I looked for it in everything—in my mother’s advice, in the arms of a lover, in the compliments of my friends.
It was so easy to find at first, and I lapped it up. A satisfied kitten.
As the years passed—as the universe sent me more lessons, as my soul yearned to grow—it became a full-fledged addiction. What began with ever-so-slightly bending my will in order to appease became a complete surrender. Eyes wide shut. Girl, interrupted.
It filtered into every aspect of my life. I wouldn’t make a decision without it. I wouldn’t take a risk without it.
I wouldn’t trust without it.
I wouldn’t love without it.
I wouldn’t hope without it.
It kept me stagnant and quivering. And the more I needed it, the more elusive it became. Trapped in a box of my need, I decorated the walls with the dark colors of my own self-loathing.
This continued until a moment demanded my full attention and I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I started to panic; I started to berate myself, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Sunken eyes, dark black rings, blotchy skin and a skeletal frame stared back at me. In that moment, I was hideous. I was truly grotesque; I repulsed myself.
I can’t write about drug addiction, because I have had none—but I was addicted to this. All I could think of was the Mad Hatter’s words to dear Alice,
“You’re not the same as you were before. You were much more…..’muchier.’ You’ve lost your muchness.”
My drug of choice: validation.
I was suffocating my light with it. I was silencing my intuition with it. I was denying my soul its freedom. I was giving my divine power away. As with any addiction, the effects started to wane and my need for it intensified until I was confronted with a face and a body I no longer recognized.
I had taken a backseat in my own life and let others run amuck. And to make it worse, I adopted the crippling victim mentality. I wasn’t the product of circumstance; I was actively choosing not to participate.
I wish I could say that I had the gumption to own myself in that moment, but I didn’t. My voice was soft and squeaky as I reassured myself that I was a being of divine light and that, most importantly, I could trust myself. That voice came from the most important place: within me. And although it was soft, it was deafeningly powerful.
I started slowly and cautiously. I didn’t immediately pick up my phone when something happened.
I made colossal mistakes. I made miniature mistakes. I made mistakes. And each and every one of them was a gift. Each and every one of them was created, moulded and shaped by me.
And when the successful situations came about, they tasted even sweeter. Slowly, my reliance on validation began to fade, my voice grew louder and my decisions became easier. I allowed myself to participate. In it all. Reveling in the good and dusting off the dirt from the bad.
I had found my muchness. It was inside me, all this time.
Author: Amanda Van Graan
Editor: Toby Israel