Guest Post By: Amanda Silvas
“I love drunk Amanda,” is what my college friends used to tell me. “Drunk Amanda” even used to have a name, aka “Claudia,” my alter ego.
Almost every weekend in college she’d make an appearance and if she was out, then in my mind I had a pass on owning up to anything that happened while Claudia was on a tear.
Growing up I was the oldest of my siblings and pretty much figured things out on my own. It’s a trait now that I’m proud of because I believe everything is “figureoutable”. However, at the time figuring out how to deal with my feelings proved to be pretty hard, which is why I would get drunk sometimes.
I suppressed. I numbed out. I avoided. I pretended.
And I must say, I was pretty damn good at it.
I grew up in a middle class family in Las Vegas. My parents have been married 30 years and I have always been very family oriented.
I’m extremely close with my younger sisters and have good relationships with my parents. If there were problems in our home, my sisters and I never felt it.
On the outside, things seemed picture perfect and you might be thinking what could have possibly gone wrong?
It was summer before starting high school and I had come home from a friend’s house to find a new book sitting in my room.
Needless to say, my parents thought they would teach me about sex by leaving a book on my bed entitled “All About Sex for Teenagers” instead of having a hard conversation with me.
There were cartoon sketches of boys and girls on the cover and the chapters about the male reproductive system were stapled shut. Obviously, I unstapled them, as any curious teenager would do.
My parents didn’t mention a word about it nor did I ask any questions regarding why this book was in my room. That was 2003 and we still haven’t spoken of the mysterious, but not so mysterious “talk,” to this day.
Needless to say the book worked for a couple of years until I ended up losing my virginity, in pure curiosity in the summer of 2005 at the age of 15. I cried and told no one for years as I carried around guilt with me.
At the age of 19, I found myself sitting on the floor of a bathroom in which I had never been in before, my underwear covered in blood. I had been sexually taken advantaged of and again I cried, pushed it as far down inside of me as I could and told no one about it for years.
At this point, I had gotten good at suppressing and pretending things didn’t exist, which put me on this constant never-ending loop of numbing my feelings.
The loop went like this: Something bad happens, suppress it & cover it up. Drink & party, push it down further, pretend it didn’t happen, repeat.
Over time, much later in life, I realized the broken record I had been playing and in true divine fashion, was finally forced to take the record off the player. These are the 6 steps I took to find healing for myself.
Identifying The Loop
I got really good at telling myself “stories”; extremely believable “stories” about who I am and the problems I “didn’t” have.
Every year it was like I wanted to re-invent myself and forget that person of the past, but like clockwork, midway through the year, that old Amanda would show up time and time again.
So I got used to telling myself the story that it’s only a matter of time until I slip up, mess up, or do something wrong almost as if I was cursing myself.
Recognizing The Story
And that became my life in many different ways.
On the outside, I was picture perfect.
Always put together, always doing philanthropic work.
Always showing up to class.
Always mentoring younger women.
Senior year of college, I was President of my sorority and oversaw a chapter of 150 women who looked up to me. I needed to be the leader they needed me to be.
They knew me as: stable, supportive, strong, confident, knowledgeable, and charismatic.
Anytime I felt like I wasn’t being those things, I’d go back on my numbing loop.
The ironic thing about this pattern was I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
Then came summer of 2016, I had a major slip up. “Claudia” came back out to play again as she became overly flirty and touchy with an ex. The problem with it was, I was 2 months away from marrying the man of my dreams, when “Drunk Amanda” got the best of me and almost cost me my relationship.
This time I couldn’t suppress my feelings and pretend my mistakes didn’t exist. I was forced to sit with it and really acknowledge my actions. I had to face myself head on this time and it was a deep pain I will never forget.
This one moment caused me to look at not only the mistake I had just made, but also every mistake and every situation I had been suppressing for my whole entire life.
All of a sudden I was feeling all the pain I had always avoided. As you can imagine, it hurt more than anything I had ever felt.
The next 3 nights I slept alone in our spare room. I cried myself to sleep each night. I didn’t talk to anyone including my fiancé. I sat with my misery and finally allowed myself to feel everything.
I knew I had to face and let go of my past if I wanted to have an incredible future.
Detoxing The Past
After 3 days, my depression started to subside. There were no tears left in me, just puffy eyes and I could finally start to think of things logically instead of emotionally.
I started to identify my triggers for “Claudia”.
I identified how I suppressed and what numbing agents I always turned to.
I looked at my environment and the people in it.
I got extremely honest with my stories and myself.
I didn’t just keep all of this in my head. I shared all this with my future husband. I made it real and spoke all the shame and pain I was feeling out loud to the person I trusted the most.
Making It Real
I’m blessed because my husband was so supportive. His background is in human performance and psychology, so he was really able to work with me and help me see things that I couldn’t.
I began to heal myself from the inside out after my blind spots weren’t blind anymore.
Committing to Myself
I made commitments to myself.
I wouldn’t trigger Claudia to come out, which meant my relationship with alcohol and the people I surrounded myself with had to change.
I wouldn’t suppress anymore, which meant I’d have to allow myself to feel.
I wouldn’t pretend anymore, which meant I’d have to learn how to be vulnerable & real.
The biggest thing is I allowed myself to move on, forgive and feel my past.
Forgiveness of others is hard, but forgiving myself along with my past proved to be even harder.
It’s been 2 years since this incident that made my husband question wanting to marry me and ultimately coaxed me into a healing journey.
Sometimes it takes us hitting a rock bottom of our own understanding for us to wake up and face our reality head on.
I’m grateful for it because it’s allowed me to find a path of self-love, self-acceptance and truly embracing my authenticity.
It’s allowed me to connect with people on their low points in life, understand what they’re going through and impact the lives of so many women by teaching them about the importance of self-love.
Most importantly, it’s allowed me to connect with my husband on a deeper level and build a relationship on steadfast trust, love, growth and support.
I’ve learned that when we suppress emotions and feelings, we hinder ourselves to feel everything, even joy, believe it or not. I’ve also learned there is no such thing as a good or bad emotion. They are only good or bad because we decide they are.
I’ve learned that when we try to push away the bad and ugly parts, we also push away the good and beautiful parts of life. We can’t have one with out the other, so it’s important to allow ourselves to feel so that we can heal.
I have healed myself because I decided to do the hard, inner work of coming to a place where I love myself by acknowledging how I feel.
One thing I’ve found to be very helpful in the healing work I’ve done is meditation. So, I’ve put together a free, guided meditation on acknowledging your feelings as my gift to you.
I’d also like to invite you on my upcoming 7-day Self-Love Challenge! It’s a free challenge I created to help take women on a journey into finding joy and peace within themselves so they can step into who they are really meant to be. It starts on July 16th. Sign up for the Self-Love Challenge and come on the journey with us here.
About Amanda Silvas
Amanda is a Self Love and Leveling Up Coach who has spent the past 9 years invested in women’s leadership and development. She turned her passion for women’s empowerment into helping women find self-love and authenticity within themselves. Amanda made it her mission to help women step into their greatest self and embrace their own 1%.
Her motto is “DO IT LIKE YOU” which means to embrace your own authenticity and stop comparing your life, body and success to others so that you can find your truest JOY.
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