What the Duce?

SO I did it all the way I was supposed to- was an A+ student in grade school, learned how to play 3 instruments and volunteered at the animal shelter two weekends a month. Then, was an A+ student in private, Catholic high school where I did a shit load of extra curricular activities. Then went to college at 17, was an A student in college, where I was an orientation leader, student outreach ambassador, worked 30 hours a week while doing 18 credits per semester. I found a paid internship that started two days after I graduated and after that, I started and successfully ran my own business for now six years during a piss poor economy.

Exhausted just reading that? I’m exhausted living it.

Where the heck is this all GOING?

At 25, I woke up one day in the Australian outback freaking out about where my life was/is going. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing with my gifts…what ARE my gifts? What the hell do I even like?!

(The answer is probably dogs BTW.)

RelativeSimple About Rum Australia

This is me in the Australian outback, next to the ‘beware of dingoes’ sign, living out of a camper and having an existential crisis.

So, here I am, next to a ‘beware of dingoes’ sign sobbing uncontrollably into a bottle of rum the best rum I’ve ever had, because I noticed for the first time there was this… resounding emptiness in my life that seemed to spring up out of nowhere.

As I slowly began to face the ‘inside my heartbrain’ mystery box, I unintentionally took the first step on the journey of self discovery…one that has permeated my existence for the last 4 years and will likely last for the rest of my life. That’s kinda the point, isn’t it?

Ripping the bandaid off lasted a solid 11 months. I’d been self medicating with wine, sleep deprivation and spending time with all the wrong people. My self loathing was literally out of control. I would wake up every morning and spend time telling myself that I was a lame, unmotivated, un-lovable, worthless person.


And that’s, in a nutshell, the relationship I had with my mother and my peers in grade school. I would realize later on (like, 2016) that words weren’t mine and were actually just a sound track of negative experiences playing in my subconscious. When enough people say the same hurtful things over and over and over again, especially a parent, you start believing them.

Over course of 18 months, (2012-2013), a deep, feral anger blossomed, then turned into depression. I realized I had not been caring for myself; I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I realized I didn’t know who I actually was, as I’d been pretending to be someone I thought people would like. I didn’t know how to enjoy an experience and I squandered every single opportunity I had that year.

The fear is palpable. Still. I look in the mirror and can see this vibrant, beautiful being juuuussstt under the surface, but there’s this wall surrounding her that I can’t seem to get through.

This is me the day I turned 29.

This is me the day I turned 29. I like to think the positive love yourself work can be seen on my face.

So, after four years of beautifully intense emotional upheaval I’ve decided to try my best to simplify life, exist in a place of gratitude, and do more of the things that make me happy. As I reflect upon past experience, I’ll write about it here, with the hope that, maybe, I’ll be able to tear down that wall and help some people along the way.

I like cartoons, dogs, yoga, beer and coffee, jazz music, pop art and street art, thrifted fashion and fart jokes. Expect to hear a lot about those things told in the form of stories through the “Ella” filter.

I'm part of Post A Week 2013