Howdy friends! Wow. I cannot believe I just said howdy, but HEY, maybe I am just acting awkward because I am a TOUCH nervous to share today’s post with you. In keeping with the theme of this month, I want to get reaaaaaaallll vulnerable with you today as I encourage you that YOU and your messy story are incredible, and are worthy of sharing.
If you’ve ever felt down in the dumps because someone made you feel insignificant due to your past… this is for you.
If you’ve ever been made to feel unworthy because your past was “too much to handle”… this is for you.
If you’ve ever felt guilt and shame because someone looked at you with judgement based on what you’ve been through… this is for you.
Today is the day we stand up against the ones who try to steal the best of us by reinforcing the worst. We each have a story to tell and that story has shaped WHO we are today. Let me tell you, it was also not by accident. God pre ordained all of these things to happen for a reason…. to transform you into the beautiful person you are today.Today is the day we stand up against the ones who try to steal the best of us by reinforcing the worst. We each have a story to tell and that story has shaped WHO we are today. Click To Tweet
I recently read Brene Brown’s book, Rising Strong, and in it she talks about nurturing the stories we tell ourselves about OUR stories. Just because someone failed to see the value in YOU, does not mean you are less worthy. She recommends writing down your story to truly capture the depth, creativity, and uniqueness of it. Through expressive writing we can actually RECEIVE healing. By writing the thoughts, memories, stories in our minds down, we are able to translate messy experiences into language. It allows us to finally grasp the why our beliefs are a certain way, why our reflexes are the way they are, why we are sensitive to some things over others. In the process, it helps us not only to HEAL, but also propels us into facing it straight on and accepting it for what it is.
So that brings me to you today. To not only encourage YOU to put words to your story but also to face the deep dark, swept aside hardships of your past and discover a new found freedom in knowing those chains can be broken. You need not be owned by your past, but rather you can OWN your past as a badge of victory to showcase love, encouragement, and hope to others.You need not be owned by your past, but rather you can OWN your past as a badge of victory to showcase love, encouragement, and hope to others. Click To Tweet
My Messy Story […at least some of it]
Why hellooooo there lovey friends! I’m Kait. My full name is Kaitlyn, but the only people who really call me that are my family and closest best friends [and you have to earn that right!]. I currently live in Santa Monica in the gorgeous and ever-so sunny Los Angeles. The rest of my family currently lives in Texas -yeehawwww! When people ask where I grew up, I hardly know how to answer. I was born in Canada [eh?], lived 15 years in CT, moved to Ohio for High School, migrated to Texas for college, then jumpstarted my fashion career in NYC for years until I finally landed in the gorgeous sunshine state of California. Moving around so much was one of the main catalysts for sparking my personal zest for different kinds of cultures and people, as well as a deep love for cities.
In terms of work, if you haven’t already noticed [hehe] I am a fashion, faith, and lifestyle blogger with the desire of being vulnerable with YOU in the hopes of sparking a relatable sense of encouragement and inspiration. I originally started my blog about 4 years ago as a means of sharing positivity and light in the dark industry of fashion as I was working full time as a buyer for Barneys New York. I recognized through my work experiences that in the industry there was a true lack of knowing self worth and a skewed view of deeper identity as so many tied their worthiness to fashion, their work, and constant comparison. Over the last 4 years my blog has grown into what it is now; a place that spans beyond fashion into touching the lives of women in many different areas from faith, relationships, dating, work, beauty, style and encourages them in all that they do thrive with PURPOSE!
I simultaneously have a startup social media creative agency called, KaitKat, that I started just a year and a half ago alongside my fierce bestie/business partner/ PIC Kat Hennessey. I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur, but never really knew how I would ever get there. I always thought that life was just for all those bold yet “brilliantly out of their mind” people who were kind of crazy and pretty exotic. Don’t get me wrong, some are [HA!], but what I learned is that I was doing myself a disservice by automatically stereotyping myself as a corporate only, career climbing ladder, kinda gal.
Something I evidently learned is that NO DREAM is impossible, if it’s a dream He has put on your heart. God truly opened the door for this business to birth as he simultaneously and clearly shut the door on my “dream” career as a senior buyer here in Los Angeles. If it wasn’t for Him helping me to see so clearly that I could no longer work 60+ hour work weeks and continue sacrificing my time, health, and relationships, I probably would have never left that high paying “dream” fashion job. That is the TRUTH!
In just one year, my business partner, Kat, and I have grown our business to be a successful social media creative company and were profitable in just our first year of business. Some days are super difficult. We are constantly making changes and sacrifices, but I also find that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am more fulfilled, more balanced, more restful, more at peace, more joyful than EVER before in my life. I have found through career that if it’s truly a vision God has put on your heart, the sacrifice is always worth it… He WILL truly provide abundantly more than you can ever imagine.
On a personal level, I have to admit to all you lovely readers that I could not do anything in this life TODAY without two things:
1) pursuing Jesus and opening my heart to His steadfast love daily
2) my amazingly loving girlfriends, and wise mentors that help to champion me, love me, and bear with me through life’s joys and trials.
