Greetings and salutations! My name is Teresa Smith and I am The Peaceful Soul! A few years ago, that last word I would have been known by was peace!
I would have been called
• The Angry Soul,
• The Depressed Soul,
• The Hopeless Soul,
• The Unforgiving Soul,
• The Broken Soul,
• The “Why Me” Soul,
• The “I Wish You Would” Soul
• The Sick Soul
I could go on and on.
You see, I was all of those things: angry, depressed, hopeless, unforgiving, broken, and stuck in a mindset that always asked “why me”.
I was always tense, ready to explode, always feeling like I was teetering on the edge, daring someone to tip me over! There was a time that my own daughter referred to me as the “Scary Lady”!
However, even that moniker was not enough to make me lose all of the others. I was deeply attached to my feelings. I was living in the wrong vortex.
Over the years, I became trapped in a never ending loop of my past – a traumatic childhood and home life events, bad decisions, bad jobs, and a bad marriage. Whenever someone hurt me, every emotion from years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse - all the pain from my entire life – came roaring back larger and stronger than the last time it was provoked. And that could be quite often. The trigger could be my husband asking the “wrong question” or the children playing too loud. Sometimes it was the job. There were times I was just angry and couldn’t even say why. I was consistently on a low simmer.
Through YEARS of practice, I became a professional at hiding these toxic, destructive emotions. I mastered stuffing them in every little crack and crevice of my life! I needed to make it “look” as if it everything was perfect. If I fell apart I would have been exposed! So I put on my perfectly painted, happy face for all to see. But, I was not exactly the picture of health. I was overweight. (When my doctor said I was obese, I remember thinking “How dare he use that term to describe me!”) I always dressed in ways that made my extra curves less noticeable, but I spent a lot of years living in a body that would never be big enough to hide me from all of the things that I was afraid of!
I was always nice to others. That was genuine because I knew what it was felt like to be “invisible” to others. I knew the pain of trying to present your best, only to be overlooked because you didn’t fit the model someone was looking for. I have been the one that is too fat, too dark, too poor, too loud, too something, so I always made it a point to acknowledge and engage people, sometimes with just my smile.
I was the life of the party – full of excitement, love and laughs for everyone – but myself. I laughed and entertained everyone everywhere I went, but it was only in public. I would come home and shed the façade. Just like washing off my pretty face, I could wash off my good mood. At home alone, I could just shut down.
I was full of encouragement for EVERYONE – choosing to see the best in them. I never failed to remind people they were awesome, beautiful and special. But, somehow I had not gotten the message that I needed to do the same for myself. I didn’t quite loathe myself but I definitely didn’t love myself either.
One day in 1995, after a particularly rough encounter with my mother, I decided to let it all go! I was tired! Tired of the tears behind the smiles. Tired of always pretending everything was great! I was tired of waking up, day in and day out, putting a beautiful, happy face on a corpse. As dead as I was on the inside, that may as well have been what I was doing. That night, with my daughter out of state visiting her father, I decided I would end it all.
I took a bath with a glass of wine, a joint and a bottle of pills. I worked in mental health and substance abuse, so I knew full well how to complete a suicide! I would smoke the joint to relax enough to complete my mission with no fear. I’d pop a handful of pills and wash them down with the wine, then just fall asleep. But in that moment, just before it all came together, I realized it was not as hopeless as I thought, because I wanted to live!
I don’t know if it was fear or faith, but I asked God to save me. More importantly, I asked Him to FIX me! In that moment, my bath water seemed to turn into tar – dark and ugly – just like I was on the inside! I just remember thinking “EEEEWWWWW…I want out of this muck”! I got out of the water that night and was never the same! At that moment I knew what I needed to do! I had not survived the first 28 years of my life for naught! I had gone through several major catharsis and was still in my right mind enough to tell the story!
But I was terrified of what others would think. I spent the next fifteen years fighting for the change I vowed I would make while in my tub that night. I had remarried and had two more children, but I was still living the same old lies that I was telling myself. Now even more people were involved. It got harder and harder to fake my feelings (and to move in my body)! I knew I needed to make a change, but I had gotten so comfortable in my pain, the thought of things getting better scared me more than staying where I was.
But I was determined!
As a first step, I started by going to my doctor to find out why I was fat. I know that sounds crazy, but I SO wanted it to be my thyroid or some other medical condition!
The doctor came back with nothing other than high blood pressure that could be lowered if I lost weight! I had no excuses -- I HAD to make a change. I was finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. I immediately started exercising one day a week and made moderate changes to my diet. I gave up things I knew were not serving me. It wasn’t just food. It also meant some people, places and things that were no good for me. The biggest change was taking place in my mind and my way of thinking. While going through my physical change, mental and emotional changes were happening too. I found myself thinking more clearly which lead to a more positive mindset. I felt happier and freer than I had in my entire life. I was shedding pounds, toxic thinking and bad habits at the same time! It was pretty remarkable. I was finally making the changes I had desired for so long.
In addition to a free mind, a positive outlook on life, and a healthy, fit body, my life seemed to fall into a rhythm I had never known. My marriage took on the fairy tale quality people dream about. My children found a flow that they were comfortable in, and theirs just happened to blend perfectly with mine! The sun seemed to shine a lot brighter. My heart was a lot lighter. I was happier and so was everyone around me. It was contagious!
I knew I had not gone through all that I have to just sit on it!
We are strengthened by the testimony of others and that is what I live for. I am so thankful that I’m still here to tell the story so that’s what I do; share with all that will listen. Every morning I awake grateful that I was chosen to live my life as me and with the anticipation that something AWESOME and AMAZING is going to happen. I greet each day open, ready, willing and able to serve humanity in whatever capacity I am called upon.
I’d love to share this part of my journey with you. My desire is that you feel the same. I hope you will take this walk with me in hopes that you read, see or hear something that will help you find your birthright of love, joy, freedom and happiness.
That you too will become a Peaceful Soul.
Peace and blessings…
Teresa a.k.a. The Peaceful Soul