I am slowly reassembling the pieces of myself I broke off to match some external idea of what it means to be spiritual, to be healthy, to be self-loving.

About five years ago, I packed up the person I was into a few boxes and a bag. All my Goth clothes, my skirts, my piercings, my lingerie, my hair dye, my drug paraphernalia, my beauty products, my photography, everything. I gave most of it away. I burned the rest.

At the time, this was an act of self-liberation. I thought I was becoming someone else—a different person. I thought I had to clean out who I had been to make space for who I was becoming.

But I went too far.

Into those boxes of things that no longer served me, I shoved more than I should have. I was so hell bent on throwing out everything that didn’t belong that I threw out the parts that did.

It was hard to tell the difference. But to be honest, I didn’t try very hard.

Once upon a time, three or four days a week, I used to have the same ritual. Wake up. Smoke. Obsess about what I’d wear, say, and do when I went out. Exercise. Smoke. Spend three hours doing makeup and picking out clothes. Get high. Get drunk. Smoke. Lose myself in the crowds and the darkness. Dance the night away. Overdo it. Wake up with shame. Smoke. Repeat.

When I watch this video, I writhe with feeling. It was just like that.

Yet the rest of the time, I was either working, going to school, or churning my experiences into art. I loved singing, poetry, playing guitar. My lyrics and words were tortured, broken, and desperate, but they flowed out of me like blood out of a cut, especially on the days following a big drug binge.

In my life overhaul, I got rid of it all. All of it. The clothes. The makeup. The drugs. The obsessions. The overdoing it. The wake-up shame. The cigarettes. But also the poetry. The singing. The guitar. The dancing. The creativity. Everything. Gone.

To be honest, I sensed right away that something was wrong. Seeing my guitar collect dust in the corner of my bedroom gnawed at me. I tried to pick it up. Nothing came. So I had what I thought was an epiphany: my relationship to music was inextricably woven into my past identity. I’d have to craft a new relationship with it.

I’ve tried. I’ve been trying. And it’s been flat. Lifeless. And often off key. That’s my response to performance anxiety: clench up, get nervous, perform poorly, tell myself I’ll do better next time.

It’s been the same with dancing. Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to dance in recent years, I’ve felt distant, frozen, nervous. In my mind, dancing was intermingled with self-destruction. I’m not sure what I was afraid of more: relapse or failure.

Eventually, I stopped trying. Every time people would dance, I’d sit it out. Every time karaoke popped up, I’d watch. Every time someone pulled out a guitar, I’d listen.

And in all that time, I’ve felt a dull ache. A hunger. An emptiness.

At first, I thought this hunger was for drugs. That seemed like a reasonable conclusion. I wrote a post during my purge, a eulogy to the girl I used to be. I thought I was being haunted by desires to re-immerse myself into the darkness. Yes, I honoured my “past self” in that post. But I still dubbed her dead. Gone. Erased from existence.

But the truth is that once I stopped relating those desires to drugs, they didn’t stop. I just stopped paying attention to them. I became so accustomed to feeling a certain kind of emptiness that I appropriated it as a part of myself.

I lobotomized my life. Then, I wondered why everything felt empty.

But the repressed pieces of myself have slowly remerged.

The first thing to return was the poetry. In a moment of frustration a few years ago, I grabbed my pen and wrote my pain onto paper. I felt something release within me.

I realized, in that moment, how foolish it was of me to think I had to formulate a “positive” relationship with poetry and music. I wasn’t always positive! Regardless of how hard I work on self-awareness and self-love, I have bad days. I have pain. I feel sorrow. We all do. Even compassion can be incredibly painful. If my relationship to certain art forms flows easier out of “negative” emotions, why should I judge that?

Maybe this all seems obvious to you, but to me, it was mind-blowing. I started writing more, singing more, playing more. I started honouring my entire emotional spectrum—not just the light. The darkness too. All of it.

Like this, my relationship to music started to thrive again. I started singing in the shower and listening to songs again (instead of always filling my iPod with educational podcasts).

But still, something has been missing. In the past few months, I’ve finally discovered it. I’ve started dancing again. That was the big one. I never realized how important it was to me.

In April, I rented a little room in downtown Toronto and took a walk through my past. I went dancing in many of the places I used to go (at least, the ones that are still open). And each step along the way, I’ve found pieces of myself. I’ve found forgiveness for my past. I’ve found a deeper acceptance of the parts of the past that are still with me.

I’ve finally accepted that Vironika Wilde was not someone else. She was me. I am her—just more balanced, more healthy, more real.

Sure, I was addicted, self-destructive, and anxious. But I was also wild, passionate, and creative. I was already doing half the job. I never needed to kill Vironika Wilde. I needed to heal her. To let her be a part of me.

