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A Letter from ETA

Hey there – I’m Jen but the artist in me is ETA.

You might not know me, and that’s totally ok! I felt very passionate about wanting to share parts of my life with you to help be a voice for anyone who needs words or encouragement! 

Let’s see, for starters I’m a life enthusiast but since summer of 2020, I’ve honestly been struggling. From anxiety to crazy waves of depression and feeling my life was this chaotic ball of confusion, combine the PTSD and having no idea how to get my life back on track; well, it’s like a lot, but hey I’ve been working on finding ways to make it better!

See, with all this constantly going on adding a childhood of quite a lot of emotional abuse, it’s been hard often to just wake up and get my day going.

As soon as my feet hit the floor, shortly after waking up, there they are, feelings of self-doubt, chaotic thoughts, low self-esteem and a battle inside my head. And no idea who’s winning. Like, literally almost every day there’s a mean little voice telling me that I’m not good enough I never will be, I won’t amount to anything significant and why bother to keeping trying to make something about it happen when it’s not destined for you. And to put it quite directly, unless I wake up “good”, my hair almost always feels like a frazzled mess!

For anyone that dives into the realms of the deepest; I’m talking the deepest of levels, deep DEEP thoughts, I definitely know I am NOT meant to be feeling, living like this. This war in my thoughts. Like, dude – there’s more than this whirling page of overwhelm!

I grew up religious, not heavy but a lot of dos and don’ts, you-better-be-baptized-as-a-kid-or-else-you’re-wrong type thinking. Add parental controls of quite a bit of shaming, controlling, terrorizing, manipulative tactics and by the end of the day, someway, you just end up feeling really defeated.

I had many good times with my immediate family but were often replaced by quick to anger commentaries, punitive tactics, name calling, physical measures of discipline and ways that helped I still some sense of fear where there needed to be understanding.

As someone that considers feeling as if they lived thru so many false perceptions, I’m quite determined to find my way and to reestablish my own unique identity. It’s been really hard, but I know I can do it. And you can too. Don’t settle, recreate your own version!

My identity or things I find either intriguing or interesting, bring a little smile to my face seems to consist of a few things the first being, the questionings of what my dharma is, or passion (that magical element one’s supposed to feel when you discover it, could be a hobby, niche etc). Other things that came to be are a fondness for astrology, moon cycles, holistic ways of living, the metaphysical, spirit animals, certain interactions with people, snowboarding, writing poems, singing, maybe verbal storytelling, and finding my own belief system that’s right for me and trying to live with as less regrets as possible. To not conform to what everyone else is doing and start practicing more self-care and find what feels true to me.

This however has been rather difficult as, well my mind’s mental highways are speeding cars this way and that 24/7. If you follow astrology, and you happen to know what a moon Scorpio is…you’ve got one intense individual who’s an empath and feels every speck of life, from colors, smells, someone else’s feelings, and literally everything all day every day, some days like tides are better or harder than others…I also tend to have gotten quite critical towards myself with all of this going on…

When you have this combination of things, there is almost always some form of mini battle taking place:

Thoughts like, “How am I supposed to act?” “What/How am I supposed to be feeling right now, in this moment?” “Who are meant to be my friends?” “Am I meant to be something/someone really cool?” or like “Dude, where am I supposed to live, where is my actual safe feeling home?” “Who would I have been if I would’ve lived differently/free from abusive environments?”

That person, who was meant to be free to wander and discover oneself with plenty of emotional support and thriving in the arts and what not, individual.

Having an anxiety disorder, PTSD, depression, very racing thoughts, and experience regarding emotional/manipulative abuse, as well as people who didn’t exactly care for my best interests at heart, makes finding outlets a very much needed necessity in the life, to create a self-care tool kit and creates a desire to need to better oneself constantly because, well, you feel like you really don’t have any other choice.

What I’ve discovered is it is not a “luxury” but a definitive need to practice some form of self-care, and to have outlets to allow your emotions, feelings to properly flow. You, yes you, love – need to find a way to connect to yourself deep within, find outlets to channel what you’re feeling and allow it a way to effectively release!

See, I’ve been shut down so much because I come off as too intense, too passionate, and too caring. But that’s not a weakness by any means! It’s a very beautiful, strong thing to be sensitive intense, passionate. As the person I’m becoming more and more of, I get so excited meeting new people, I love seeing their different perspectives and, ya know what, I can’t help I get excited about that, I believe that is just a part of who I am!

With saying that however, I still really do struggle so much with a lot of who I’m trying to understand I am. I mean I spent a lot of time trying to undo much of my past and fighting just to try and understand and uncover the present.

