I did not choose who I've been led to become, but I did choose to answer the call.
I did not choose to have one of my first conscious memories of this life to be of being molested by an older cousin. But I did choose to allow that pain, confusion, and shattered sense of Self to lead me down an academic path of "healing" (or at least what would lay the foundation for the healing that was to come). I did not choose to have old-school, first-generation immigrant parents who shamed and silenced sexuality - 1. by not speaking about it at all and 2. by crippling me with judgement and criticism when they saw I'd typed the word "masturbation" into our search engine or found a dildo a friend had given me for my birthday.
"Not in our house!" they roared.
.... to this day I wonder, what was the intent? Did they think I wouldn't have discovered my vagina on my own? Of course, they had no way of knowing that I'd been being raped by their nephew since before I knew how to do math.
I did not choose to end up with a series of much-older-than-me boyfriends (weirdly, all the same age-gap as between my cousin and I. Coincidence?) - though I did choose to stand up vehemently for "I'm worth waiting for" and 'saving myself' for a considerable amount of time after the abuse had stopped.
It seems that somewhere, deep down, I knew I was *sacred*... even in the absence of anyone telling me so.
I didn't consciously choose to begin feeling shame around sexuality and pleasure... it just kind of arrived.. and when I discovered alcohol (at admittedly a much later age than most) I quickly sought cover behind it. I chose to tuck my curiousities and confidence behind peach schnapps and cheap rosé. It seems I was somehow indoctrinated to believe that the only way I was allowed to be saucy, spicy, seductive, or submissive was if I was doing it drunk (how beneficial to the liquor industry).
I didn't consciously choose a "healer's" path - I didn't even fully know what I needed to heal from... I just knew I was smart and I could do well in school and, like, 'if my child/adolescent psychiatrist was such a pivotal part of my 'healing' from [depression and anorexia] as a teenager [read: early sexual trauma that nobody knew about] then the only logical thing for me to do with my life is to follow that same path (until I arrived among the medical world and thought - "this is total bullsh*t - I don't actually want this AT ALL.") I didn't consciously "follow my gut" because nobody taught me I even had one. I didn't know what intuition meant and I was certainly never taught to listen to her...
But I did follow something... every time I 180'd away from paths I once thought I wanted - until I arrived and realized, "This is completely misaligned."
I didn't consciously choose to 180º so many times.... But I did choose to lean into that feeling of, "Something isn't right." My life looked so perfect on the outside, but something wasn't right. This relationship appears to be a fairytale - but something isn't right. This opportunity is literally my life handed to me on a silver platter... nope, still not right.
I didn't consciously choose to about-face so many times but looking back, each time I did, I unknowingly aligned a little bit more. I didn't consciously choose to build my first business. I didn't consciously choose to build my first online brand. I didn't consciously choose to pivot and diversify my skillsets across multiple industries without having a stitch of formal training in anything I offered. But I did choose (however unconsciously) to follow the call. And with each call, I grew. I became a w̶e̶d̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶n̶n̶e̶r̶ entrepreneur and I grew. I planned a bunch of Indian weddings. Those Indian weddings moved something in me. I flew to India. India moved me. I trekked the Himalayas. Nepal woke up some dormant, powerful warrior spirit inside of me. I began to get brave. I began to get humble. I began to get curious about "something more". I traveled the world and I grew.
I didn't consciously choose to learn at the feet of Buddhist monks, or alongside Bahamian billionaires or with a myriad of mentors, teachers and guides around the world. But I chose to lean into all of it. I chose to learn from all of it. From all of them.
I didn't consciously choose to get into tech. It was just another one of those about-faces, another 180º revolution into further alignment. I was called to it one weekend in Boston while I was teaching a How To Be a Blogger workshop. I didn't consciously choose to bring my at-the-time-brand-new-boyfriend on board... but I pitched him the idea and he was all-in. I really wanted to make a difference for women; a BIG difference. I wanted to have massive transformative purpose. I wanted to make the world I lived in better. My intentions were always pure, always good.
I didn't consciously choose to "fail" in tech. We were all-in for so long. We were all-in for a ton of our own money, a ton of our own time, for a ton of investors' money, for a ton of time from our mentors / cheerleaders / fans.
We were all-in for 3 a.m. meetings because we were in Central Indonesian Time. We are all-in for around-the-clock trouble-shooting, problem-solving, fire-extinguishing - because that's what you do when you're building a tech startup. We were all-in for the incubators and the accelerators and the government business grants and the business development awards and the networking events around the world.
We were all-in for all of it.
We didn't consciously choose to burn out. I didn't consciously choose to "fail". We didn't consciously choose to have babies.
Well, that's incorrect. I mean, they were IVF - we knew EXACTLY what we were doing. But the truth is, we had NO FUXKING IDEA what we were doing.
We didn't consciously choose to succumb to the socially-prescribed message of what it would mean to be "even happier" in life... but over time the messaging whittled away at our jet-setting, cocktail-drinking, hedonistic lifestyle and we decided to go all-in with procreating.
I didn't consciously choose the nightmare that became IVF, that became carrying twins, that became the most traumatic birthing experience I could've ever imagined, but not even a year later I did consciously choose to train as a birth doula and hypnobirthing instructor to play my role in saving other women from the path I'd been forced to walk.
I didn't consciously choose that spontaneous 3-day getaway to London and that wildly-priced day-long "healing session" with a shamanic healer whose modalities were literally all just hocus-pocus to me at the time.. but I did choose to surrender to her and in turn I experienced the single-most nourishing, nurturing, awakening mind-body experience of my 36 years of life to that point. She's since closed up that boutique healing studio just outside of Camden town... I wonder if she knows that she changed my life forever? It always stuck with me afterwards that I want to make other women feel what I felt in her presence that day... despite having literally NO idea where to start.
