Photography by Rachael Zimmerman 

Edits by Kayte Demont

 

How do you find yourself? I’ve been asking myself this question for my entire life (almost 28 years). I’m a visual learner and an extrovert. That means that I not only get my energy from being around other humans, but I also take in everything that I see. I gain inspiration from other people’s style, I am effected by people’s energies more than the average person. While I tend to view these attributes as positives, lately they seem to be sucking me dry. I’m overwhelmed by the new people around me, I miss my friends that I’ve spent years cultivating a relationship of trust with, and although I genuinely love people, I’ve been retreating into my shell (typical of my Zodiac sign Cancer) and craving time to just be… alone. 

The reality of the situation is that I’m lost AF. I have been for a while. I moved to LA and thought I had it all figured out but I absolutely floundered without my support system of friends and a clear mind to navigate with. Just prior to relocating across country, I had been laid off from my dream job. I thought I’d be emotionally fine because it wasn’t as if I did anything to warrant the layoff. The company simply decided to go in a more sales-based direction and as a result, the entire country got fired. Yes, you read that right, the entire United States sector was shockingly laid off in a matter of hours. What I didn’t account for was that I needed time to process and heal. It was the first time that I had really lost anything that I wanted (and worked for) and instead of slowing down, I pushed forward full steam ahead – focusing on all of the wrong things. I wish that it had happened differently, but this truly was the start of an aggressive downward spiral. I was in limbo for what seemed like forever. I was living in a space that wasn’t mine for months longer than planned and during this time I literally drank and smoked and drugged myself into a state of perpetual numbness. Or at least that’s what I thought – in reality, those feelings that I was trying so hard to not deal with were bubbling up in ways that caused me to lash out and break down at the drop of a hat. In my mind, I had it all together. Things were fine! This was just a rough patch, I’d get through it eventually. I just needed to make it to LA. 

Oh how I wish LA had been different. Of course it was better at first. New people, new scene, new me – who dis?! But people, places and things can’t fix you when you’re emotionally broken. Had I really believed that at the time, perhaps I would’ve been able to focus my attention on things that were productive and healthy. I would like to give myself credit here in that I did actually try very hard to make my life in LA work. My photography improved immensely and I met a lot of people who were able to introduce me to other people who have collaborated with me on some very cool projects. The emptiness was still there though. I had developed crippling anxiety, the kind that my mind thought it could handle but my body told me otherwise. One thing after the next fell through and by the end of the year I had spent there, I was a blubbering mess of tears and stress and I felt as though the last two years of my life had been a dream or a really whack trip. My body was shutting down and my tourettes were more apparent and noticeable than ever. I was partying 5 nights a week, I was doing drugs more than recreationally and I was drinking a bottle of wine by myself, every night. It’s easy to think things are better than they are when you’re doing whatever you can to detach from reality. But, I was so far from fine. I was holding on to whatever mental stability I had left and for whatever reason, it was at this time that I realized I had to accept help, or I might never bounce back. 

Thankfully, I have a few people in my life who truly care about me and have my best interests in mind. Drew quite literally saved my life just by being there and giving me an ultimatum that I either moved to Denver or he was going without me. I knew he was right, I knew that I was a mess and that LA was a terrible fit for me. But I was too proud to come to that conclusion myself. It took him giving me no option but to say yes for me to recognize that not only was I unhappy, but my life had become totally unmanageable. I tried to re-gain control on my own for the next month or so as we prepped for moving to yet another new city. I felt downtrodden and defeated. I was frustrated and angry that I couldn’t do it by myself and I felt like I had failed on the prospect of chasing my dreams in LA. As if things couldn’t get worse, they did. Even though I had started practicing yoga and was focusing on projects that paid me instead of not, I was still drinking and numbing what was really eating my soul. There were a few nights where I looked in the mirror and tried to search for the spirit I knew was burried deep below the pain and anguish – sometimes I couldn’t find it. I was struggling with my sexuality and my life path. I was struggling with my relationship and what I wanted out of life vs. what I thought other people wanted for my life. I was trying to please people and focus my attention and energy on their issues so that I didn’t have to deal with my own. As I’m sure you can imagine, this all built up so much that one morning, upon opening my eyes, I walked to my couch and immediately dissolved into tears. I told Drew that I was unsure of absolutely everything and I was scared for the direction my life was going. I had lost control not only over my day to day life, but the passion to continue too. 