But can you blame me? From the earliest as a child as I can remember, all the way through High School and even after, I was basically showcased as to what I wasn’t capable of, what I couldn’t do, how much I was lacking, and what few talents I might have.

This definitely led to a great confusion of questioning everything about my identity and what I stand for. Simply put, I was told I led myself to believe very strongly that I was a lazy, unathletic, “bump on a log,” “fat,” ungrateful, slow mentally, a mistake, always causing problems, everything was my fault, I never could do anything right and that my hair was almost always a mess…

I rarely felt beautiful or that I was ok in my body…

I was almost always on high alert from something that would be taken out of proportion or some angry scenario that decided to happen during the day. I rarely felt safe, and rarely felt heard.

A combination of constant put downs, name callings, volatile outbursts, physical assertions of being shoved out of the way, getting hit on the back of the head, potentially being blamed for anything that could possibly go wrong almost daily, led to a huge low self-confidence and experiencing life in a lot harder ways then others would deem necessary. So, let’s jump right in, I’ll give a glimpse of a day in the life…!

While I was attending High School I decided to join the National Guard; this was an attempt to try and make something of myself, to prove myself.

I entered Basic Training shortly after graduating High School. I found out during that time that I had gotten accepted into a college I really wanted to go to, and I was so excited! Some time a year or so later I moved out of state to get started. Shortly after arriving I realized I was a bit over my head left the program after only a few months. I decided to continue to stay out of state to see what my new opportunities would bring. I eventually fell onto a pretty rough patch and decided to move back in state.

After about a year and a half of “exploring” from drugs, to drinking heavily, and “clubs” I decided it’d be best to move back to the closest that had ever felt like home, Grandma’s. I lived here for a short time in between a break from military training before starting college and decided to move back. I then got connected with a roommate from a church who was in another part of a city and remained there for a few years.

Close to around a few years of what I later would know as my “end of time there” I found myself in a car accident, which would later on lead to my license being suspended.

My head was scrambled pretty good from an airbag interaction, and it was getting to be that time to find a new place.

By an amazing combination of luck, higher sources, and everything in between, I held my own (with some help) driving full-time with Uber, an apartment with my name on the lease and a car until the suspension was officially active. I fell into a greater depression which led to a decision to move out of state. I had been dealing with a pretty bad broken heart, too many bad memories, and not enough good ones, so this contributed to a desire to have yet again, a fresh start. (Several years ago, I met my biological dad and siblings for the first time so after a few get-togethers, I decided I’d try moving in with them.)

After a while, things weren’t going as smoothly as I would’ve hoped so I decided to move again…

I decided to save my last work paycheck and let my mom know I was moving. We had a better connection at the time, so I figured I’d let her know.

I first arrived after a 63-hour bus, booked a hostel and was in process of working out a plan. I Had enough for a few nights but didn’t know where I’d go to next. By a stroke of a supportive source, luck, or whatever you’d like to call it, I not only was able to stay a week there but got to hang out with a black cat named Blackie. Some awesome dude taught me a cool rhythm on a guitar in the lobby, met some pretty cool people, felt a lot of love, explored a bit of some neighborhoods, landed a free paid-for trip on the Max/Streetcar, and felt more hopeful than I had in a very long time.

After the week however, my finances were getting a bit low, and this led to me staying with a someone I met thru an artist. They lived further away from the city, but I appreciated having a place to stay. Despite their best efforts it ended it conflict, and I headed back to the city.

I experienced homelessness for the first time for about 8 months.

I desperately wanted to make a life for myself, have new adventures, create new memories, find my ppl, make friends my age, find my crew/squad and find where I could belong, or where I did belong.

Something in me that I cannot come to define has been calling to me and from deep within… Following those 8 months or so, I decided to leave again. With my experiences there, it was a combination of good and bad, I made, and lost friends, received a ton of love as well as emotional support. I felt really heard and supported. 

Finding people that not only accept you, encourage you regardless of what you believe, (currently I identify as being non-religious) when you’re open-minded, slightly rebellious/slightly stubborn, very passionate, intense, LGBT female that was naturally curious about people is truly a beautiful thing.

