You’ve bought into a story you keep telling yourself.
If this story doesn’t work for you, you can rewrite it.
What is #RewriteYourStory?
You have a story you’ve bought into. A story that drives your behavior whether you realize it or not. You may not be entirely aware of what that story is, but have no way of knowing how to change it. Or maybe you’re unaware that story even exists.
This is the story that keeps you from going to the gym. This is the story that keeps you in an abusive relationship. This is the story that prevents you from keeping friends. This is the story that keeps you from finding a new job. This is the story that prevents you from starting your own business. Or, in starting your business, this is the story that keeps you from building and developing it.
What is your story?
That’s the kicker. If you don’t know, the journey is one of discovery. If you do know, the journey is one of revision. Both journeys take awareness, and a large amount of courage. But no matter where you find yourself, both journeys begin with this single thought:
“I can do it.”
#RewriteYourStory was born of the idea of inspiration. Whatever it is that you struggle with, know that you are not alone in your struggle. In the coming months, what you will find here are the narratives of others who found a way out of their struggle by whatever means they had available to rewrite their own story.
The goal, then, is to inspire you to change your own.
This week’s feature comes from Olga, who shares her journey through the underbelly of the New York City streets as a drug dealer, dealing with physical and emotional abuse, and coming face to face with the threat of death. It took years to get to the root and turn things around, but nothing worth doing is easy or is immediate. She eventually rewrote her story.
You can read about it below:
I haven’t always loved myself.
We moved around a lot when I was in grade school. I was always the new girl. I was shy and emotional and it was hard for me to make new friends. You know how cruel kids can be: I got teased and bullied a lot.
When I got to High School, I decided I wasn’t going to be a punching bag anymore. I started hanging out with an older, ”cooler” crowd, I started dressing like a freak, and I started drinking and using drugs. I liked it cuz I was finally starting to get attention. The years went by, the drugs got harder, but nothing was getting better. I dropped out of one of the best Art High Schools in NYC to pursue my career as a drug dealer and party goer. Even though i was in a prestige school and got really good grades, it bored me. I needed excitement in my life, plus all my older “cooler” friends were really into clubs and drugs. My parents were really strict, and they tried really hard to control me. But the more they tried, the more I rebelled. Now that i think about it, maybe it was to get back at them?
I was too young too work and my parents weren’t too keen on giving me any money since i kept acting up, so I started selling drugs to make money. This also meant I would always have pills or powder on me when wanted to party. I became the queen of the clubs for a while, back when clubs like Limelight, Tunnel, and Twilo still existed. People flocked to me as soon as I showed up. I loved the attention, I loved the lights, I loved the dancing and the dressing up.
Despite all the glitz, glamour, money and fame, I felt pretty empty inside. I fell in love with a bad boy and ended up joining his gang. Me and him were like Bonnie and Clyde, and I thought I was so in love with him. I was willing to do anything for him, despite the fact that he was abusive. I started selling fake drugs and robbing people. The adrenaline of getting over on people thrilled me. We committed many crimes, which lead to me getting arrested multiple times, but I always managed to get away with it. He ended up going to jail for a loaded gun, which was right before he broke my nose. Did i mention he was abusive? So, he went away but i remained in the gang.
At this point I was feeling really broken, without any empathy towards people. My morals were turned upside down. The people I was hanging out with were criminals and thugs, who physically and emotionally used and abused.
My tolerance started going up and I was using harder drugs more often, and getting physically and emotionally used and abused. It wasn’t until I almost died from an overdose that I thought, wow i think there might be something wrong here. I never really thought about it before. I was constantly high. But I was surrounded by people who were “worse off then me.” It was all fun and dandy when I was having fun, but grim reality set in. I almost died. All my “friends” turned their backs on me. My parents had a restraining order against me. I had two choices: get sober or die.
So I moved to Poland to get clean.
It was my parents’ idea, since I still had some family there and really needed to get away from the people I chilled with back in NYC.
It took 2 years locked away in rehab, then years of AA and NA meetings before my life started turning around. My perspective started shifting once I got sober and realised what my life had become. I was ready for the change. I wanted to live. I knew that deep down inside I was a good person who just got caught up doing some bad things.
As the mental fog cleared, the veil started lifting and I was able to take a look deep within. And gradually, I started to really love and accept myself. It only took me 36 years.
I started doing yoga about 4 years ago, just so I could “stretch” after the gym. I was really obsessed with being fit and aesthetics. But as I got on my mat to practice more and more often, something started to happen to me on the inside. Old traumas and hurts started coming out of me. With tears rolling, I came to approach my mat as my new therapy. As I opened up different areas of my body, I overcame demons from my past. It really was like magic. I stopped going to the gym and dedicated myself to 6 days a week Ashtanga practice, which drastically changed my life. A process I had started years ago began picking up momentum. I stopped eating meat. I once again gave up alcohol, after a short relapse. I quit smoking! I was becoming more self aware and empathetic towards others once again.
2 years ago i was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had to get surgery and radiation, but yoga helped get me through it. Sometimes illness can be our best teacher. It really motivated me to change my life even further and dive into exploring my consciousness even more. I got over my fears thanks to meditation. I spent a lot of time in meditation. I was being mindful. I was giving back—I started volunteering at a nearby animal shelter. Sometimes we need to fall really far, just so we can bounce back and see and appreciate the Light. I am grateful to be here and for all I’ve lived through. Today I am healthy and happier that ever before. I don’t know if yoga is actually magical, but it is to me. We are incredible beings and can make anything come true. We’re so much stronger that we believe!
No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.
Carl Gustav Jung