I am an ultra girly girl who is always dressed up, and who loves gathering and connecting others. I am often found in full skirts and heels and try to host at least 1-2 group get togethers a month…if not more! I have often struggled with people always saying I am “the most dressed up person ever” almost with a negative connotation as though it is excessive to dress nicely and wear makeup. Battling these unfavorable messages from others that I was always the most dressed up person, made me often feel like I was an outsider. Through searching my heart I learned to embrace that fashion is not my identity, but an outward expression of my inner personality. It’s true that a woman’s true beauty does not come from outward adornment, but rather from the heart of the woman. This is FIRST and foremost the truth I have worked to discover throughout my life. After knowing this truth to the depth of my core, I ALSO strongly believe there is value in appreciating the value of being a fashionable and beautiful woman as God gave women physical beauty.
My walk with Jesus has been a rollercoaster of sorts to say the least! I guess the best way to describe it would be a wild ride that I have always stayed on, but that has definitely had its low and very weak moments of little faith. I grew up Catholic, in a unique Catholic church unlike many I have attended since. Our community was very tight knit and as a family we often had the priests over for dinner. In high school I started going to a non-denominational church and absolutely loved it, though it was so different from the traditions of the Catholic faith! Experiencing worship where people were passionately praising the Lord opened my heart to feeling Jesus on a more personal level through music. If I am being really honest, though, I was more of a believer than a true follower of Christ until I moved to NYC about 6 years ago.
It was in New York that I started to truly understand what a deep, loving relationship with Jesus was. I also started to learn what allowing the Holy Spirit into my heart truly meant. I was able to experience what abiding, dwelling, and delighting in Him truly looked like. Unfortunately, understanding and meeting Jesus at THIS kind of a level didn’t just happen willingly. It took a much harder hurdle to see Him for who He really was.
I met Jesus at THIS kind of a deep level while I was going through an abusive relationship that sought to steal every truth I knew about myself. Emotionally, mentally, and physically that toxic relationship sought to destroy every ounce of self love I had for myself, and it succeeded in many ways. I found myself broken, battered, shameful, and empty through that relationship which lasted on and off for 2.5+ years. I distinctly remember thinking during the second episode of abuse that my life was going to end. I called out for help but none of my neighbors would listen because they were so immune to hearing fighting screams from my apartment. Praise the Lord above, despite zero help my life was spared. I woke the next day. The next day after that severely tumultuous night, I decided not to tell a soul. I was filled with shame. Embarrassed. Weak. I felt like a fool because I allowed this to happen over and over.
It was in this moment, when I literally felt I had NO one else to turn to, when I lie face DOWN in the thick of the mess, wounded, tear-filled, bruised, and so confused, that I felt my loving Jesus come sweeping in. He took my battered body, tattered heart, and weakened mind off the ground and wrapped me into His gentle, loving arms. It was this moment that began a deep journey of re-defining and re-discovering love for myself. A love based and rooted in knowing who HE claims me to be: a spotless. blameless. loved. worthy. smart. kind. beautiful. treasured….fearless DAUGHTER of the king. This was not the end, but rather the beginning of a broken, tattered heart on a journey to heal and become whole.
I believe in so many ways that it takes true trials to understand just how great our God truly is. Since this all encompassing abusive relationship, it has been quite the journey of discovering deep love for myself In Christ. There are certainly things that knocked me back down again, but those times I was stronger. Those times, I recovered more quickly. Those times, I started to choose truth over lies. Most recently, in a breakup that I could not have never foreseen, I noticed a sincere change in my heart. Instead of feeling helpless and unloveable, I felt empowered knowing that my God is SO good that He protected me from something that was not in His will. Experiencing heartbreak as redirection VS. rejection is HARD WORK let me tell ya! But this time it was made possible due to my willingness to accept, understand, and fully grasp His deep love for me.
Though that abusive relationship years ago was one hardship of my life, it is not the only one. I have dealt with a variety of trials around me including drug addiction, deep deception and betrayal from close friends, physical abuse, cheating, rape, divorce, crippling anxiety, autoimmune disease, health imbalances, body dysmorphia, and financial stress [the day when I had $1 in my bank account was ROUGH]. Though what I believe is the greatest testament of them all through these tribulations is that I know NONE of the pain, heartbreak, stress, negativity, or confusion was without great gain. You see, I know that each and every part of my past plays an irreplaceable part in my current story. Each and every ounce of it contributes to the woman I am today, and the woman I am going to continue to grow into by His guidance. That is why I can sit here and share all of this with you today.
Today, I have nothing but a sweet, loving, glorious relationship with the Lord. I now spend my days highly involved at my church, Vintage Church LA, and purposely choose to only surround myself by people that also speak life and LOVE into me. I would characterize my relationship with Jesus now as a sweet best friendship: the kind that I look forward to experiencing daily, and that I miss deeply when I put my own busy schedule above time with Him.
I am not ashamed by the scars of my past, but rather excited to showcase them as badges of honor for what He has brought me through. Through EACH of these hardships the Lord has revealed Himself to me in deeper, sometimes unexplainable ways, and has immensely changed my life for the better…. all for His glory! Also, don’t get me wrong… I STILL have struggles. Some of the things I listed above are not even fully resolved. Every day we have a choice to make. The choice to pick up our cross and carry ON knowing that it will all be redeemed.
Today I want to take a second to write down the OLD TRUTHS I used to believe about myself, and the NEW truths I now know to be FACT.
Shameful // Blameless
Undeserving // Worthy
Undesirable // Lovable
Failure // Blessed
Useless // Important
Insignificant // Influential
Ugly // Beautiful
Defeated // Conquerer
So NOW it is your turn. Now is your time to not let your past own you, but to OWN your past as a badge of victory for what He has helped you overcome. How are you going to own YOUR own messy, beautiful story?
Photos by the amazing Kat Hennessey