Outing Your Shadow: Caring What People Think and Unconditional Love

Feb 16, 2022

When I first began my (conscious) manifestation practice in late August of 2020, I didn’t know it would lead me to spirituality. I genuinely didn’t understand energetics, and I still thought yoga was exercise and stretching. (As an ex gymnast, I thought I was “good” at yoga… ha.)

The truth is, at that moment in my life (aged 26), I was searching for something. Furthermore, I’d been deeply wounded by the Christian church in which I was raised— and had tried to write it all off over the past 6 years.

I was caught in self-destructive looping patterns, I hated myself and my family, and I felt like life was happening TO me.

 

When I discovered Lacy Philips and the work from To Be Magnetic, I had merely asked the universe (quite exasperatedly) to send me some way to start doing self therapy days before… I remember using the exact phrase “I wish I could just hypnotize myself”. The truth is, I knew there was more. I’d recently heard of human design (my incredible friend Mackensey called me out as a self projected projector without ever looking at my chart. God bless) and inner child/shadow work. Granted, it all seemed vague. And the trending topic of manifestation sounded like some weird new expression for answered prayers or magic.

 

Now, I’m actually not trying to keep going down that vein. I’m not going to sit here and explain manifestation energetics, nor am I going into Human Design, etc. This post is actually quite personal. Its an expression of one of my deepest shadows and insecurities, which I realize many people may actually resonate with. And that’s the goal here… to integrate my shadow and also allow people some space for healing (hopefully).

 

The empowered and conscious woman I am today is not the hurting, naive, and wanting girl I was several years ago.

 

Actually, the majority of people who have met me, and moved on from my inner circle, knew a very very different person. And this has been a source of pain and shame for me over the past two years.

 

My whole life, I cared so so much about what people think of me. Call it childhood trauma (I was a people pleaser, with a fawning trauma response by default), call it conditioning. Doesn’t matter. I wanted my parents to be happy with me. And I desperately wanted friends, which can be a difficult request when you’re homeschooled and your parent’s decide to move to a new state.

 

By the time I was a young adult, out in the world (which I also sprinted out the door at 16-17), I was blindly naive. I made irresponsible choices. I played victim all too often because I was hurting and angry. I lied to fit in. And my family wasn’t happy with my choices, which I naturally responded with by believing I would always be a fuck-up.

All along, I thought I KNEW. I thought I was aware, conscious, maybe even mature.

 

In a way, I was aware. I was intellectual. And I was adaptable… but I was naive. And that was my biggest fear. So I began to embody this character who didn’t care what anyone thinks. I was angry, and I tried to be quiet. Because if you’re quiet, no one can know if you’re missing the picture. And without realizing it I sought validation from a select few people, who “I didn’t care about” consciously, but desperately wanted to fit in with. First, it was the local church community. Then, my local rock climbing community. Or my ex-tattoo artist boyfriend and his friends. The film photography community and film lab I worked at. The rave scene. The Atlanta Edgewood party scene….

 

Of course, we all embody all aspects of the human experience. Which means my darkest secrets aren’t that unique to just me, and my strengths are also shared. I’m no better than anyone else, nor am I any worse.

It’s funny now to look back. I played a myriad of characters (sometimes quite poorly).

 

Eventually in 2018, I quit my job, sold everything, and went on a months long road trip with my partner. She and I reflected our shadows and pains to each other CONSTANTLY. She was a regular reminder of my shortcomings, my naive nature, my unaware behaviours. She was so “on top of it”.

Meanwhile, she was irresponsible and I rejected that, without realizing that I was irresponsible as well. When we left on that trip I was debt free and had savings…. I came back broke and with a little debt too. I blamed her… which wasn’t fair.

When we got back from the road trip, I got the courage to ask my father for a business loan of $20,000. I was convinced that with the right capital I’d be able to skyrocket my way into the validation, security, and freedom I’d always wanted. Of course… I didn’t want ANYONE to know that the capital loan came from my father. That would be too privileged. Everyone will judge you.

So I kept it a secret.

I also kept up a front over the next two years while my business slowly failed, and I slowly watched the loaned money slip through my fingers. Then COVID happened. I’d bought a Mercedes Sprinter van so I could do “van life”, and continue my dream of traveling.. of course my father helped me with the down payment (another secret).

