Fear and self-doubt are the biggest killers of dreams.
Limiting thoughts, negative outlooks, and constant self-sabotage widen that void most of us have. It kills our dreams one at a time.
It suffocates you until you submit to being less than... OR better than could have imagined.
I believe learning, critical thinking, and empathy are some of our greatest assets in navigating this world and the chaotic emotions it contains.
(the chaotic emotions I contain)
I'm still diving deep into my shadow work, but there have been deeper, more tumultuous waters in my life.
This article is about my personal uprising that didn't come from luck, but from deep trauma, healing, and a little help from my friends.
Since I was young, I remember being bullied consistently. If it wasn't random people, it was my peers at school. If it wasn't them, then it was feeling misunderstood by my family.
I wasn't a loud and obnoxious child all the time, but I felt my matter-of-fact opinions got me into many situations. There has been a lot of growth to realize it's not all on them; I am also an empath and was very sensitive. Plus, people are always growing so maybe you were a part of their lesson and vice versa.
Regardless, I had some weird and sometimes random trauma that has been in my memory for YEARS.
When I was younger, I went camping; my dad and sister were down by the river fishing, so I thought I'd go down there to kill some time. I grabbed my little Chihuahua dog, ironically named Killer, and headed off to the riverbank.
While walking down there, two boys stop me in my tracks, and they begin questioning me about my dog.
The boys came off as pretty aggressive, so I remember trying to remove myself from the situation through talking. Being only 8 or so, I wasn't sure what was really happening in the moment.
I do know this though; when I wasn't responding how they wanted, the two boys pulled a knife out on me.
Now this froze me like a deer in head lights. I was really confused, shocked, and not sure of the situation I walked in on.
The one boy then said something that put my feet to the ground running...
"We are going to skin you, your dog, and throw you both in the river."
I ran straight home to my momma, aka the camper.
They were kicked out of the campground, thank god, but it wasn't the last time something traumatic like that would happen. Many of us won't go through just one thing that changes us for the rest of our life.
I always felt like the beginning of my life was a series of tests and trials, but I accepted the strength that came along with going through them.
Not always though! That's just human emotion and part of the process.
I remember being SO excited to start school for the first time. All was good except for the bus rides...
The bus rides to and from school began to take a sinister turn with the aggressive bullying I began to experience. A group of girls would release their wrath on me after school with name calling, tormenting, and taking my things. One day they took my chap-stick and smashed it into the ground, then threw it back at me!
The worst was when they pinned me up against the seats, from my back, rendering me helpless with movement and words. I remember being so pinned it was hard to breathe.
I could go on about the surmounting traumas my day-to-day life caused, but also the positives that kept me going.
In many ways, our traumas help to unify and create a better connection with people. To me that is most comforting. That no matter how cheesy it sounds, you really aren't alone; you're just not connected yet.
No luck really got me where I am today. Things had to break down, shift, and change to begin the journey of my dreams.
Truth is, it took losing my partner of 3 years to finally wake up to my dreams. To wake up to myself and the life I was missing out on.
Before my partner passed, my traumas were at their peak. My family felt broken; I was extremely nervous/ jealous that I was going to be cheated on, and I was desperate to feel love/be accepted.
Feeling the pressure of this, I began doing small forms of art here and there.
I felt something intense inside me that said I need to do this for my mental and spiritual health. I needed a cathartic process for all the baggage I had.
I was working in the kitchen at the time but working in the kitchen all my life AND making it a passion felt like it would just drain me and my happiness. Art was not super realistic for a job, but it kept me feeling like it was something I needed to do.
Let's be clear, I really didn't have a clue when it came to art. I didn't have confidence, just passion. I always did my make-up and liked fashion, so I had some experience in color.
Knowing this, I started my art journey in coloring books. Then when I became even more confident in colors, I wanted to sketch more. The sketching turned to acrylic on canvas. I was soon diving into a plethora of art forms that fascinated me such as photography, dance, resin, digital art, and art installations. This was all building in the background, setting the path I was meant to go on.
I was at the peak of my cooking career. I was a manager for a fine dining restaurant, on top of selling art pieces here and there, when I was unwillingly pushed to quit.