There had been a great deal of hurt in my life and from heart-wrenching, heartbreaking depression of a friend I fell very hard for, a mom I couldn’t connect with, a dad I really didn’t know, a friend who ended up being a narcissist, a pretty intense anxiety disorder, many feelings of loneliness, so many deep questionings, feelings of not feeling that I belonged really hardly anywhere, constantly questioning my self-worth and longing for “those accepting right soul tribe good feeling fun youthful vibrant life people,” I still somehow was very intrigued and in love with life, people’s perspectives, how they looked at life and moved through it, and the deeper things from creating your own version despite what happened in the past, and finding what makes life beautiful, fun, and fulfilling

And worth it…

I loved the sense of independence and getting to choose who you wanted to be, it was very empowering.

Following the leaving behind the shelter I had been at for 8 months, I decided to head to Colorado in hopes that my life would again, somehow I’d find that missing piece, that I’d uncover it, and find the life that was truly meant for me.

I stayed in a hostel for about a week, waited on a friend who never came to pick me up. Though he agreed to help me out, it just wasn’t in the cards.

I decided to give the whole camping thing a try and see how close I could get to a dream destination I was previously in love with, Aspen. You could say, they equally peaked my curiosities. Portland and Aspen.

I found a campsite that was located several hours from there. I decided I’d try out camping in the mountains at an elevation of just over 8,228 feet. I went into survival mode that felt a lot like those Cabela’s hunting/survival games. I did everything from hitchhiking after trying to find water to eventually getting water from a gas station, to attempting a 3+ hour walk one way to try to get more supplies. As there was no water on the campsite, a fire ban in place and the nearest log was your “bathroom.” With no car, a not exactly road ready bike, or Uber or Lyft, taxi drivers highly suspect, along with absolutely no public transportation nearby, it was starting to feel very survival based indeed.

I had too much luggage to walk with and my only hope was waiting for my friend who was out of state to swing by and pick me up. I was pretty stranded. I contemplated my life decisions while fearing for my life at times from very cold nights to an attempted theft, a fire ban means you can’t build campfires, the very thing that keeps you warm and heat up food or disinfect water if needed. It was getting very stressful after a while as I had to ration what I had for water, find a cellphone signal, maintain battery life and figure out what my next steps needed to be. I didn’t know how I’d leave the campsite unless I found a ride out and back into town. 

By luck and supportive sources and awesome energies I not only made it off the campsite, but back to the same hostel I had originally stayed at, which would eventually lead to a flight back from the state I tried to leave all my bad memories behind in…

When I say this had been one of several of the hardest times of my life this is NOT an exaggeration. 

During this time, I’ve done a lot of self-reflection, reestablishing my inner beliefs again, pondering, questioning everything, everything you could pretty much think of. I, one day, came across what would be come to being known as an emotional void. It’s a very scary place. Basically, an emotional void is a lack of certain emotions, a feeling of emptiness, as well as more amped up feelings of what you don’t want, what you really don’t desire to be feeling.

This could include everything from feelings of being really isolated, feeling misunderstood by almost everyone around, a huge lack of emotional support, feeling very much out of place, feeling quite a bit of heaviness, defeat, so much deep emotional pain, feeling so alone and feeling like no one deeply cares, a deep longing that can’t seem to be filled. You end up hurting so much, you feel like you’re emotionally dying inside at times, you feel you have no idea where your life is going. And man, it really has been hard.

But once again somehow, crazy supportive, loving forces I feel have been slowly helping guide me into strength to come back to into similar thought patterns as well as some new ones as to who I believed I used to be, what I stand for.

Currently I have been working on some things, a new job definitely helped a lot with that, and working on building a routine that brings me into focus can help with that.

Things I’ve been doing… I landed a job with a crew I think is pretty cool. That is very hard to find in this area, as it is very different from previously cities I’ve been in. I found a love for snowboarding, and I’m waiting for the snow so I can start it up for the season again! I believe this may be a form of an outlet as it seems to be something that helps with anxiety and depression! I’m currently driving again; I have my own car again with its own quirks and maintenance desires. And I’ve befriended a gray cat named Akira…

The highlights to all of this is that I know what Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD feel like and riding the waves of depression.. I’ve visited and stared into the gates of an emotional void. I’ve been that black sheep, I know overwhelm, I’m an hsp, an empath, a lunar Scorpio, an artist. Dude, I get it! I’ve written about some of this in my poems.

