Kali Patrick is a creation. She’s slowly coming into view. It’s a journey. It’s my journey, and it’s likely your journey too.
Have you found ways to make your life as you want it to be?
I’ve created A Journey Into Health for us to share this experience, together. Call it selfish. I hate being alone.
My journey (so far)
In mid-2011, a me everyone called “Jen” had a stable, well paying job; a husband and a gorgeous house that I personally decorated. I didn’t want kids and that was OK. We traveled once a year.
Yet the marriage and the house had been a blur of doing, not feeling. Communication was always implied, but never truly good. Meanwhile, work didn’t feel satisfying. “Managing” stress and trying desperately to find space to breathe became critically important. Close friends dropped away.
Feeling out of control–yet still denying the FEELINGS–drove me to healthier eating, but also to intense exercise and a growing hatred of my body. I wanted to be “long and lean”. I obsessed. I lost weight, toned up, and I was still unhappy.
Then came the binging and overeating. Raiding the pantry in secret. Sitting in the parking lot of various grocery stores, stuffing down chocolate cakes (some vegan, some just plain garbage) with my fingers in the car. “Treating” myself to 4 dinners, then popcorn at a movie one Friday night until I was so sick I had to leave. Looking up “how to purge” on the internet, trying multiple methods and never having success. I gained weight. I overexercised and hurt my ankle. Feeling like a fraud as I was always the “healthy” one. I hid my secret from many. I hated myself.
At the same time, I turned more to yoga, finally going through teacher training–for myself. I discovered a different me under there: one kicking and screaming to get the hell out. I wanted to teach. I had to teach. I thought about changing my name, my life. I wanted to leave my job–my husband, bless his heart, couldn’t see it. Still binging without purging, I allowed other hobbies like dancing to die because I was too embarrassed to be seen in public. I became a Reiki master. I wanted to heal myself.
I wanted to enroll in a program about eating psychology, or mind-body nutrition. I knew my problem wasn’t about food. To those in the know, I described it like floors in a house: in the basement, stored childhood trauma that colored everything; on the first floor, growing dissatisfaction with my job and lack of contribution to the world; on the second floor, no validation or support from my most significant relationship; on the third, a binging and overeating habit as a coping mechanism. Wrap up the whole trap and you get what they call severe depression and suicidal ideation.
I fought for my desires, for change, for sanity; my husband made the difficult choice of financial stability over my mental health and our relationship. A friend from the past literally saved my life. I moved to an apartment, and I changed jobs. I played with taking the name “Kali”. I struggled with feelings of failure and loss, yet every day found some way, any way, to live.
It’s almost 3 years later as I write this. I live in a different state (physically and mentally). I legally have a different name, a different life. I’m doing what I love. My calling is to help people, and every day, I feel like I contribute to the world through my teaching, my healing hands, and/or my coaching. But I can do that only because I’VE BEEN THERE.
(For those who need to know: my ex and I are still friends, I’m back to a healthy weight and body image without much effort, and the man who saved my life over and over again now shares it with me in love, understanding, and support.)