My soul was speaking to me through the eating disorder, telling me it was time for transformation, for letting go.  My body was beginning to feel the (quite frankly) terrifying effects of years of starving and purging.  Before I could do anything I needed to heal my body and my heart.  To give myself the space, let myself be seen in the most vulnerable way.  Everything about it felt raw, exposed, torn open.  It was time to learn the lesson of asking for what I want and need.

And I did.  And my community has risen up more than I could have ever imagined to offer support, space, guidance, words, and witness.  And no judgment whatsoever.

circle

So here I am now, bearing all my scars, all my shame, my pain, anger, grief, everything I’d been working SO hard to conceal for fear of your judgment.  Now that I have nothing left to hide, I can begin the real work to connect with a deep love for myself not because of my imperfections and battles, but because I Am.  Because all of us have the right to love and be loved simply by being born into this world.  We don’t need to earn love.  We ARE love.  And so begins the heroine’s journey…

heroine's journey

Dreaming out loud

Oh you guys!  I meant to write earlier this week, and then got so distracted.  This windy weather we’ve been having always leaves me feeling a bit ungrounded, not to mention that it’s 80 degrees in January, so my body is all kinds of confused.

At first I felt guilty for my day dreaming.  I tried finding ways to justify it, but I had work to do.  Blogs, marketing copy, programs, irresistible product descriptions, and meditations to write.  Reading to catch up on.  Silver to get polished (seriously).  Instead of doing any of that, I’ve spent the last week visioning, dreaming, and heart-storming.  I watched that guilty “I feel unproductive” feeling come up, wreak a little bit of havoc on my peace of mind, and then I made the best decision I’ve made in a long time.  I decided to let it go for just a couple days and see what happens when I let my intuition, my soul truly guide me.  To see what happens when I just let myself dream, even if it got to feel a little bit too big and too daunting.

And I’ve come to a profound soul truth.  It feels expansive!  Still big, still daunting, but powerful, spacious, and authentic.  And f*cking awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that I wanted to share it with you all!  Because I know dreaming can be scary, we see these amazing things that we want to do, and then think, “How in the hell am I going to make that happen?!”  It’s easy to proclaim “Follow your passions!”  Rumi even tells us, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.”  And you listen to your heart and everything sounds wonderful and bright and shiny.  And then it comes to taking the steps to ACT on that wisdom.  And we freeze.  And sometimes we stay frozen.  But I don’t want to feel stuck, and I definitely don’t want you to feel stuck.

So now you get to take a journey inside my head, through my visions, and a peek into my dreams…

When I was young, my mom had me watch Practical Magic with her.  She must have known that I loved witchy things.  From the moment I saw Sally’s shop, I needed to have my own.  (You all know what I’m talking about, so no judge-y snickering.)  From then on, in my heart of hearts, I wanted my own space for herbs, magic, healing, teaching, and communing.

And now it’s finally beginning to take shape…

I’m beginning to allow myself to really want it, to let that desire guide me, and take real, practical steps to making it happen.  I’ve even looked at potential spaces for it!  And the most fun part, I’ve begun to imagine it.  To feel, see, smell it…

Think vintage apothecary meets Hogwarts meets gypsy caravan with a touch of whimsy.  And a lot of hanging plant matter.  Are you starting to see it come together?  No?  Here are some pictures to help for those of us who need visuals.

An apothecary like this…

apothecary white

With a touch of this (yes, I absolutely need to skeleton too)…

apothecary kitchen

A bit of that…

gypsy

And a lot of this…

drying herbs

It’s being dreamt, manifested, and acted into existence as I move through my fears of rejection, of commitment, and of playing big and showing up for my own desires.  So here is your reminder to keep dreaming.  Big dreams, small dreams, scary, whimsical, childlike, black+white, and colorful dreams.   It can be pretty terrifying to share our dreams of what we really want because if someone shoots us down it hurts A LOT!  You need to trust in your vision so much that even if someone tells you that you can’t, you KNOW in your deepest, gnarliest knowing that you totally can.  Now that you’ve heard about/seen my dream, I’d LOVE to hear about yours!  Feel free to comment below and share with me what you envision, what you most deeply desire to do/create/have/feel in your life?