June 16th, 2021, I was doing morning prep in the kitchen when I heard the knock.
Busy with my prep and knowing people were closer to the door, I put my head back down and let a coworker respond.
"Shantel, some police officers are at the back door for you," said my co-worker coming back with a concerned expression.
My stomach dropped to my legs. I felt the heaviness of the situation but didn't know the weight.
Shakily stepping outside of the door, I see two police officers who proceed to tell me the worst news of my life.
Charlie was gone.
Some things were said to me, but I wasn't there.
My head chef suddenly stepped out and saw the fear and terror in my eyes. She whisked me away to a private place to talk with the officers, and to then, make the calls and arrangements I needed to.
To be honest, I didn't think I'd make it. The pain was extreme and brutal, but there was one thing keeping me alive.
A sweet, subtle light that felt like it cracked in my chest.
Truth is, I wanted to be the one to go. His soul was so bright, while my soul felt slick with sludge at the time with depression and anxiety. It should have been me were my first thoughts.
I knew deep down I wasn't that terrible though and had things people would be grateful for. I knew my traumas were at their peak and needed attention. I just struggled heavily with self-love and acceptance at the time.
This inner light began to guide me through, making each day a lesson in my healing.
I was agnostic and highly practical/logical about things, but I truly felt and to this day feel Charlie by me guiding the way. It was confusing but felt like the only thing I had left.
This led me to lean into my art and spirituality more, while questioning what is truly going to make me happy in life. I was sick of most of it.
Sick of the grind that was monotonous.
Sick of boxing with myself when I knew there was some way to put down the gloves.
I finally put a magnifying glass to my life.
I realized working in the kitchen was draining me and taking me away from things I really wanted to do, events I wanted to attend, and care/attention I needed to give myself.
I had been obsessed with business since I could remember.
My family owned a successful bar and grill for a while (which is how I got my cooking start), and I was always playing these weird internet games where you have to manage a store or a restaurant. This led to other intense strategy games.
It helped blossom my critical and strategic mindset, which in turn motivated me to learn about and start my own business.
Everything I went through was like a precursor to what I actually wanted but didn't realize I needed.
Each failure, panic attack, drama, death, and conflict were building me up to be the best version of myself. My strife is what led to the possibility of my greatest self.
It led to me creating Third Eye Expressions, a self-made resin fantasy shop.
I really wanted to incorporate my love for nature, spiritual awareness, and fantasy all into one place.
Since starting out this year, I've done numerous events, networked with amazing people, put together special customs, and created my own website for easy access in the winter.
My business is the embodiment of me, and a catalyst to the change I want to create in myself and others.
It's grown me and allowed me to connect in such a way that is beyond healing!
Each day I learn and meet someone new, get to travel, get to collaborate, and get to see what the world has to offer.
Where am I going from here?
Since my spiritual journey is priority compared to my art, my interest in healing has taken main focus. They go hand in hand I realized over the year.
I can't flow with my art well if I'm blocked, so my healing helps recognize and release these blockages. This helps me to be my best self and create in an effortless way.
My interests in spirituality have led me to advance in my ability to channel messages through tarot and mediumship. I am also certified in Level Two Reiki! This means I can heal from near or afar.
With all of this, I want to continue my Reiki training and mediumship alongside my art. I also plan to do more blogs, community events/gatherings/workshops, and just work on expanding/exchanging the awareness we have growing in the collective.
Even though its hard work, dedication, and lots of reading...I do not regret anything.
I will always miss my days in the kitchen, but all of it was a lesson for bigger things to come. It was all meant to help begin my actual journey and fulfill my purpose in the world.
So, remember. Always keep pushing up that mountain...
Digging for that diamond
Running to the end of the finish line
Or pacing yourself because slow and steady can win the race.
I got all of my success from pushing through EACH day at a time, surviving any way I knew how.
Just please don't give up.
Fight for your dreams
Because no one will fight as hard as you. They will not do what only you think is possible for yourself, so dream big.
Go on, with so much love in your step, and don't look back unless it's to smile.
R.I.P Charles Williams