I Spent My Life Trying to Be Invisible & This is What Happened

Have you ever picked up on a scent that inspires vivid memories and emotions within you?

Did you know that this is actually called the ‘Proustian’ effect, named after Marcel Proust? 

He wrote the following passage in À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time) in 1913:

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin.”

Now look, I’ve never read the book (it’s literally over 4,000 pages so I think I’m good) but these words were some of his most famous because they articulate what it means to have an involuntary memory – where a sensory experience can suddenly bring back hidden memories and emotions, even ones we can’t explain. 

Has this ever happened to you?
To be honest, I feel like it happens to me all the time. 
And not just with scents. But with songs, with moments, with conversations. With life itself.

What I’ve learned about myself is that I’m naturally inclined to take a romantic orientation to life. Whereas – I see the world through romantic eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of shit days and I’m not interested in being blinded by romanticism, but it seems that I often see the world through eyes of mystery and intensity, and have the capacity to fall in love about twelve times a day if I allow myself.

It happens when I drink a cup of warm chamomile tea that takes me back to spending nights sitting around the kitchen table with a past love and his mother.

It happens when I lay in the sun and feel the softness of a breeze on my skin while a hawk dances above me and reminds me of my ancestors.

It happens when I watch the sunrise and I drift off into the memories of early morning summer magic beneath juniper trees in New Mexico.

It happens when I read a poem and it transports me into a vortex of softness where I can shed one more layer of old heartbreak that I didn’t even know was still there, freeing me to feel something else.

I’m telling you, it happens a lot. Except I used to think there was something devastatingly wrong with me for it. It didn’t always look like this. And that’s because I felt “cursed” with the capability of being overtaken with emotion as easily as an ocean wave crashing and receding. I hated it. Because this is not just exclusive to the sweetness of being overtaken by the sunrise. I have also, many times, been overtaken by paralyzing grief or rage.

It took me 28 years to learn that this is actually a blessing that allows me to connect deeply with people and experiences. It’s the exact ingredient in the elixir of my being that makes me an empath, an intuitive, an artist, and a transformational coach. It took this long for me to realize it (and be grateful for it), because I had to unlearn what I once learned about emotions.

At first…I learned to suppress my emotions because it made other people uncomfortable. I learned that I was too sensitive, too intense, too hot-headed, too unrealistic…too much. I learned to tone it down, quiet down, and be invisible. I learned quiet is safe. I learned invisible is safer.

It only takes one person to teach us something.
It only takes one moment to internalize something that isn’t true.

To paint you a picture, here are some of those moments…

When my father died I was completely and utterly inconsolable for the first few weeks after it happened. I cried so much I screamed at night when I tried to fall asleep because the loss was too much. One day, someone saw me crying and told me that it was unacceptable. I felt ashamed. And in that moment I learned that it would be better to make my pain invisible.

When I was very little, I used to ride my bike with my sister in front of our condo. Pure joy. Until the day I was almost kidnapped while riding that very bike. One person, predatorily driving by, cornered me, looked me in the eyes, spoke, and I felt death go through me when he talked. I felt numb and terrified. Ultimately I exited the situation safely, but that moment left an invisible scar of paranoia and fear. I learned that it would be better to make my joy invisible

These moments of learning can happen in the most intense or the most nuanced and subtle ways. There are so many of them that happen in our lives, often without any awareness or realization.

It only takes one person to teach us something.
It only takes one moment to internalize something that isn’t true.

When I look back, it feels like life dealt me a set of cards with directions stapled to it saying: “You’re going to learn lessons about what it means to allow yourself to be seen. Good luck!” And of course, the older I got, the more invisible I wanted to be.

Despite my attempts to remain invisible throughout the years, my emotions were naturally bursting at the seams, so I would try harder and harder to cover them up. This was exhausting. And I was often in a state of disappointment with myself because the more I kept it all in, the more dysfunctional and fragmented I would become in all of my relationships. Bottling up my feelings mostly led to terrible moments of explosive rage and profound sadness. 

My wounded logic was: I am safest when I pretend all is well and appear as if I do not feel anything at all. That way, no one can judge me and no one can take anything away from me.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that it required way more energy to hide and be invisible, than it did to fully express myself at the risk of ridicule or judgment. I simply didn’t know that it could be different. And as a result I spent years experiencing anxiety and depression.

My healing journey began when I finally realized that it didn’t have to be this way. I don’t know if there was a specific moment where it all changed. There were certainly many teachers and coaches and healers along the way. But what I do remember experiencing is an inner surrendering, which asked me to wake up every day and make a choice.

Either I could choose to continue wearing archaic, debilitating masks and armor, or listen to my truth and feel my emotions as they are.

I guess I started choosing the latter at some point, and the butterfly effect carried me to this moment, writing to you today.

I wake up every day and still have to make this choice. Growth and healing is a lifelong journey.

The funny thing is, my journey led me directly to the thing that I perhaps needed most: to deeply learn about and study emotions. I needed to unlearn everything I had ever learned about emotions and finally see them for what they are: a massive territory of beauty, truth, and wisdom that is necessary to the human experience. 

My truth is that I have been given the gift of feeling emotions on a euphoric level. For the good, the bad, and even the most mundane things. And I no longer wish to hide that.

This is how I became a coach. I was so moved by my studies in emotional learning and ontological coaching that it became my career. And now I help other womxn who are ready to: #1 let go of the masks and fear and self-doubt that keeps them stuck, #2 develop profound self-awareness about their own emotions and experiences, and #3 live a life that’s rooted in their deepest purpose and truth. I help womxn unleash their purpose and find what gives them true meaning and fulfillment.

There are global systems and structures in place to make us forget who we are. The truth is: Your power is an eternal flame within you that can never be extinguished. I am honored to say that my job as a coach is to challenge the way you see yourself and the world, to remind you of how powerful you are, and to help you awaken your forgotten gifts and magic.

Artwork (above) by Wolf Erlbruch