Good Girl Gut

We know you well, good girl gut. It’s the gut that took us through our pre-teens full of belly aches galore. The one that had you under chronic care of a doctor who called it ‘functional abdominal pain’ and pumped you full of reflux drugs and maybe some pain medicine. It’s the reason I stayed home almost every Monday from school, for my otherwise symptomless belly pain.

For many of us it was abdominal pain. For others it was nail biting, hair picking, throat clearing, super acne, teeth grinding. Some manifested throat issues early on, thyroid, chronic tonsillitis, strep throat or cancers. And finally some of us came in strong in our power center with crazy painful cramps, endometriosis, chronic cystitis, dysplasia, HPV. But most lived through a combination of the above suspects, always coming and going, often dissipating for a moment leaving us wondering how we could capture calm again.

We grew up ready to please the world, not wanting to make too much noise, rock the boat, squeak the wheel. We were the quiet ones with good grades and an aim for perfection. A single disparaging word destroyed our world. The ultra-sensitives, the black sheep, the feel too much, we were. Our schedules were full of the activities we thought would make our parents most proud. We followed the path most traveled and dreamed of the well-known life.

We aspired to be doctors, lawyers, CEOs, and presidents. Or maybe the stay at home wife, life. Wanted the perfect husband, the 2.5 kids, the picket fence, the Dior purse, the Benz. We had our lives planned out before we hit puberty and our wedding dress picked out once we did.

Me, I wanted the Lakeshore Drive condo with floor to ceiling windows and a view of Lake Michigan. I wanted to wear the white coat, marry the Chicago Bear or Bull, drive the beamer, send my kids to an academy among princes and celebrities. I dreamed of dinners at fancy restaurants with four dollar signs and tiny plates.

I wanted to work with animals at age five, but knew by age nine that zoologists didn’t make enough money to buy my high rise life. So my sights were set on gold and I pursued it passionately until it became my obsession.

We worked our minds and bodies to the bone. We excelled in every aspect of life, made everyone proud. Got the nod from society that all was right and we showed them. Meanwhile, we slowly repressed our true desires and dreams. The wanderlust, the free spirit, the fickle, the wild, the passionate was quelled at every debut. Eventually we placed them into box, locked it up, stored it deep into a closet and said goodbye. We asked it to stay put until the day we died.

Until we reached our 20’s and everything we believed about life was challenged. All those milestones we aimed to meet from the day our bellies began to ache seemed impossibly far away. The stress of life came down hard, the expectations from inside of us, came in even harder. Perhaps drugs entered the equation or alcohol. Maybe boys and seduction. Probably a combination of all. We searched for fulfillment and success from others. We won more accolades, more degrees, more ‘acceptance’ from the world. We craved another life, a life that never existed, the life of perfection.

Or maybe we outsourced our wisdom. We started consulting with therapists, counselors, doctors, mentors, psychics, energy workers. We spent our days with chiropractors or acupuncturists, adopted mommas and poppas. We looked outside of ourselves for the details and the job description about the way to ride this wave called life. Sometimes as they talked to us or treated us, threads of the voice in our gut said, “oh yes, you know this, that’s what I’ve told you a few times, that sounds familiar”

Then it hit us, like a ton of bricks. That good girl gut couldn’t handle it anymore and it began to fire up. But now, with stress, life, work, school, debt, kids, marriage, mortgage we didn’t know what to do. Maybe we’ll suppress for another few decades? What if you kept quiet just a little bit longer? But deep down we knew the truth. We knew we could no longer keep that box in the closet.

For me, an autoimmune disease to remind me that I was not loving myself, so my body attacked itself in revolt. It called me to say, ‘you’re hiding your truth’. As long as I felt unworthy, my own antibodies would be there to confirm it. My power center screaming at me and I just ignored it, praying it would go away. I told it to shut up and continued on the path I had trained myself to believe I had to walk.

I changed my food to the cleanest I knew. I started exercising regularly, pushing myself like I did as a gymnast. I continued following the rules, coloring inside the lines of the life most traveled. I did all the things those outsiders tell you to do.  Still I suffered, still my gut told me ‘you’re deviating from your truth once again’

But I continued on. My good girl gut would not get the best of me, knowing deep down that eventually it would.

And then it did. I had to change or live a painful existence denying my truth. A little tiny voice from far inside of my gut whispered to go within. I remembered that all the answers were still there, in that box stored away long ago. It told me that no amount of outside love, attention, food, approval, awards, success, accomplishments, purses, cars, homes, or money would make me whole. Not a single thing would heal my good girl gut until I got right within.

So I listened. I abandoned ship. I surrendered. I let go.  I left that relationship and those friends. I left the life I worked so damn hard to build and set out to rediscover my truth. I slowly opened the box to reveal what it had inside and it was beautiful and terrifying. Until I realized that the only limits and the only judgements had come from me and the reality I decided to create for myself.

Good girl gut and I worked through the madness together. We pieced together the cosmic contract we had signed long ago. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done, but the most worthwhile. I explored, I dug, I cried, I failed, I walked to the brink and almost jumped, I reached the highest highs and the lowest lows, but we’re still here. And we continue to heal, always checking in with my GGG to make sure we’re on the path less traveled, the one that was meant for me.

Our truth, the most powerful of medicines. If you can get back to yours, you’ll never want to leave. It’s not easy (or it’s as easy as you will it to be). It takes time, due diligence, dedication and desire. But it’s there and waiting for you to open it and give it life once again.

The world is waiting for your boldness and your brilliance. The choice is up to you, it always has been, good girl.

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