But since COVID, I hadn’t responsibly set up my business, and I wasn’t eligible for unemployment. So I was going to start missing payments on my van…  I did what I thought I had to do, and drained my IRA. When I told my dad a year later, he cried for me. And all along, I continued to feel like a failure…. why couldn’t I just make the right decisions?! (ps. I did make a desperate attempt to make some of the money back, using stock trading and Bitcoin… & it worked)

Irresponsible. Failure. Naive. Unaware. Privileged. All of these are my shadow words I’ve been working through since August of 2020.

 

Now I realize… we all make mistakes.

I was “irresponsible” because I couldn’t just take someone’s word for it, I had to experience and learn.  And I was a “failure” because I wasn’t willing to live on someone else’s terms. I was bold; a cliff jumper— a risk taker.

“Naive” and “unaware” were words I hated because I hadn’t experienced life in the same way as a majority of other people, and it made me feel less than enough. But it also showed me how adaptable and open I can be.

Finally, I was “privileged” because my father slaved away to give me the opportunity to stand on his shoulders. There’s nothing wrong with being given an opportunity! The only bad kind of privilege is a privilege that looks down on others, doesn’t help, and doesn’t recognize what they have as a gift.

 

How I’m Rewriting My Story + Unconditional Love

I’m trading “irresponsible” for “maverick”, “failure” for “risk-taker and assertive”, “naive and unaware” for “natural and open-minded”, and “privileged” for “highly favored and chosen”. It’s a blessing to be both ends of the spectrum. It’s a blessing to still be here.

Its a blessing that through all these mistakes and failures I was still able to:

  • Roadtrip the West Coast
  • Visit Puerto Rico, Peru, and Spain
  • Always have a roof over my head, even when not with my family
  • Learn Spanish fluently
  • Move to Mexico
  • Learn Pottery and Aerial Silks in the circus
  • Get YTT Certified (yoga teacher)
  • Heal my family relationships
  • Find a husband
  • Start a two more businesses (Leila Sol Co. and The Nuerogenesis Podcast, my newest projects)
  • Transition J.J. Au’Clair (my photo biz) to selling contracts and only taking empowerment photos (aka: what lights me up)
  • Write my first recipe book
  • Build out an apartment in Mexico with my husband
  • Learn high self worth and confidence

 

Today I realize that the biggest block we can have in this life is to give too many fucks. You cannot care about what everyone else thinks. If we are always seeking to please everyone else, we’ll discover that we’re failures; AND that we’re immensely unhappy.

Now I’m sailing through life (going with the flow, but working to harness the wind and maintain the boat… felt right). I’m not perfect; I’m human. An I’m a hell of a lot more aware than I was. I’m working through my pain points, blocks, and shadows. Because recognition and integration are the only ways forward.

So now you know.

If you read all of this… you know every shortcoming, failure, and pain point.

You know that I’m not the same person, the same character, yet I still fear that I’ll be these things again. This is the integration process….

This time, I can unconditionally love myself. And I’ll be damned if anyone else in my life dares to judge me or hold my shadows against me… Because we’re all just here being humans. We all make mistakes.

And honestly, I’m not willing to accept conditional love anymore.                  Are you?

I hope this was expanding and healing for you. Feel free to check out posts I’ve shared on my blog. Here are a few to get started:

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  1. Léa says:

    Thank you for opening up and sharing this !
    We have all insecurities and it’s such a work to observe and be willing to change!
    This texte is so empowering and inspiring !
    Thank you !!!🤍

  2. Ray J. says:

    Thank you for the vulnerability and the raw authentic words.
    Our souls crossed paths once in Atlanta while working in tex-mex. I saw you and I think you saw me too. Im so proud of you and your journey. Keep on lighting the world with your dynamic adventures. Cheers!

  3. Susan Hamilton says:

    Jenelle, as I read your journey it reminded me of my own and of others as we differentiate from our family to explore and discover. While your very personal experience feelt unique and lonely, you were on an archetypal journey. You, however, have made your reflections and discoveries public and that takes a courage that I never had. I and your great uncle are applauding you and we welcome you to the life-long spiritual journey. I look forward to reading more of your blog entries and hearing about your next discoveries. Blessings on you, dear one.

  4. Rosa Rivera Pelham says:

    Well, I have always loved all the “versions of you” I have seen throughout your life. You are truly special and will always be my sweet, smart, and talented Junebug 😘. Love you forever Sweetie. ❤️Tia

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