Over this past month working on my book I have been dipping into my past. I have done a lot of work to heal my past and when going back to write about it, my mind does not know it's not real anymore. I began to relive one of the hardest moments of my life. This was in 1996 when I was 24 years old and working in the fashion industry. I was living my dream and moving towards it every day. Loving NYC and the quick trends; rising and being on the pulse fed me. I searched as a fashion editor for the perfect item to use on a cover and reported on the next emerging trend in denim. I loved my life and felt untouchable. Then one day it was snatched right from under me when I woke up not being able to feel my feet and it never went away.
I went from searching trends to a tireless search to find out why my feet were tingly and numb. This went on for months and none of the doctors were able to tell me anything. I went from moving up the NYC fashion ladder and living the "high life" to being afraid to have a glass of wine at dinner. Talk about change of priorities. I had no idea what was "wrong" with my health. Instead of shopping for the next great item of clothing I was shopping to find the best doctor to tell me what was going on with my body. This search was leading me nowhere. If you have ever gone through being on top of the world to being freaked out that you may have cancer, lupus, multiple sclerosis or some other disease you cannot pronounce, then you may have thought what I did, "Could my doing acid at a Dead Show make me sick?"
My life was focused on looking good, being at the right parties and doing whatever it took to make it to the top. Working at Prada had its own pressure and stigma, but you had to work to get into the inner circles. Drugs were a must and I did pass on cocaine and heroine but had my taste of others to be "cool". My hair looked great as did my wardrobe and I hid my going through one of the scariest moments of my life. I quit smoking, drinking and any other recreational drug as it was all I could do, not knowing what was going on.
My mind was filled with questions and what kept coming up was if my using drugs could cause me to come down with any disease. I feel that many of us, when we are faced with a life-threatening situation, begin to shed the cloaks and taste more of our humanity. I tried marijuana at 7 and moved to alcohol, mushrooms, acid, and some others I don't remember.
I never tried cocaine or ecstasy -- just knowing what it did to your spinal fluid made me cringe enough to pass on the glamorous high. Drugs never seemed in fashion to me but I wanted to be accepted and that became the only reason to do it. No one in the "business" knew that I grew up around drug dealers and saw some nasty people doing nasty things that gave me the best advertisement to say NO!
But when was confronted with my own health, I was afraid and pulling at straws to find out what caused the lack of feeling in my body. Looking good became secondary to wanting to feel good. Now I wanted to know who, what, where, when and WHY my body was breaking down! I felt myself blaming myself for being stupid especially if I could of prevented my own diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis by not doing any drugs at all.
If you are going through anything similar please don't beat yourself up. Most of us are ignorant and think, "it won't happen to me." But it can and sometimes it will. Today I have found that anything can be the stimulus and after the fact it just that. What you can do is change the course once you get information and keep on that track -- not looking back.
Being ignorant to what we have done in our teens and twenties has its cost. We can do our best and be more cautious and sometimes it may be too late. I wonder if it will matter to our children when they are out partying. One of the conversations I've been having is about our future and using the past to better navigate change. Some say and I believe that there is going to be a shift in our global awareness when we meet the year 2012. Will our change in consciousness open our children to say no to drugs and wanting to fit in? Will our change in consciousness make preventative health important in society and the world? Will our change in consciousness open us up to become aware that we can accept who we really are and stay sober to enjoy it. Together let's take the past from haunting us to helping us to become more responsible.