This is the Introduction of my Memoir
Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into My Life
By Cathy Teoste
My life from the very beginning has been a long, winding, confusing, chaotic path that has led me to where I am today. It has been a journey to find my identity, to strengthen and stand strong in my sense of self and to live in alignment with my authentic self. To live each day being present in the moment expressing who I am in everything I do, in each choice and decision I make.
I just want to be happy and experience all the wonderful things life has to offer. I want to not hate myself or be self-conscious or be afraid of taking risks or trying new things or worry about what other people think of me. I want to know who I am and be comfortable in my own skin. I want to live life being myself and being in and a part of my own life fully and completely
I have felt like I don’t belong in this world for as long as I can remember. Yet I have to live in this world. If I don’t fit in, if I don’t see why life has to be lived according to all these expectations of others and the standards others have set then it must be me who is wrong – who is defective. I tried to pretend that I could live as was expected yet everyone always seems to point my failures out to me. I multiplied those failures inside me. I forced myself to try harder to please everyone but I could never please anyone especially myself. The more I tried to be like everyone else the more I hated myself. Yet this suffering was internal. No one could see how it was destroying me.
This conflict of my identity has caused me such struggle and guilt within and throughout my life. I have had so many dimensions and faces of myself yet a deep knowing that none of them are really me. I feared that it can never be unraveled. The tears that I have cried create an ocean. Any progress I made seemed to get sucked up into the waves of worldly life and into living my life according to the rules and expectations of others and society. Whenever I hinted at what I wanted and believed, I was shamed into feeling guilty, irresponsible and selfish.
Unknowingly, throughout this journey it has been part of my life purpose to experience dissociation, depersonalization, depression and discontent within myself. Though I often asked why I needed to go through these experiences, I now know it was necessary for me in order to arrive here, today, searching for answers not only for myself but for other women who must travel their own similar, but unique, paths. My story has many starts and stops, and twists and turns. It begins early in my life at five years old and continues on until the present moment as I am writing this, and will continue to unfold as I write this story, and will continue on after I stop writing.
Mid-life and all its changes opened the door for me to journey into all the hidden depths of myself and begin to unravel these questions. I had no idea what I was doing or why when it began but now I am grateful for the all the uncertainty, fear and panic that lead me to begin. It has changed my life but more importantly it has changed me – it has changed how I see myself- how I feel about myself- how I know myself- It hasn’t changed who I am- I have become who I am. I have Stepped into Myself. And now I am Stepping into My Life, living in alignment with my true essence.
As I was walking through this journey seeking to find the answers to my questions, these answers that are uniquely my own, strangers asked me my story. In telling strangers my basic story about leaping out into the unknown and that at this very moment I am still free falling from that leap, I was asked to write my story. Each person’s story often begins with these same basic questions yet each journey is unique and different and holds its own inspiration. I have learned from many other women’s stories. My story is your story and your story is my story all intertwined and connected.
Here is my story from my deeply personal messed up self trying desperately to unravel all the tangled pieces of myself as I process through it.
I hope my story inspires you to become your authentic self and leap into your life more fully and to share your own wonderful life story with others. Enjoy who you are each moment and each day and the rest of your life will take care of itself.
“Long Life, Deep Friendship, Honey in the Heart.”
This is an excerpt of .my Memoir Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into my Life By Cathy Teoste
This manuscript is still a work in progress. I will continue to share excerpts from the manuscript as I continue through this rewrite/edit.