I was born, and I’m not dead yet. I grew older in Texas, then North Carolina is where I hit a red wall of fear at 11. The pattern of wanting to run was planted in my blooming mind, not wanting to be in the skin I was in. I turned first to alcohol at 14, and met my missing peace. Then I discovered the candy-land of drugs and used all of my talents and initiative, creativity to stay under the radar of reality by staying stoned every waking moment. Or drunk. I discovered boys did, after all, like me. Or wanted to fuck me, at least. I fell in love for the first time with a dark-haired man (as was later my pattern), and escaped the bible belt for Florida. I still brought myself with me. Daily drinking, hourly pot smoking followed me to Disney too. I held regrets from the past that ate at my insides and threatened to consume all of me, like acid eats… whatever it eats. I decided to run away in a kamikaze death wish mission. I picked California, it was really far away and glamorous. It was far, but far from glamorous, where I ended up. Somehow I remained alive and breathing. I got arrested and made it back home, visited jail briefly, and ended up in AA. I met my ex-husband there, we eventually married. I thought I was ready for it, that I had gotten all of my hi-jinks out of my existence and could settle down. But that gnawing addiction was not really put to bed, it was reading under the covers with a flashlight, eating Reese’s Cups. I cheated on my husband and ran away again, to Korea, for a boy I met. I then ran away from him, and ran into the arms of Bali. Even in paradise I couldn’t escape my past. Through many spiritual epiphanies and crashing lows, I felt the pain of all of these regrets at my back, shame’s hot breath on my neck. Then I had an accident, got bitten by a dog on my mouth. I had emergency plastic surgery. I had a nervous breakdown afterwards in Thailand, recovering from the accident. My mind was a prison and fear wouldn’t stop its oppression on my soul. I crawled back home, hopeless and soulless. I searched for another man, desperate to fill the void as wide as a galaxy, and found none. Finally, I found transformation through self-exploration and mediation. I found myself. I found myself worthy of love, without needing any accoutrements, simply because I exist. And now I’m here to help others navigate through this maze back to themselves.