Maddie's Story: It's My Turn
TW: SELF HARM & ASSAULT
I read the blogs every single week, but never imagined I would be doing one myself. Oftentimes, in my position at Beautiful Disaster, I support and empower other women to share their stories and speak their truths. But, today, I'll be doing that for myself.
I am a Beautiful Disaster because I have transformed from a young girl full of insecurity, self-doubt, crippling depression, addiction to self harm and other destructive behaviors to a positive, self-assured, mature young woman who knows her worth, and refuses to accept less.
I identify with the Beautiful Disaster brand because of the powerful quotes, positivity, and the impact the empowerment has had on my mental health and my overall feelings about myself.
I am extremely fortunate to have been raised in a family where I have been shown nothing but love and support. Growing up, I felt this deep innate desire to be accepted and liked by my peers. I was not. I was always very aware of the fact that I wasn't the "popular" girl. I wasn't the "pretty" girl. What I remember more, was the popular kids telling my best friend that she could have a chance at being cool if she stopped hanging out with me. From a young age, I never felt good enough.
Struggling with my self-esteem starting at a really young age, I began self-destructive behaviors at the age of 13. Bullying truly damaged how I viewed myself at a young age, and the way in which I decided to cope was by physically harming myself. My addiction to self harm affected me in a lot of different aspects of my life. Growing up, I was a dancer and I remember having to wear long pants and hoodies to class, unable to take them off, no matter how hot I was. I remember rumors spreading at school about people thinking they may know what my arms look like, and girls feeling bold enough to turn around in their chairs in class to ask to see. I started getting more crafty, finding other places to self harm that were more secretive.
I remember being in 9th grade and looking at my school calendar and circling dates in which I thought I may just end it all. After teachers reported their concern to the school, I remember doing morning body checks at 14 with the nurses office, checking my wrists, ankles, thighs and hips for cuts. I remember eating alone in the locker room at lunch to avoid my bullies. Looking back, those people didn't deserve to take my power - more so I shouldn't have given them my power. But, when you're young and impressionable - what everyone else thought felt like it meant the world.
At the age of 15, all I seemed to care about was being liked. I thought a sure fire way into being liked was to join the party crowd, start drinking, experimenting with drugs, etc. My friend and I took a taxi to a Malibu high school party we had heard about on Facebook. That night, my friend and I were both sexually assaulted. I found my friend after it had happened to her and she was completely knocked out. When it happened to me, she was laying next to me ... still unconscious. We both went down a very bad path afterwards. It kick-started a downward spiral of my life, and eventually led to me getting the proper help and therapy that I needed. I was able to open up to my parents about my assault. That was the first time I ever saw my dad cry.
Having my parents to hold me through the dark times, through the nightmares, and to genuinely understand why I was acting out the way I was changed everything for me. I transferred schools and gave myself a fresh start.
I was so blessed to have found a group of friends in college who loved me for exactly who I am and made me feel so seen. Since graduating college, I feel that I've been navigating my relationship with myself and my relationship with others.
While I still have so much growing to do, I am very proud of the woman I am today and the growth that I see within myself. Everyday, I continue to work on healthier relationship with myself, my self confidence and my relationship with intimacy. I'm surrounded by a support system of people who truly want the best for me and that is so healing.
My day-to-day at work consists of creating inspiring and empowering messages for other women who have been through hell and back and that's a truly beautiful thing.
My favorite item from Beautiful Disaster is any of our blankets. I know we are currently out of stock of all of them, but those blankets have become a staple in my family's household and some things we use on the daily. They are so soft, warm, cozy, and feel like a hug. They are part of our nightly routine, and even my brother keeps one on his bed at all times.
Thank you to everyone who has helped shape me into the woman I am today.