I thought I changed so much, but I didn’t. I simply cut out some unhelpful behaviours; but with them, I took the helpful ones too. Addiction and self-loathing had woven their tentacles around every part of my life. To unravel them required gentleness, patience, diligence. But I didn’t want to wait. I wanted change. I wanted freedom. I wanted liberation. I wanted it right then and there.

Now, I am slowly reassembling the pieces of myself I broke off to match some external idea of what it means to be spiritual, to be healthy, to be self-loving. I picked the scabs around my heart too early and, now, they are healing longer, later, and more painfully. There will be scars. I am paying the price for my impatience.

I suppose the biggest lesson has been to trust myself. To trust that I can enjoy the same things that once brought me joy without falling into the same holes. To trust that my authentic desires are leading me to a place of deeper self-understanding. To trust that, as long as I have self-awareness on my side, I can trust myself in any situation.

A few weeks ago, I went dancing with an old friend who ended up spending most of the night outside smoking. I didn’t like the song that came on, so I sat down. I looked around. All around me were people rushing either to the smoke pit or the bathroom. That’s how I used to be. Unable to handle to ebbs and flows, the ups and downs. Seeking always to go higher and higher, harder and harder.

I guess, in some ways, that’s still me. I want to reach higher and higher for my potential. I suppose the difference is that I can ride the waves, enjoy the moment, and lose myself in whatever comes my way. I don’t need to control how each night unfolds. I don’t need to always control how I feel.

Maybe I was afraid to return to dancing, to art, to the places where I once destroyed myself. Maybe I was afraid of relapsing. But I know now that my problems with addiction originated largely from within. I spent my days anxious, paranoid, and terrified. I had no other way to escape but to purchase liberation. But now, I am already free. My desires are different. Whether it’s food, wine, or coffee, I don’t have to fight with myself about not having too much. Enough is enough. I just listen to my body when it tells me so. And my body already knows.

A well-fed person is hard to seduce.

I think some of the things I shed still don’t belong in my life. I can’t imagine making space for makeup, ecstasy, or hair dye. But I’m not forcing myself to feel that way. It’s just how I feel. I want what I want. I don’t want what I don’t want. I think that’s what happiness is: when the things you want are the things that nourish you.

Somehow, writing this post to you has been the last puzzle piece of this discovery. It’s all out in the open now. Throughout this journey, I’ve placed so many strange limitations on myself because that’s who I thought I needed to be. Because that’s who I thought you needed me to be. But now I know that if you love me and support me, all you need me to be is happy.

And I am. I really am.


16 thoughts on “Reintegrating the Forgotten Pieces of Myself

  1. Beautiful post, Vironika!!! I just love so much of what you wrote and it is so easy to relate to a lot of it! “Addiction and self loathing had wrapped their tentacles around every part of my life”…wonderful analogy! And love the part: “To unravel them required gentleness, patience and diligence”. Thank you for being you and sharing your beautiful soul with us! ❤️

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and excited words, Brian! I am so glad I shared, and I’m so happy to hear that others can relate! ❤️

  2. You left the best for the end: “But now I know that if you love me and support me, all you need me to be is happy.

    And I am. I really am.”

    That sums it up for me. I love you for being the authentic ‘you’; for being vulnerable. Don’t ever change for anybody but you, and if you do, I will love you for doing it.

    1. Thank you for saying that, Troi. It’s so much more difficult in practice than in theory, but I accept the challenge. I may never be done becoming more authentic. This is okay with me now. It’s an endless journey. It’s so much more beautiful with fellow voyagers like you 🙂

  3. Vironika, this was an excellent post! I can relate to so many things you’ve mentioned. For me, reading it was like watching the intro for some movie that would consequently change my life. Whenever I read your posts, I feel emotional and gain some new insights into my own reality.

    Thank you so much and keep up the good work 🙂 <3

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words, Jelena. I am glad that I shared these thoughts. Some part of me said they were too messy and strange to share. I’m so glad I don’t believe that voice unconditionally!

  4. I love your expression of how you’ve integrated the past you with the present one.
    Mostly I consider my past as “my story,” but not me. Of course, what makes me who I am is partly based on my story.

    Do you think you will ever return to the self-destructive behaviors? Why or why not?

    I’d like to see what you say if you re-write this article in a year!

    1. To be honest with you, Don, I don’t think my behaviours of the past could ever be replicated again because their function in my life was different. I used drugs to meet certain needs that I didn’t understand or acknowledge. After I learned to meet those needs in healthier ways, drugs couldn’t touch that. Buying a feeling, no matter how intense, can’t ever replace being able to sustain it from day to day.

