Welcome to my first “…Be A Sunflower” blog post!! It is my #1 goal to connect with you and inspire you! But first, I want you to know a little bit about my background. Once you know a little about my humble beginnings, you can decide if connecting with me is right for you. I want to be extremely real and candid and start this first blog post with the true story about my life. Some of it is pretty awesome and some of it is pretty shamefully hideous. It may trigger you. It may shock you. It may bore you. Other people’s opinions of me are not my business. My intention here is to reach my tribe, the women who “get it” and who “speak my language.” I really do hope that is you!
I am an adopted only-child. I came into this world through 2 hippie kids from Arlington, VA who had a forbidden tryst while in Catholic high school. They actually hitch-hiked to the Woodstock festival together under the guise of going camping back in 1969! I was immediately given up for adoption and was raised in the Great Lakes area of the country in a small midwestern college town. There is truly nothing like the innocence of being a Gen X kid and growing up in the 1970s! Climbing trees, riding bicycles, doing cartwheels, testing your skills on the playground monkey bars, swings and slides, playing with Barbies, listening to rock music on AM/FM radio, buying records, skateboarding, admiring muscle cars, staying up late to watch Saturday Night Live and Johnny Carson, reading Teen Beat magazine, listening to Casey Kasem’s top 40 countdown every Sunday…*sigh*
My grandfather was a successful and well-respected businessman who owned a shoe repair shop. He and my grandma would spend the summers at a lake cottage just a short winding country road drive away. It was there at the lake cottage that I fell in love with the sunshine, the warmth and with summertime. My grandpa was a good man. Due to being extremely sheltered and innocent, it wasn’t until much later in life that I became aware of the contrast between grandpa’s calm levelheadedness, how he treated my grandmother with kindness and patience, and that of my dad’s behavior and how my mom was treated by him. This is where the magical, perfect, innocent, child of the 70s story ends. To put it plainly, I never got along very well with my parents. They were angry, controlling people who rarely stopped yelling at each other or at me. Anytime they felt out of control or I didn’t do what they wanted, I was yelled at. Funny thing about controlling people…they always feel out of control. My dad was verbally abusive to my mom only I didn’t realize this until later in life. That was just my normal. We would often gang up on and make fun of her. I’m so ashamed of this now. My dad had “not good enough” syndrome and made himself feel better by belittling others and amplifying others’ faults to make himself feel better. He still does all of these things to this very day. My parents were simple, unworldly, uneducated people who graduated high school in the ’50s and didn’t read books. The only books in the house were an encyclopedia set my grandpa bought for me and a Bible that they never looked at. My nose was always in one of those books when I wasn’t listening to records or playing with Barbies; that was how my spirit was able to survive, through detachment. They sent me to Catholic school class on Saturday mornings and we went to church every Saturday night. In my insatiable thirst for knowledge and truth, I spent a lot of time considering becoming a nun and took my innocent understanding of God very seriously as a child. Even though my parents were the ones who originally forced the church on me as an obligation to Catholic Social Services, they had little faith and lived their lives mostly from a place of fear. They were afraid of everything and the first words out of their mouths anytime I had an idea was “you can’t” and then they would find 20 ridiculous reasons why. My dad made sacrifices and poor choices from this place of fear yet thinking he was following noble “duties and obligations.” It’s just how that generation was and I guess you can respect that. I’ve been grateful that I don’t share their genetics or I may have ended up living a life of paralyzed fear just like them. Thankfully, I had a fiercely independent spirit that could not be broken. When I was 11 years old, I defiantly declared that when I grew up I was moving to the desert! Snow and cold weather were not for me; I wanted no part of it and I felt very inadequate around other kids who seemed to enjoy winter activities. (I was actually one of those people who survived the infamous Blizzard of ’78!)
It was around that time that I began to find my voice and feel personally empowered. Hormones started making me sassy and rebellious, like all kids at that age. The less control over me that my parents had, the angrier they got. I had been called “boy crazy” since I was 6 years old, like that was some kind of bad thing. Boys are awesome, interesting creatures! I was endlessly fascinated by them. The more I was not allowed to have friends that were boys, the more fiercely I intended to befriend them. I got good at being sneaky. I was even more obsessed with rock music than I was with boys, which actually made it easy to be friends with them once they found out all that I knew about rock bands. My best friend’s brother had a band that would rehearse and store their music equipment in her parent’s basement. I spent every minute I could at their house until I was 13 years old listening and watching in awe. By high school, I knew all the local guys that were in bands, even the drop outs and those from other schools and would find a way to go to many of their wild parties under the guise of sleepovers and slumber parties at girlfriends’ houses. And yet, through all this music and boy obsession…and even though I used some drugs and alcohol and was a pothead for 4 years…I still managed to graduate from high school with honors while taking college prep classes. The summer after I graduated, I had THE life changing experience that set the course for my future. I took a long road trip with friends to an Aerosmith/Guns N Roses concert in Michigan. Upon my arrival to this outdoor venue, I was immediately noticed by a certain band member who regaled me with travel stories all day and took me around with him backstage afterwards. There was nothing backstage but the band, the busses, some pizza and ME. That experience went to my head. Nobody else from that crowd of 15,000 people was getting the VIP treatment so I must be pretty special, right?! It confirmed for me what I already thought of myself. I had the confidence of a thousand tightrope walkers. After returning home that night, I thought I was the shit and that I was headed for a rock n roll life. Even though I had been accepted to a secretarial trade school, I decided instead to go away to a 4 year college to pursue my dream of becoming a disc jockey….wait…what???
