Let’s begin this story about 4 years ago…..I was 34 years old and selling shoes at Steve Madden, making $16 an hour. I was currently at the end of my second marriage, which ultimately led in divorce. I was extremely codependent (fancy word for addicted) on alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and anabolic steroids. I was still borrowing money from whoever would give it to me, was in bankruptcy, no direction, no aim, no goals, no sense of who I was, absolutely no ownership of my life... I was behind on my bills and my dreams. Fuck….
I will remember this day forever…..
It was a frigid day in January and I was in my kitchen arguing with my then second wife….and then it happened…..It happened in a flash….like being struck by fucking lightning, like a gut punch of truth, like an overwhelming feeling of nausea….and in that moment, I realized that I was the cause of all of my problems...it was me...no one else...just me. Fuck….again….This moment of sheer clarity rocked me and my foundation which was built off of a faulty belief system of dilution, distraction, negligence, insecurity, and fear.
In that self-actualizing space I decided to change it the fuck up. So I did. I left the toxic relationship, quit my job at Steve Madden, sold all of my shit, and decided to go into the unknown and start re-discovering who the fuck I really was. At the time the unknown looked like moving in with a buddy I used to work with at Google down to Cape Coral, FL. I knew this dude for sometime and he had been there through my divorce and offered his help by setting me up with a job and a place to stay. So off I went to Florida.
Over the next few months I started to implement practices that I used to either poke fun at or didn’t know about at all. I started to meditate, read, journal, spend time alone, get out into nature, abstain form sex, alcohol, and I quit taking steroids and stopped abusing substances. I also managed to stop lying to people and myself. Shit that most of us don’t even consider engaging in. But damn, did it start to work!!! I started to uncover layers of bullshit that had built up over the years. Deconstructing my old beliefs and ways and started rebuilding a better me. It was a challenging time but I knew that I had to do the inner work and stop relying on my external world to shape who I was. I wanted my environment to product me and not the other way around.
After several months of living in Florida and on the healing path to my higher self I got an invite to fly out to Hawaii and to be part of a start-up supplement brand. I stepped into more of my fear and the unknown and took the gig. The brand was built fast and we even got our first product into a local shop right on Waikiki Beach. Some time passed and creative differences led to me parting ways with my business partners, which was a blessing that led to many lessons learned.
After my departure I decided to not ignore what my soul was calling for and that was to give back to others. I wanted to share what I had learned so far that had helped me realize my full potential. I just wanted to inspire others to find their true path and learn who they were and their purpose in this life. I had a lot more healing to do, but I knew I could help. So I started a holistic healing coaching brand named Open Heart Fit Co. I specialized in training, nutrition, mindset coaching, and overall wellness. At this point I was already a certified personal trainer, certified behavior change specialist, and I was on my way to becoming a certified cognitive behavior therapist. From there I started to put my messages out there which included my truths, principles that I lived by and implemented into my daily life. This led me to starting my blog, podcast, IGTV, and Youtube channel. Business started to grow and soon I was busy with a multitude of clients.
Although I had a nice hustle, that hustle wasn’t paying all the bills, so I decided to get a part time gig as a bartender one block away from Waikiki beach. I was a coach by day and moonlighted as a bartender. It was a grind but I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. It taught me more than I could ever articulate into words. Damn, what a time. Now, let me remind you during this period I was continuing with my inner work and self-care practices. Meditation, reading, and journaling was still a huge part of my life and the inner work was still being done.
After close to a year of relentlessly building my brand and slinging drinks at night, I reconnected with an old friend from middle school that I haven’t seen in over 20 years. Wes Robins. We started to talk again and I had him on my podcast to catch up. We both realized we had gone through our own dark night of the soul and had come out of the other end only to be of service to others and share our truths. He had his own thriving private practice in Atlanta, GA, where he was a LPC and worked with youth and young adults from 12-25. He had been in the game over a decade and had made a name for himself. This was an amazing reunion! We talked over the next several months and I decided my time was up in Hawaii and wanted to continue on this path into the unknown. So with an impulsive decision I bought a one way ticket back to Atlanta and was going to stop there to see my family.I sent Wes a picture of my plane ticket and then he sent me an email. An email that would have an impact on my life of which I could have never imagined. In this beautiful email was an invitation to help him to see his vision through of starting an experiential youth center. I read this several times, cried, and texted him back that I was 1000% in.
I flew home at the end of January 2020 and we immediately got to work. Fast forward through some blood, sweat, tears, and more gratitude I can't even describe, and we opened the doors to Eternal Strength Experiential Youth Center on April 13, 2020. With relentless determination and a clear vision we set out with our team of 6 to create a movement that would help to be the answer to what radical youth work should look like in this world. I was made Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and was an acting Therapeutic Mentor. I took each one of these roles with great respect, humility, and honor. Fast forward to the present (December 2020) and when this has been written and we now have a team of 15, are supporting countless families and youth, looking to expand into new markets and am now a proud co-owner of Eternal Strength. Whew…… what a crazy wild ride the last few years. Fast forward just a little bit more and Wes and I decided to open up another sacred space call Anti-Psychiatry...which is a Health Conscious Lounge (Sober Bar) that supports people in recovery, those who practice sobriety, and those who want to be part of a community that consists of dreamers, creators, artists, musicians, and higher consciousness.
Selling shoes for $16 an hour to co-owning and co-founding a therapeutic youth center and a health conscious lounge. All I did was change my direction and my mindset.
Follow your heart, follow what your soul is calling you to do. It will only lead you to your highest self. The path is scary as hell, challenging, uncomfortable...but so fucking worth it. Get to know yourself, deconstruct what no longer serves you, treat yourself like you are someone who matters...because you are. Create a beautiful life for yourself. You have the capability, power, and resilience within you to thrive in this life. It’s up to you. No one is coming to save you. It’s your moral responsibility to heal yourself and share it with others so they can do the same. I share to inspire.