Shadow work + embodying the Feminine

shadow work

I don’t know about y’all, but 2013 kicked my ass.  As I mentioned here, it was a hear of lots of shedding.  A couple weeks ago I began looking back at this last year, thinking about where I was at this time a year ago, what I had wanted to accomplish, where I thought I’d be by now.  My first reaction was to be hard on myself, to judge, to step back into the “not enough” mindset.  I briefly got caught up in the pushing, forcing, and do-ing masculine energy of trying to make things happen, believing that I needed to make up that lost time before the end of 2013.  And then I realized this year has been an IMMENSELY deep dive into everything I thought I was, every role I’ve played, the joys, the traumas, all the layers of “shoulds” and “have-to’s”.  I had to clear all of that before I could begin walking the path I knew I was meant for.

ouroborus2

Here’s my crystalized lesson of 2013…

Every time I thought I had gotten to the essence of my soul, there was a whole new layer to work through, explore, and let go of.  A big theme for me this year was that of TRUST.  Mainly trusting myself.  Believing that I have all the knowledge I need to create the business, the life, and the relationships that I want for myself right now.  All I have to do is get out of my own way.  And the same goes for all of us.  So often we allow our shadow side, our own darkness, to keep us from being and doing what we really desire.  There’s some part of our ego that says we don’t deserve to have that life.  Or that we haven’t worked hard enough or done enough.

This year I not only met my shadow side, but I sat, played, danced and fought with, and finally loved my shadow.  She had always been lurking off to the side and I had done a pretty good job of ignoring her.  Now I invited her out front and center, looked her square in the eye, and said “Okay, whatever’s here, whatever lessons you have for me, I’m ready to face with compassion and an open heart.”  And here’s what I learned: Shadow work is INTENSE!  (Side note: it’s going to be a major part of my upcoming group program)  It requires crazy amounts of courage and strength that I didn’t know I had until now.  I got to finally learn what it meant to approach this inner work in a feminine, receptive, compassionate, and supportive strength.  And then I realized something huge…this is what I’m meant to teach other women.  So many of us have forgotten how to use our intuition, how to trust ourselves, how to ask for what we want, how to be gentle even as we’re moving mountains.  We don’t remember how to go inside, connect with our wildness and tap into that age-old wisdom that has been passed down through generations of mothers to their daughters in order to heal ourselves.  We don’t realize that each of us have every answer inside of our soul.  We have insanely wise inner guides, angels, whatever you want to call them.  It’s a process of relearning how to listen, how to trust, and align our actions with that inner wisdom.

I’m so grateful for the teachers and the time I had in 2013 who showed me, often against my own resistance, that the only way I could teach women how to honor themselves was by doing the deep work with my own wild soul, by acting from my intuition, and by embodying the sensual, earthy, and receptive feminine.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s always more work to do, more to learn, more to uncover and love about ourselves.  And I believe in cycles, in the ebb and flow, so now it’s time to put this into practice.  To build the container that will allow me to bring this wisdom to my community of wild and graceful women in the form of lots of free content, group programs, and intensive one-on-one coaching.  I can’t wait to better serve all of you now that I’m fully serving myself.  Happiest of new years to all of you…

Why I don’t have New Years Resolutions and what I do instead…

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Maybe I just don’t like doing what everyone else is doing. My inner rebel likes to do things differently. Maybe it’s because I know myself well enough to know that when I’ve had NY resolutions in the past, they last for about a week. Maybe my resistance to New Years resolutions is something I should look at. Whatever the reason, since I was young I just decided that I don’t do resolutions. To me, it can feel like we’re telling ourselves, “you’re not quite good enough the way you are, so these are the things we’re going to work on changing this year.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for growth and development. It’s just that resolutions typically sound like a list of things that we’d like to change about ourselves.

Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping, posted this beautiful quote today:

“Sometimes we forget how far we have traveled. Good to acknowledge what it took to get this far, all those hoops we had to jump through, all those difficult overcomings. Good to stroke our face with love and remind ourselves how much courage it took to brave the journey. Good to say ‘thank you’ to the spirit that walks within and beside us, reminding us that we are simply and utterly worth fighting for.”