Apparently, I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. Let’s just say that didn’t work out. I ended up meeting a hot shot guitar player from my hometown who had just returned with tales of living in Hollywood for 3 months. We immediately entered into a co-dependent relationship where I was constantly being torn between his verbally abusive, possessive, jealous control over my life and my parents’ struggle to control my life. After quitting college and enduring some extreme depression and surviving a suicidal moment, I accidentally discovered my talent at doing nails. Beauty school saved my life. It helped me take my power back and regain my confidence. It was the only time I could get away from the influence of my family and boyfriend and truly feel like I could be myself. I quickly excelled and in a few short years was working for one of the most high end Aveda salons in my city and I was a part time educator for OPI, who at the time, was the largest nail product manufacturer in the world. My clients were wealthy, worldly and educated and they helped encourage, influence and empower me to get out of this increasingly more violent, scary relationship that I was stuck in. After nearly 10 years, just weeks away from my 29th birthday, I escaped and finally followed my dream and moved to the desert!!
It was there, in a rapidly expanding desert town, that I set up my nail table by day and immersed myself in the local music scene (and in the nearby Hollywood music scene) at night and on the weekends. I had a revolving door of out of town musician “boyfriends.” To them, I was just a muse, a comfortable familiar face who would take care of them. They made me feel special and important. I actually believed that I was such a good woman that one of them would choose me to settle down with one day. The details of that decade of my life will be shared another day. It was exciting. I had fun experiences that most rock music fans can only dream of. I made some cool friends along the way. I have few regrets. I feel like the 10 years I spent in the prison of a verbally abusive, controlling relationship were restored to me in the 10 years that I spent looking for love while partying with rock stars. And yet, the fun did eventually stop. My heart had been broken, stomped on, trampled over and rejected a thousand times and a new reality began to set in. I was done. Disappointment was now my dominant emotion. I decided I needed to get right with God. When I was 15, I became a born-again Christian and that Spirit still lived within me, even through all my rebellious, sinful behavior over the years. I serve a God of forgiveness who meets you wherever you are, no matter how low…and man, was I ever low! I felt it was time to renew my commitment to my faith so I got baptized and started hanging around churches again. Now I have the greater understanding that when you choose to accept the Holy Spirit, God is always with you, even when you make terrible choices. All that time, God was long-suffering, waiting for me, a prodigal daughter, to return to Him.
The next several years were dark and my memories of them are few. I was in the cocoon, writhing in the pain of broken dreams and disappointments, analyzing everything and everyone, struggling to make sense of it all and rebuild. I was trying to remember who I was, what I wanted my life to be like and why I was drawn to living in the desert in the first place. (Sunlight is life!) I ended friendships, I lost clients, said “no” to things that no longer served me. I looked around me and realized the vast majority of the people I thought were friends were really acquaintances that I had very little in common with. From there, I studied at the feet of masters and sequestered myself away to protect from negative outside influence. I reconstructed my entire life from the foundation up and one random day along my journey, I finally stumbled upon the true love I had been seeking. (Cue up Frank Sinatra: “I did it myyyyyyy wayyyy….”)
There are many lessons here. You can start over. You can reinvent yourself. Your past doesn’t have to determine your future. Most importantly, if you want to be respected and loved, you first must learn how to have #FierceAuthenticity!!!! What I went through was so profound that I couldn’t keep it to myself. I need to share this with others and I want to help you.
THIS IS WHY I AM NOW A CERTIFIED LIFE COACH.
If you really connect with this story and you want my support, please reach out to me through my contact form here.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. —-Ecclesiastes 4:9
3 thoughts on “Welcome to Sunflower Life Coaching!”
When you told me that your calling was to be a life coach I knew that many lives were about to change for the better because of you! You have certainly been an inspiration and a true friend to me, and I always cherish that!
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Just finished reading your story. The long road you took. I’m so glad I got to meet you. You’re an awesome friend that’s like a sister to me. Special lady that I love.
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Cari, I truly love you! You’re such a deep and spiritual person. I hope your life will be everything you ever dreamed of! ❤️
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