Like, with all the things that went on, guys, peeps, person’s, beings, whatever you’d like to be addressed as, I’m still here! I still have a crazy huge passion for life (I blame TikTok immensely for all their inspirational content and Insta,). I’ve gone on some seriously beautiful night walks, looked at the stars, found a passion in snowboarding, and a desire to play in the snow. I’ve taught myself online course Reiki, and I do like shoes!  With all of this, I still have hope for mankind, I love their unique perspectives and still carry a curiosity for life. Many times, honestly I’ve wanted to give up, and many several times I’m glad I didn’t…

The car accident actually helped me discover CBD, which helps reduce anxiety. I found Shadow’s Edge accidently while searching for apps for doing shadow work, or reworking your core beliefs, basically replacing the negative core beliefs one believes about themselves with more positive ones. I came across a mental health program at Crisis Stabilization Unit that helped a lot. I’m a big Naruto fan and started here and there playing video games on my phone again. I’ve been using this time to learn a lot about myself. I write poems, do entry level photography, I am reading an amazing life changing book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I blame the bookstore in Portland called Powell’s for increasing my love for books and honestly Portland in general ;).

I want to inspire you that no matter, how old you are, or how young you age, what your background may be, how you grew up, how you are now, what you believe, what condition mentally, emotionally you’re in, if you have a mental illness or not, if your religious or not, whether you think you have it in you or not, that you can in fact do whatever you put your mind to. You can do that special thing, go after that dream you have, get out of that rut, make cool stuff, find your squad, find your dharma, heal and reparent yourself. Deep inside you there’s that awesomeness that waits for you, waiting for you to give it the go opportunity, the come out and speak, express, your soul, dance, sing! That thing defines the feeling that this is your truth, the, “this is me thing(s),” that magical talent, dharma, your awesome thing that makes me come alive to the fullest is. You can do that, go do that! As I’ve told myself a million times and I’ll tell you also, you got this!

Life is meant to be explored, to learn the beauty about it, to embrace certain things in it, to connect with the depth in it, maybe you had some dark in it, but learn from it and utilize your experiences to discover the deepest, most beautiful depths, levels, realms, worlds awaiting you! Dive deep into it, into life, into you! Dude, you are meant to have awesome experiences, you’re not meant to be trapped in your past trauma, to be dragging your feet, to feel low, no dude, not at all!

I believe that you’re meant to enjoy this life as you can allow yourself to. You’re totally meant to have and create sweet adventures and find your path! Dude, follow what makes you feel fulfilled and alive! 

…” because what the world needs is more people who have come alive,” -a famous awesome person said that-

If you have depression?

Use it to learn from and create your own story, blaze your own path to awesomeness. Write about it! Express it! Sing about it! Dance!

Got anxiety?

Follow what’s true to you, find ways to reduce the overwhelm, distract it for a bit, find things that bring you the most chill/the closest to what you feel is your well-deserved peace! Something that can bring even the littlest bit of a smile on your face. Create or find those outlets! Use that energy as a strength! Anxiety doesn’t have to be a weakness!!!

So, what about PTSD?

Be gentle to yourself! Talk to yourself as you would an awesome friend, a pet you love, aka, your fur kid. Don’t beat yourself up! Affirmations work serious wonders! So does DMT therapy, you hold an object for a few minutes (five is ideal) and don’t judge anything, just observe the textures, what it looks like and check in with your thoughts.

Remember, this is your life, create your own unique version of it, paint it, draw it, write it, express it, dance it, sing it, rap it, let it be filled with much awesomeness, uniqueness and epicness! 🤙🏽

This is ETA and thank you.

This was my experience and thank you so much for listening. I hope hearing this helps you heal, that it gives you hope and that you create your own unique version for your life. I hope you sincerely find what you really love to do, what you’re searching for and do it with as much passion as you can, that you develop a way where you love the way you live, and you find beauty all around you. I desire that you find awesome friends, your squad, an awesome support system, uplifting feels where you really need it and life I folds in ways, beautiful ways you wouldn’t ever think possible. I hope you find whatever you deeply get you so excited and follow your deepest core that leads to a uniqueness that’s beautiful. 💕 I desire you find that hug when you need, the inspiration to strike at the perfect time and you find your flow.

Thank you for reading my life story involving an anxiety disorder, PTSD, and depression. Thank you for following me through my past and diving into a glimpse of the present and hearing about my experiences. I hope this seriously helps you heal, refreshes you, feels like a friend to you, that pumps you up, empowers you to the max, to inspire and move you in beautiful seriously sweet ways like you’ve never experienced before, and spurs you on like never before!

Remember, you got this! You are enough, you are worth it, you sparkle, and your beautiful!!!!

Namaste,

I’m: ETA, a snowboarder, a person who thinks too much, lol, takes pictures for fun, an hsp, infp, lunar Scorpio, empath, singer, writer, possibly future shoe designer, an artist 🏂🌲🤙🏽💜⚡🐉)