This is what the new year is about to me. It’s about looking at this last year, and 2013 was a doozy for me, and telling myself “Damn! Look at all the amazing things I did and learned!! How lucky am I to have received this love, these lessons, and to have been in communion with such beautiful souls. How can I expand on this moving forward and how do I want to FEEL as I do?” Because it’s not about getting things done or losing that weight or reaching a goal. It’s about EVERYTHING that happens through the process. It’s about the way you feel in the moment and what that’s reflecting about your soul and your journey.

I’ve noticed we have some resistance, consciously or subconsciously, to feeling at ease, in our flow, and allowing things to happen without pushing. We like to MAKE things happen. We RESOLVE that things should be a certain way, so we’re going to do whatever we need to do to get that outcome. That we need to be busy, to be working, to always be doing better (whatever that means). This year has taught me that all that is SO overrated. When we’re in our flow, letting things take their course, moving and acting from the way we want to feel in our lives…THAT’S when the magic happens. That’s when our soul and our vision can move through us and things can be seemingly effortless. Don’t get me wrong, it takes effort to show up, to do our own work, to be present. But when we make that effort, the Universe/God/Goddess/etc. conspires and synchronizes to bring to us exactly what is needed.

So instead of resolutions this year, I’m taking time to reflect on what I want to FEEL more of this coming year. I’m inspired by one of my mentors, Danielle Laporte, to think about what my Core Desired Feelings this year/month/week/day are, and what can I do in order to feel those CDF’s.

This year I want to feel In Communion, Abundant, Playful, Flowing, Expressive, Sensual, Free. What are your Core Desired Feelings? How do you intend to grow, expand, allow, and show up in 2014?

Shedding off one more layer of skin

As a dear friend reminded me the other day, we’re coming to the end of the year of the snake.  It’s been a year of incredible shedding, peeling back the layers of old stories, relationships, labels, beliefs, and assumptions I’ve held onto.  The past few weeks I’ve been in a slow, painful yet beautiful process of crawling out of my skin.  An old skin.  Like snakes do when they’ve outgrown that layer and it’s time to move on.

shedding layers

For a long time I thought I was meant to work with women struggling with eating disorders.  I even wrote a one-on-one coaching program for healing emotional eating.  I thought it was my calling, my mission.  All along there were lots of signs from the Universe telling me that it wasn’t.  That it was just one step along the way.  I realize now that it was a way to heal MYSELF.

And it was the easy way to respond to the much afeared question: “So Katie, what do you do?”  It was simple and sounded good to just say, “I help women struggling with eating disorders to heal their relationship with food.”  People understood that.  I didn’t have to explain myself or justify my place in life.

Each time I’d say that out loud I’d wonder, “Whose voice is it saying those words?  It certainly isn’t mine.”  It was a cop-out.  An easy answer that in no way encompassed my place in life or my truth.  The problem was I didn’t trust that when I was in alignment with myself, sitting still enough to listen, the people I was meant to work with would find me.  So I resisted what my heart kept telling me.  I stood on my soapbox and told everyone to listen to their gut.  That if they asked their Soul what he/she wanted and needed that they’d get their answers.  That their body would tell them what they needed.  That it’d be scary to trust themselves at first and that’s okay because courage was feeling that fear and doing it anyway.

And as one of my mentors says, we’re great at giving the advice and teaching what we ourselves need to learn.  So rather than sit, listen, trust, be gentle, and know that my soul had a plan, I questioned, ignored, blamed and shamed myself into speaking words that weren’t mine.  Into claiming a place in this world that wasn’t for me because it was easier than owning the work that I love to do and claiming my space.  Luckily, my inner guides had other plans and things began to fall apart so that I could let them go and trust that something bigger was coming.  That the work I had done around emotional eating was really for me, to heal my own scars and wounds.

Now comes the hard part.  The scary, messy, and ultimately beautiful part.  When I have to commit to myself, to my tribe, to the souls who have been on this journey with me from the beginning.  Now I commit to doing what I tell everyone else to do: to speak my truth, even and especially when it’s a bit terrifying.

The truth is, I want to go deeper.  I don’t want to tell women who are struggling with how to love themselves and to own their power that they need to eat.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s unbelievable value in that.  There are amazing souls whose work IS to support people to nourish themselves with real food.