      And I’ve had many self-judging thoughts over the years. They haven’t evolved to full-scale self-loathing because they can’t. I can’t rewind what I’ve experienced or seen. I can’t forget my epiphanies or my experiences.

      To me, it’s not really about the specific things we do but how those things relate to our life circumstances. I’ve had that experience with alcohol, for example. It used to set me free from the endless barrage of self-loathing and anxious thoughts in my head, which is what made it so addictive. Now, it’s just not the same. I’m not tempted to drink myself into a hole because alcohol itself feels different. It tastes different. It makes me feel different. I feel a revulsion to it after a few drinks that I never felt before. Not because that revulsion wasn’t there (I think body was always speaking) but because other parts of me were speaking louder.

      I think everything is like that. I have no desire to do cocaine again, for example, but I am sure that, even if I did try it, it wouldn’t be the same. A well-fed person is hard to seduce, as I keep saying. So, I am not exercising any will power here. Running 10-20k gives me a better high than cocaine ever did. It lasts longer and is way cheaper. How could I ever go back to wanting to pay $80 for 15 minutes of a shadow of a feeling that I can get for free? If I were to insist on not doing it, I think that would keep me addicted because it would imply that I still want it but am keeping myself from doing it. I just don’t need it anymore. That’s what it comes down to.

      There’s that old story that ends with “Anyone can not smoke.” I suppose that’s how I feel. I trust myself. I trust life. I trust that, with self-awareness, I don’t need to shelter and protect myself from the world.

      I am curious about how I will evolve in the future as well. Only time can tell. I think we are always growing, learning, balancing, changing. There is no end to this journey, only tiny moments of celebration.

  5. Vironika,
    I came across your story after reading Jenny Manion’s book, and seeing mention of you on her website. In the past few weeks, I’ve watched some of your videos, read your first book, and am now reading your blog. I have never come across anyone that I can relate to so much! I am 33 years old, and over the last 2 years have been recovering from a myriad of things which are very similar to what you’ve gone through.
    I’ve decided to reach out to you now after reading this blog, because it’s exactly how I feel! I spent a decade (my 20s) drunk, stoned, numb, in a co-dependent marriage, just out of touch with reality and myself. This blog post came to me in the exact right time. I have a guitar that sits in the corner, I have a sewing machine that I can’t use because I get so emotional….but I realize now that I’ve connected all of my creativity with my past. All the horrors I put myself through also came at a time where I was super creative. I wrote poetry, played my guitar, made awesome clothing, painted. And the last few years I’ve felt like I needed to be something else. Like I have to find who I am…
    Your story has made me realize that not only do I need to learn from the past, but there are parts of me from my past that are still me, the parts that were shrouded with negativity but that are actually parts of the real me!
    I know I’ve grown, because I feel the same as you about the alcohol and smoking. My body doesn’t accept it like it used to, it doesn’t taste the same. I know when enough is enough. But the emotional part, the ego, sorting my thoughts and connecting with my higher self, it’s a work in progress.
    I want to get your new book but it’s not available right now, but hopefully soon! Thank you for you! I hope to be a teacher someday, to right a book, to connect with people, you are helping me to realize that. Thank you so much!

    1. Wow, Alicia! It sounds like you’ve been on an incredible journey! I’m so glad that we’ve stumbled across each other. It is a long, painful, rewarding road to integrate all our parts together, to get them to get along, to be who we were before we started building up defense mechanisms to protect us from the world. I applaud you for walking that path. It takes time, but it also takes courage. I’m proud of you <3

  6. How beautiful

    I think it’s safe to say that as we begin on the path of self discovery, we assume we found all the answers and parts of our old impulses re-emerge. And it’s so beautiful how you say that you are still her, just a more balanced healthy version of who you are. And I think that sums up what spiritually is in a nutshell, health. Healthy mind, body and spirit. And no we don’t have to fill our iPods with educational audios and ignore what excites us. Yes sometime I do like to hear about celebrity gossips and watch silly videos. And no I don’t have to act like I want to learn more about spirituality when I’m just not in the mood. And i now see that it’s all within, people don’t have to know anything about the path I am on. Like you said in a previous post, it’s an intimate relationship with myself. And yes! I can be myself, my impulsive, often sad, brilliant, crazy, paranoid, balanced self. This is who I am without apology. And if I think I have to achieve perfection as I increase in spirituality, then I still haven’t understood the core concept of being spiritual.

    1. That’s a great way of looking at it, Omar. No one has to know about the path you’re on. If you want to tell, you can. If you don’t, you don’t have to. It’s okay to be where you are. As long as we have our eyes, our hearts, and our minds open, every experience is a valuable one. Thanks for being here!

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