What does it mean to have an imprint on the world, to wake up every day completely convicted of your undying purpose for existing? I asked myself this quite frequently when I was drowning in darkness, utterly encapsulated with the regiment of starving myself day in and day out. What was the reason for living if all I could do was shrink? The answer didn't come for years, but it was always there. There in the back of my mind, fighting my thoughts of worthlessness and fear. I’ve known, I’ve always known there was a bigger plan for me. There’s only one me, and if I didn’t follow through on the plan, then how many people would suffer as a result.
They say that recovery comes when you finally want to do it for yourself, but I actually prefer the saying from AA “we help ourselves by helping others”. When I am able to use my words, story, and actions to fill another person with a twinge of joy or hope, a spark within me is ignited and I come alive in a way that I was unaware I was capable of. Wallowing in my own darkness, smothered by pain of the past as well as my present battles, never served me. In fact, it kept me trapped for years in an endless cycle of abusing my body in order to escape the world. Fun fact, you can’t escape the world. You can try. I tried. I tried and tried and tried and yet, every day I woke up and the world was still there. We can’t deny the fact that we exist and since we exist, should we not find the reason for our presence?
I am still constructing the answer to my imprint on the world. I am torn between helper and maker. Helping others who struggle with mental health is deeply rooted in my blood. My heart beats faster and my eyes light up when I am able to offer comfort and support. But, I also know I am a maker. A maker of ideas, executer of goals, and an artist through and through. I think of my next adventure – a tour around Asia – I save, I plan, I execute. Then, I embark on life-changing experiences where different cultures open my eyes to perspectives my eyes were previously blind to. I hear a quote, I talk to a friend, heck, I am driving down the street, and suddenly I am struck by a new goal. Graduate school for mental health counseling, divemaster training in Honduras, authoring a new book, expanding Unpolished Journey. I think, I dream, and I execute. But, these creations don’t fulfill me completely. Sure, they offer me joy, excitement, and a sense of purpose, but my soul requires the physical act of creating. I crave getting my hands dirty. Taking nothing and creating something. Throwing paint on a canvas, sitting in my bed obsessively writing for hours, putting together clips until a story emerges. I am a helper. I am also a maker.
Even writing these purposes down, sparks a joy within me. I come out of my morning’s sleepy haze and suddenly start typing faster, breathing deeper, and smiling to myself. Darkness didn’t take away my soul. A person’s soul, no matter the struggle, is untouchable. The soul can get lost in the darkness caves that we fall into, but no darkness is too vast to uncover the soul. It is always there. Waiting. Patiently waiting for you to come back to it and listen to its soft whispers, reminding you of the unique imprint you are supposed to make on the world.