And I want to peel back the next layer.  To go to those deeper, darker places of your soul, to read and listen to the story of your spirit.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “Like the Rosetta stone, for those who know how to read it, the body is a living record of life given, life taken, life hoped for, life healed.  It is valued for its articulate ability to register immediate reaction, to feel profoundly, to sense ahead.” I’m fascinated by the connection between the Soul and the physical body.  By the way our body manifests health and dis-eases of our deeper Self.  The way that our body holds, negotiates, and releases trauma.  And how my education through experience and more formal training have prepared me to hold space for people to explore and go through their process.

I’ve known this to be true for a long time, and it’s taken me until now to own this truth:  I’m here to heal through renegotiating trauma, through the power of myth and stories, through plants and the medicine of the earth.  I’m here to teach women to listen, speak, and feel.  To hold space for ritual and soul retrieval.  To go with you to the deepest self in order that your own spirit can heal your emotional and physical body, the connection between the two.  And to help women find happiness by being in alignment with their soul’s truth and loving themselves enough to ask for that much out of this life.  I work with archetypes, movement, your desires, and dreams.  Through the medicine of heartbreak and recovery.  And through holding sacred space for the Soul to come back home.

P.S.  Extra credit to anyone who can tell me what the title of this post is from…

XO

Winter Wildcrafting

I’ve made a new commitment to my soul.  I’m going to spend one whole day EVERY WEEK outdoors.  Whether it’s hiking, at the beach, riding bikes, gardening, or a combination of many things, my heart is happiest when I spend A LOT of time outside.  When I can breathe in fresh air, bury my hands in the dirt, walk through sand and water with bare feet, feel the wind on my face.

view from ortega

This commitment was inspired by the words of an 11-year old homeschooled boy who I saw interviewed.  When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, answered, “I want to be happy.  What do I want to do?  I don’t know yet.  I need to try a few more things.”

As a dear friend of mine pointed out the other day, we’re taught in school how to make a living, not how to live.  And then we wonder why so many adults are on medication for depression, anxiety, and heart conditions.  This isn’t to say that some people don’t have a real medical condition that requires treatment, but how many health conditions are really illnesses of the soul?

 

Motherwort: Heart Medicine
Motherwort: Heart Medicine

 

I also noticed something interesting…

Some chronic back pain (at the back of my heart…big surprise) that has been bothering me for years COMPLETELY DISAPPEARS when I’m outside doing something I love, usually involving romping through forests or tall grass, talking to trees, listening to plants…the usual.

mushrooms on a dead tree

So this Sunday I informed one of my friends and fellow adventurers that we were going hiking and harvesting plants for new potions to be sold here.  Of course we “accidentally” got lost and ended up spending all day climbing up trees, wandering off the trail (which we were specifically told NOT to do), getting covered in mud, and gathering some beautiful plants.  I returned home smelling like sage and pine, covered in dirt, with twigs, thistles, and bits of grass stuck in my hair.  And blissfully exhausted.

inside a tree

Punk Rock Medicine

My life, my business, my greatest joys, and some of my deepest hurts have been shaped by my love for punk rock and music in general.  Don’t get me wrong, I can’t PLAY an instrument to save my life.  But the majority of my middle school, high school, and college years were spent either at shows or with my headphones in, music turned WAY up and being carried away by anyone from Johnny Cash, Bad Religion, Against Me!, and The Clash to local OC bands that no one’s ever heard of (and probably never will).   I wasn’t trying to escape.  It was actually the opposite.  I finally heard something that sounded familiar, that sounded like everything I thought and felt but didn’t have the words to express.  It was my medicine.

This was the first song that I fell HARD for.  I listened to it over and over and over…I grew up in Orange County, CA, the same place Social Distortion is from, and so I definitely felt some geographic solidarity.  But more than that, I loved the rawness of Mike Ness’s words…and voice…and guitar.  And while I realize not everyone appreciates good old fashioned punk rock, the sentiment conveyed by this song in particular rings true for all of us rebel sensitive souls.

It’s the “don’t tell me what to do” combined with the “sometimes it’s all a little (or a lot) too much” attitude.  To me the underlying message of the song is this…Everyone’s got some shit in their past they’d rather had never happened.  We carry the stories of our ancestors with us.  Our families pass on beliefs that we may reject.  AND we all have the ability to see it for what it is, say “thanks but I’m done with that”, and go on to do something great with the incredible souls and powerful (albeit sometimes painful) lessons we’ve learned.

For those of us trying to set ourselves apart, to do something different that the world desperately needs, this song is for you…