Guest post time! Where to even start with my introduction to Kaitlyn Signorelli? I guess I would say that when thinking about confidence, empowerment or strength, she is one of the first women to come to mind! She is such a powerhouse and yet still so kind- it really is amazing.
Kaitlyn and I were introduced on facebook a while back by a mutual contact who thought we might hit it off. We scheduled a little meet and greet; I thought it would be maybe a half hour, and I might have a new acquaintance at the end of it. An hour and a half later, we were still chatting away, getting REALLY vulnerable and completely baring our souls. Suddenly Kaitlyn looks at me and says, in all seriousness,, “Can we be friends?”
I didn’t even have to think about it before giving her a resounding and exciting yes! It’s rare for me to feel so connected to someone so quickly, but that definitely happened here. And so I was REALLY excited when she said that she wanted to write a guest post for this blog about finding confidence. As per her style, it is very vulnerable and very inspiring. (Trigger warning, she does mention self harm.)
I’ll let Kaitlyn take it from here:
A Story of Resilience in Finding the Confidence to Love Myself
I was 12 when I first realized I was battling depression. I had already been fighting self-injury (cutting myself) for a year. When I look back, I can recognize how incredibly brave I was to reach out for help. However, what happened was the adults in my life didn’t know how to help. I was left feeling like I was making it up – that I wasn’t trying hard enough to be happy.
I’d love to tell you that I don’t have thoughts that pop into my head now and then about hurting myself in order to process strong emotions – but what I can tell you is I am now stronger than those thoughts. I refused to stay in that mental state – I knew that I could have so much more out of life. Life is here for us to experience all emotions, the greatest of which I believe are love, joy, and happiness.
So how did I go from depressed to confidently loving myself?
Well, I’m working on nailing down the exact framework so that I can share it with as many women as freaking possible! Until I have those words, I’ll share this: I fought for it. I was determined. I didn’t take no for an answer. I found a way. I kept going. I didn’t stop searching and fighting.
There were some dark and hard times. I didn’t handle everything with grace. I made some poor, risky, and dangerous decisions. But I always believed there had to be a way for me to find what I knew life held for me: love, joy, and happiness.
I feel that it’s relevant to mention that I was undiagnosed ADHD.
I had no idea why the opinions of others hurt so incredibly deeply (Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria). When I was bullied in middle school and college, it figuratively cut me to my core. I replayed hurtful conversations in my mind and I couldn’t figure out how to stop. When I reached out for help and was met with criticisms for my actions, I felt like a burden who just needed to stay quiet. THANK GOD I didn’t stay quiet! I kept reaching out. I found support in some good ways and some not so good ways. I was drinking almost every night for a month in high school to calm my thoughts before going to sleep – not a recommended coping strategy but now I at least understand that I was trying to self-medicate. I hold no judgment against myself for trying to help myself through stressful times. I know different coping strategies now.
I came across several revelations even during my battles with depression, RSD, anxiety, self-injury, low self-esteem, low self-trust, and ADHD.
(Yes, it felt like the odds were against me). The very first revelation I remember was when I was in a depressed episode quietly crying to myself and hiding from my family feeling like I was all alone and that there was no one I could talk to because I didn’t want to burden my friends with my feelings again. I heard a voice in my mind that said, “You are not alone. I am always here.” A lightbulb was turned on in my mind, while my body was in a dark room. I am Christian and I know this was God speaking to me. It didn’t take away my struggles but it gave me an anchor and allowed me to keep pushing through.
My second revelation was that I am beautiful no matter what! I had been bullied for my physical appearance. I thought I needed to have plastic surgery in order to be beautiful. I thought I needed make-up to be pretty. Well, I thought make-up took too much time and surgery sounded excessive so I resigned myself to just being unfortunate looking me. Long story short – I looked at myself for a LONG time in the mirror one day and said to myself, I am beautiful and no one can take that away from me.
There were still wounds to heal from…
but I clung onto that realization with everything I had until I could talk with other women who were complaining about parts of their bodies that they hated and wanted to change and I would say I look beautiful the way I am. I don’t need to depreciate my beauty in order to “fit in”. I still refuse to do this and if there is one recommendation that I can give to any woman it is to stop complaining about your body and your looks as a bonding conversation with other women! Our daughters are going to learn from us. I want my daughter to see a woman confident in her body no matter what.
Between those two breakthrough revelations and so much more, I have been able to find in myself a physically strong, beautiful, unique, mentally resilient, confident, incredibly valuable woman! I want to help other women find this in themselves too. That is why I decided to become a Confidence and Health Coach. What I have found is too grand, too great not to share. We all desire to feel confident in ourselves and in our bodies. We desire joy and happiness. I want to help show women that there is life outside of constantly talking negatively about themselves. Confidence is waiting for you! It can be scary and uncomfortable at first but the world that it opens up is more than I can even put into words.