Sometimes we have to break to rebuild ourselves as who we were born to be - Nicola Codling Coaching
If I am honest I don't really remember the point when I truly lost myself, if anything there wasn't really a moment when it all happened and instead it was more like a slow process of fading over a course of time, just gradually disappearing into nothing, bit by bit. Looking back now, it was a long time coming. From the age of about 13 I had started to change, lose confidence in myself, doubt my worth and the value that I was bringing to the lives of those around me. There is a point however that I do remember very clearly, the point when everything changed, the point when I woke up, realised that my life was worth living and that I had to fight for it.
I suppose one of the things about me is that in the scheme of things I have had what most people would call an ‘ordinary’ life, a comfortable life, to some even a privileged one, yet for me it was not a life that made me happy. I was a grade A student, I went off the university and got my first-class degree, managed to get on the property ladder and buy my first home by the age of 22. I owned my own car, had been in full time employment since finishing my degree, had friends, a loving family. From the outside looking in, probably to most people my life would have been one in which people would have said, ‘Surely, she’s got it all’. But looks can be deceiving especially when every day you are focussing your efforts on playing the part of the person you want people to see, hiding the truth of the person you don’t.
In reality I had since attending secondary school, taken a big dip in self-confidence. I went from the girl who was happy to play the part of Maria Von Trap in the end of year 6 school musical, to the girl who would quiver at the thought of even having to speak in an assembly and later at the thought of having to speak to anyone that I didn’t already know. I attended a grammar school and was a good student, I loved learning, loved the school work, a self-confessed geek. But all I wanted was to be in with the ‘cool girls’ you know the girls who everyone likes, the ones who everyone has time for so I tried extra hard to be accepted. My sister had always been popular, was talkative, beautiful, friends with everyone and all I wanted at that age was to be like her in that way. Truth is that naturally I wasn’t but I always tried to fit in. At the age of 17 as I struggled to mould myself into the girl that could fit in at school, I was also struggling to fit in at home, my mum and sister seemed to always get on better with one another than they did with me and I was lonely, and so I rebelled. You know the story, the naughty kid that plays up because negative attention even though it’s negative is still attention, well that was me. This all culminated in me moving out of my family home for a short time and living with a then boyfriend, let’s just bad went to worse. I ended up a mess, having panic attacks and reverting more into a state of unhappiness in which I saw myself as a worthless human being.
Then I met Danny, he was and always will be my best friend in the world, Danny came along and scoped me up, put me in the safety of his pocket, a broken and scared girl that just wanted to be loved. And love me he did, and I loved him right back. We had 5 years together and I thought that was it, that was us set for life. But I was wrong. As we grew, we changed and we drifted apart. It was around the last year of our relationship that I became conscious of my size, not that I was particularly large, but I was what I would now loving term as ‘chubby’. All of a sudden realising what I looked like I embarked on a weight loss journey, I started running, and restricted what I ate, some days not eating anything, whilst taking weight loss pills that I had purchased from the internet. The response I got was a good one, and so I started to believe that being accepted meant that I had to be skinny. The weight loss tablets became a regular and with it to balance my love of food came the laxatives, a daily dosage which meant that I could eat and not feel guilty about it. I had to be skinny. But between Danny and I our romantic love turned to friendship and our relationship came to an end.
It wasn’t long after our relationship ended that I got into my next one with the man who later became my husband, and later still my ex-husband. The truth is we weren’t compatible from the start and in my gut I think I always knew it. There were alarm bells from the beginning, but I needed to be loved and accepted and when this semi-professional footballer with his flat and Mercedes was interested in me…well I just couldn’t believe it, those alarm bells could ring all they wanted but I wasn’t going to listen to them! It was like I had hit the proverbial jackpot! But two homes, a marriage and 5 largely toxic years later it all became too much.
The complete lack of control I felt over my life increased my focus on the things I could control, my weight and the picture that everyone else saw of my life. So I continued my obsession with exercise and started going to the gym, restricting what I ate and taking laxatives whilst making sure that I had a picture perfect home, the right hair style, the right clothes, the right interests, said and did the right things and with the availability of social media, well I would make sure that everyone saw what I wanted them to see, in just the right way, with just the right caption.
It was standing in the shower after another battle that everything finally changed. I say battle because in the end no matter how they started arguments always escalated out of hand, becoming a battle in which we both fought so hard to emerge victorious, without either of us really knowing what it was we were trying to win. For me in the end victory meant that I didn't cry, that no matter what I wasn't going to show how much it all hurt...mentally, physically, emotionally. I would feel every ounce of it, but I'd be damned if I would show it. This particular battle was different...this time something burst out from inside of me, exploding out of my mouth after rushing up from the pit of my stomach, 'I don't love you, I can't do this anymore...'
Silence, the shock of these words coming out of me stopped us both in our tracks and jilted us back to the moment there and then. But lo and behold half an hour later came the apologies, cuddles, the declarations of love, but this time more powerful than ever before, sitting on the edge of the bed with his arms wrapped round me came a rising feeling of dread. Everything inside me was twisting in knots, the thought that this would be my life...I knew then that I couldn't do it anymore. I had to get out.
It was there standing in that shower that I really started to believe that I had no choice, I couldn't walk away, we are married, what would people think, the shame, the failure. This is my life, the one I have chosen, I had to live it, to put up and shut up. The conversation in my head round and around,
'But I can't...you have to...but I can't live like this...you have to...but I can't...well you have to...no...no...I'd rather kill myself than carry on living like this...'
Hold on a minute, you would rather take your own life than continue living in this way? You don't value your own life enough to do something about this? Well if you don't value your life, how do you ever expect anyone else to?
That 'WHAT?' right there...that was the moment that I woke up. The moment that the ghostly shell that I had come to call home was invaded by the 'real me', the me that for so long had been pushed aside, buried deep down inside of me and ignored. The me that had sat behind my mind and the noise that it made for so many years, that was the moment that I was shaken into self-awareness, and realised that enough was enough.
So on the 27th July 2015 at the age of 26, I walked out of my old life. That was the day that I took my first step acknowledging my personal responsibility for my life and for finding the path that would fill the emptiness in which I had lived for so long.
Since this day I have been on a magnificent journey, facing my fears and challenging myself to overcome them. I have met some of the most amazing people, and shared some of the most wonderful experiences. I have traveled on my own and with my dearest friends, seeing natural wonders of this world that have made my heart and soul sing. I have even walked on fire. I have developed the best relationships with those around me, and found love in a relationship that I had always believed did not exist. I have learnt that I am the creator of my life, that this life and that this world is full of endless opportunity and that anything is possible. I have released the true me, the person that I had spent most of my life hiding. But the most valuable lesson that I have learnt, is that no matter what you search for in others, sometimes the only place you can really ever find the answers that you are looking for, is within yourself.
I am grateful for my journey, both its challenges and its joys because it has bought me to today. I know and believe with all my heart that if I can turn my life around and go from a human ghost into the woman I am today, sitting here writing my story, then so can you.
That is why I am following my dream and my passion and purpose as an Empowerment coach.
I want to use my experience to empower other women who also feel lost, broken and are suffering alone with no hope for their future or enthusiasm for life, through coaching to realise and release the magic that lives inside of them.
I am a woman on a mission to share knowledge, to motivate and inspire self-love to empower people to evolve and reveal to the world their beautiful smiles, I am on a mission to make the world smile.