WITH CARA WYKOWSKI, RECOVERING SUPERWOMAN &
DIVINE BADASS; MINDSET MAVEN & PERSONAL STYLIST
I guess you could call me a “Wounded Healer”. I help recovering superwomen get out of their Spanx and back into their sparkle. We move from contraction to expansion — literally and figuratively!
Many brilliant women are disconnected from their own desires because they’ve deployed all of their energy achieving at the office, raising picture perfect children and taking care of everything in the world but themselves. How do I know? Because I myself fell culprit to the seduction of “having it all”. I was smart, educated, motivated and too damn stubborn to ask for help. I knew I was in trouble when I found it hard to remember the last time I acted silly or laughed so hard I peed my pants. For the life of me I could not recall what it felt like to be content let alone happy.
When had I disconnected from joy? From my happiness? When did I abandon ME?
My problem was that I could not stop DOING. I loved to be busy because “by doing I was being”. If I were busy then I must be important, right? Everyone needed me, right? Maybe, actually hardly but what I discovered was my addiction keeping crazy busy kept the voices in my head on muted volume. As soon as I attempted to relax, the critical chatter would crank up the volume and I’d be held hostage to my disappointment, frustration and pain. Why feel shitty when instead I could feel productive, engaged and needed? The choice was obvious.
MY STRATEGY FAILED. I WAS BUSY AND I WAS MISERABLE.
I won’t bore you with all of the details of what I affectionately term my “DD” or decade of drama but here’s a snapshot. I manifested a Beauty Queen/Martha Stewart exterior while my interior was one hot mess. A perfect storm was brewing from a lifetime of improperly managing my emotions. Nothing satisfied me or excited me. I could not control what I desperately needed to control. I feared leaving the house because I might dissolve into a snotty mess or tear you to shreds with my cruel and venomous tongue. As I said, I was one hot mess – and it was my shameful secret!
I WOULD HAVE RATHER WALKED NAKED THROUGH RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC THAN ADMIT I NEEDED HELP.
Then there was my mindset. I was entrenched in believing that everyone else was to blame for unhappiness. It seriously didn’t occur to me that I might be making myself sick or that I was contributing to the problem. It was far more fun bitching about my problems than taking responsibility for any change required; or so I thought!
In all seriousness, if you have feelings of hopelessness, you are not alone. Women are twice as likely to suffer depression and anxiety disorders than men. The supersized stigma surrounding mental health issues silence us and we hide from the truth. During my depression I began journaling as a healing method followed by posting on social media. Now almost ten years later, my “healing method” has evolved into a desire to create a community where it is safe to be real and a place where women support women. All feelings are valid. No should shaming here!
I was sitting in traffic during the summer of 2011 when I had the splendid realization that my critical voice must have gone on sabbatical. Hallelujah! A new voice had come to town; a voice more comparable to a trusted girlfriend. At times she is sassy but never shaming or pushy. She always told me the truth and helped me see my strengths. We problemed solved together. With her help, I could effectively manage the mean girl inner critic! Viola’, My Girlfriend Voice was born!
Most people are familiar with what we call the inner-critic; the voices in our head which are driven by fear and anxiety. At last count I think I named at least 14 of these biatches in my mean girl collective – and I’ll tell you more about them later. My Girlfriend Voice — the OPPOSITE of your Inner Critic — is your supportive and intuitive voice. She doesn’t shame, humiliate, belittle, criticize or threaten you. She is your gal-pal-bestie-got-your-back-kind-of support system sister. She’s been with you since Day 1 and no one knows you better!
MY GIRLFRIEND VOICE DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT I AM LESS THAN, TOO MUCH OR NOT ENOUGH. IN FACT, IT IS THE OPPOSITE. I AM GOOD, RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. FLAWSOME – FLAWED AND AWESOME!
I love tapping into that unadulterated omnipresent support system! My Girlfriend Voice doesn’t require any fancy equipment, a guru in Beverly Hills or even a trip to a remote mountain top. No talent is required. You just need the willingness to pause and listen in to the voice inside you.
My Girlfriend Voice is a community where we focus on developing your Inner Whisperer, your Inner Mentor. It’s a platform where curiosity breeds compassion. I still dance with my demons so writing and illustrating My Girlfriend Voice helps hold me accountable. This community is integral to my wellness yet old habits die hard and it is easy to return the that old comfortable sorry state even knowing it’s not good for me. I can go back there from time to time but it’s not a place I’ll take up residence. I promise you, you’ll hear about all parts of my journey.
I AM COMMITTED TO BELIEVING THAT EVERYTHING I HAVE BEEN THROUGH IS A GIFT.
Sexual abuse, heartbreak, divorce, deaths, supporting a loved one with substance use disorder, dysfunctional coping skills, loving a narcissist, parenting then becoming an empty nester, dating after 50…these are all gifts…..the kind of gifts that sometimes “hurt so good”. Do you know the Japanese term kintsugi? It refers to an art form where cracks in pottery are filled with precious metals. Breakage and repair are part of an object’s history, not something to disguise. I really love this concept because I think I fell apart in order to fall together. Broke down to break open. My cracks and scars are part of my history and with this history I shine with wisdom, leaving no room for shame. Flawed and awesome = flawsome.
THIS QUOTE CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF MY GIRLFRIEND VOICE:
"THERE IS A VOICE INSIDE OF YOU THAT WHISPERS ALL DAY LONG, “I KNOW THIS IS RIGHT FOR YOU, I KNOW THIS IS WRONG.” NO TEACHER, PREACHER, PARENT, FRIEND OR WISE-MAN CAN DETERMINE WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU – JUST LISTEN TO THE VOICE THAT SPEAKS INSIDE.” ~ SHEL SILVERSTEIN
So here I am, a single middle-aged woman and I have never been happier. Life just keeps getting better. I feel compelled to share the wisdom I have gained from my learnings, research and struggles. I hope you will come along for the adventure because you too deserve a life that you love! Why survive when you can thrive?
FROM THE HEART,
The My Girlfriend Voice helps recovering superwomen learn to care for themselves, set boundaries, devote time to things that give them a sense of meaning and purpose, and most importantly, hear the whisper of their own Girlfriend Voice. Bye bye, Inner Critic!
The Fear Factor
Triggers & the Inner Critic
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