What I do know is that she accidentally breathed some life back into me and my birth tragedy began to heal. In however a small way, I showed back up for me, back up for my twins, and back up for life.
..... I didn't choose, a year later, to end up ridiculously enraptured in and subsequently navigating an incredibly triggering, toxic, painful secondary relationship - but I did choose conscious, ethical nonmonogamy eight years prior - and all the beauty and growth that would come from a longterm open bond. It was in the darkness and shadows of those triggers of that unexpected love that I began to have to stand up in my power. I began to sense that pain has purpose; that pain is power. And I began to stand in ALL OF MINE.
I didn't choose for my long-term partner to lose his big brother in a tragic way and for us to be shaken sideways and woken-TF up to life, how short it is, and how misaligned we'd become (again).
I didn't choose any of that.
We didn't choose any of that. But... I recognize now that my soul did. I came into this life carrying a soul contract- a mission I needed to fulfill... and that I've only been given what was known I could handle.. and what would continue to call me to higher grounds. Last year, when that family tragedy occurred, when we could barely pick ourselves up from getting smashed against the rocks (again) - while I was trauma-bonded in a toxic connection, still reeling from postpartum/birth/sleep trauma... we didn't consciously choose to just drop everything we'd spent so many years building... but we did consciously choose to do everything we needed to survive. While we were trying to survive, those big bad burly plans for multi-milltion dollar tech dreams began to fall lower and lower on our ladder of life.
I didn't choose to spend the final minutes leading up to the biggest pitch of my life layering foundation to hide the puffiness of my eyes from crying all day.
That's it. I was empty. I had nothing left.
I'd given it all.
It wasn't enough.
Nobody takes photos of when you fail.
--------- And even though I could have picked myself back up and kept fighting and kept going - at this point I was an expert at picking up and fighting and going - I didn't. At this point, I really just needed to survive.
My closest humans picked up and flew to Canada to surrender to the support of my in-laws. I, remembering how held I felt at that London healing space - was somehow guided to registering for a "womb massage practitioner course" literally just days before I had to pack up our 5-bedroom life into a shipping container and move overseas.
I didn't choose to meet Clare.. but my universe tilted onto its side when I did.
I didn't mean to become a "healer"... but I have.
I didn't consciously choose to hold space for "advanced transformational healing" but that's what I was told I do. I didn't choose to move to Mexico...
I didn't consciously choose to go so far down the rabbit hole of early-life trauma therapy, ancestral grief, womb healing, and yoni reclamation to now have a wait-listed practice in the Mayan Riviera.
But I answered the call(s) when they came. and here I am.
That accidental tantric massage I wrote about last post? That time we spent living "accidentally" in Thailand. Those therapists and healers and practitioners I accidentally met while I was fighting within-an-inch-of-my-life to survive birthing my twins... I didn't consciously choose any of that - but all of it came together as the bricks that would together form the foundation upon which I stand today.
I didn't consciously choose an ex-industry-competitor-turned-BFF-twin-flame-confidante-and-shit-caller to message me after I posted that blog announcing, "Burn the fuxking boats, Aia! Burn the fuxking boats." "You didn't actually ask for advice but I'm going to give it to you anyways." - she began.
"There is no way back off the island. Once you're on the island, once you've made this decision - there is no way back. You told 2/3 of your story.. tell the fuxking rest."
I'm grateful for my ex-industry-competitor-turned-BFF-twin-flame-confidante-and-shit-callers. I called in the support of additional members of my tiny-but-mighty tribe. The message resounded across them all: OWN IT. - a 'coming out', of sorts.
- bold, authentic, unapologetic standing in Self - enough performance - it's time for TRUTH.
.... and so it is.
This is my truth.
Whole and authentic.
Honest and unabridged.
I didn't consciously choose to spend my entire life performing:
- performing that I wasn't being abused
- performing that I hadn't been abused - performing that I was eating when I wasn't - performing that I was happy when I wasn't
- performing that I wanted to be a doctor when I didn't - performing that I wanted to be monogamous/coupled/single/submissive/dominant when I didn't ... but I did "choose" to do what was expected of me for WAY longer than I should have. I did choose to hold back, shame, silence, and blame myself for WAY FUXKING LONGER than I should have. ... and I'm done.
This is me. This is me in my whole, authentic, honest and unabridged truth. I am who I am.
And I'm really fuxking good at what I do. And I'm no longer asking for permission to stand in that truth - I'm standing in my god(dess)-given birthright to be powerful, to be pleasured/pleasurable, to be entirely unapologetic upon my path... regardless of how it meanders, and unrelated to where it will lead. I am the daughter of a wounded mother and a sister of the wounded collective.
I am the survivor of things nobody should ever have to survive.
I am recognizing now that I've always been led to something bigger.
I am neuroscience and entrepreneurship and marketing and tech.
I am a recovering masculine-led womb priestess alchemizing pain into power.
I am a woman who had babies without any connection to my femininity and I narrowly survived birthing them.
I am science-turned-sacred, ex-academic-turned-shamanic and aligned.
I am a wordsmith, a sapiophile, a unicorn and a visionary.
I unapologetically pursue what I crave.
I am both vulnerable and un-fuxk-withable.
I am not sorry for all the things that I have failed - and I will always strive to do better.
I was led back to my womb, which led back to my yoni, which sucked me into the vortex of the power of our sacred spaces we've long had defamed and defiled.
I won't stand in the shadows.
I won't stand in the secrecy.
I won't remain silent.
Despite all those who'd feel infinitely more comfortable if I did.
This is the unapologetic end of identities I used to have... and it's just the beginning of who I'm about to become. This is my coming out as a woman led by her inner little girl who deserves to be safe, to be loved, to be forgiven, and to be strong...