From a young age, I found myself very interested in things of a sexual nature. I would have dreams about experiences, or feel specific negative and positive sexual energy emanating off people. In high school, I was always asking my two best guy friends to tell me more about sex, asking what guys liked and how to give the best blow job. I lied to people about my sexual experiences, even though I was technically still a virgin. I could never explain what this obsession with sex was, I just felt like I knew that I was missing out on something.
Being a virgin longer than my friends felt like a massive rejection. In my early adolescent years, I got a lot of attention from guys but after gaining some weight in my awkward late teens, that all came to a halt. I didn't feel lovable and I certainly didn't love myself. This meant that any time I got any attention from the opposite sex, I would do whatever they wanted. Like many girls, I didn't learn how say the word "no" or set boundaries when it came to men. I ended up in too many situations to count where men took advantage of me, or I engaged in something I knew I didn't want to do, but I was afraid to say anything for fear of them taking away the attention I so craved.
When I lost my virginity, he didn't know it was my first time, hell, he still doesn't know it was my first time. But it certainly opened pandora's box. The door to what I had been curious about for so long was finally open and I busted through it. I was working in a bar at the time and had ample opportunity to hone my flirting skills, which turned into honing my sex skills.
My first "real" relationship was an incredibly toxic, abusive relationship with a much older man. But it wasn't the first time I had been involved with someone of an inappropriate age, in fact that was basically my M.O. In high school, I got into an uncomfortable situation with one of my advisors, I dated one of my managers from work, I flirted with older colleagues, married men, men in relationships, my constant lack of boundaries meant that no one was off limits to me.
I never saw what I was doing as a problem, I told myself I felt empowered by it. I used to have my own catch phrase, "men are feeble creatures". When I studied abroad on Semester at Sea, we visited 16 countries and I made it a goal to sleep with a different man in each country (thank goodness I didn't achieve that one). I even started writing a book, Chronicles of a Perpetually Single Girl, in which I detailed all of my sexual exploits. I was "doing it for the plot" before that became something to brag about on Tik Tok.
I later learned, through some very intensive inner work, counseling, and mentorship that these behaviors were all rooted in a past history of sexual abuse. I faced sexual trauma at a young age and stuffed it down deep, a coping mechanism that worked well for me in my early years. Unfortunately, as I know now, repressing things only means they manifest in other ways until they are faced. For me, this meant sexual addiction as a teen and early adult. When I started to look at the root of this addiction, I was able to seek out the help I needed. I completed the 12-step program, exploring my own spirituality, and through this learned what my sexual energy meant to me, and why it was so important to guard that energy away from the wrong people.
I had always had a personal yoga practice, however, a spiritual practice was only something I began to embrace when living in Mexico. My relationship with God was confusing, like my relationship with myself. After that first relationship while living in Mexico went up in flames, a monthlong yoga teacher training in India seemed like the logical option. I had taught yoga before while studying abroad on the ship but this immersive training led me to a passion and understanding of the philosophy of yog that I had never experienced. This brought a whole new kind of healing into my life and a zest for continued learning. I received 500 hours of teaching training, I went on Vipassana meditation retreats, I dove deep into spiritual healing.
When I began teaching again, I found a new confidence. The way I can make people feel after a good class or meditation session is a new level of rewarding and I wanted to be able to do it on a grander scale. After class, I was often engaged with students asking questions or asking for advice. I quickly felt out of my scope, I wanted to help without doing harm to people who were in search of healing. This is when I decided to get my master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. I found a program that specialized in holistic studies, the perfect combination of the eastern healing methods I adored with the scientific western world's psychological influence.
This is when The Sunshine Practice was born. I had people reaching out on social media asking what changed, what I had done because I seemed so different. How they could live a life like what I was living.
My teachings now are an amalgamation of all the things I've learned across all of these experiences. It's my way of giving the world what I wish I had as a hurting, confused young woman. This blog is my musings along the way, after all, there's only so much I can put into an Instagram caption or cleverly planned out Tik Tok.