That was the day I got sober. 

I’m not going to sit here and tell you how I did it or how other people should do it or anything like that. I’m a firm believer that everyone’s experience is valid and that a person’s journey to sobriety is extremely personal and should be theirs and only their journey. However, I know that without Drew, my best friends and my parents, I would most likely still be in LA, struggling to even eat. I know that without being sober, I would still be acting out of fear and impulse, rather than compassion and intellect. Not drinking has given me the courage to slow down and dig deep – to face my demons and work through them, instead of adding more quick “fixes” to the pile. Being sober has allowed me to finally show my true self, for the first time in my life, and although I’m most definitely still a work in progress, I’m fucking awesome. I don’t have time anymore to focus on other people’s issues instead of mine. I have a lot of guilt to sort through and a lot of feelings to process. The hardest part? My feelings change every day. I’m currently on the most intense emotional roller coasters of my life and although it’s the hardest, most profound ride, I know that it would be so much more arduous without almost 10 months of sobriety under my belt. 

Why am I sharing such an intense, personal story? Well, the thing with social media (and I’ve said this before) is that it’s super easy to present yourself to the world as someone who has it all together. Having a bad day? Post a photo smiling and your audience is none the wiser. I’m really good at that – pretending that everything is fine when really my world is falling apart. Although I seem to share a lot with the world and with people, I’m actually a very private person. The real me is reserved for those who have proven themselves to me and who I trust implicitly. I can count those people on my hands. I used to think that I needed to spew everything to everyone and explain and justify every thought, action and feeling. Guess what? I don’t. I don’t owe anyone anything. This is my life and I’ve decided to make some serious changes so that I can finally be happy and healthy. I don’t need to prove myself to you or to anyone but I’m hoping that by opening up and sharing my experience, I can create some closure for myself, I can hold myself accountable, and I can continue to heal. I hope that by sharing I can also be an inspiration for anyone else who is struggling. We live in an overstimulated, overwhelming world. I want you to know that it’s okay to step back and reassess. It’s okay to not be so affected by other people’s energies. It’s okay to be an introvert and an extrovert at the same time. Stop labeling yourself, be kind to yourself. We are all in this together. 

SHOP THE POST

Hat: Target, Coat: Goodwill, Shirt: Everlane, Jeans: Madewell, Boots: Faryl Robin

12 thoughts on “QUEEN OF MY CASTLE

  1. Stephanie rita

    Kayte, you are awesome. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Thank you for reading! Hope you are well and I know you’re crushing it photo wise <3

  2. Laura Saur

    This was so well written, Kayte, and I’m so proud of you for your courage to share all of this with your readers and supporters! We’re here and we’re listening so don’t hold back and keep trekking forward. You have all the strength to do it and you will continue to grow stronger! Thanks for opening up your heart. Love you!

    xo LoSo

    • Thanks Laura! Love you so much and can’t wait to reunite someday soon xoxo You’re the best!

  3. Cousin Phil

    Love you and am so happy to hear your journey is on a path that you’re enjoying. Can’t wait to cross paths again soon my soul sister. Two crabs just wondering about the sea!!!

    • Omg I love that – “two crabs” for sure 🙂 Love you so much and so thankful to have your support and friendship <3

  4. Jenna Forristall

    I relate to this. While it’s brave to admit to yourself that you’re unhappy, the test of true inner-strength is taking the initiative to move forward. I’m proud of you, Kayte. Not only for writing your truth, but for living it.

    • Thanks Jenna! Miss you lots and hope you’re well <3

  5. Robert Demont

    And I’m about the proudest father on the planet right now. That you have this wisdom at this age is just plain awesome. ‘‘Tis more impressive to conquer yourself than a city or country.” You are enough. You do enough. Dad

  6. Kayte – sending you all my love and positive vibes! Thank you for sharing your story. It takes great courage, emotional intelligence and introspection to allow yourself to feel these feels. You are stronger than you know! I can definitely relate to feeling lost, and through the years I’ve always tried to remind myself that it’s not about the destination but the journey and trying to stay more present in the day to day. You are one of the most passionate and energetic people I’ve met in this world and I have no doubt that your journey forward will be an incredible one. Love you!

    PS- I really really want to come visit 2018!! And of course hit me up if you’re ever in Boston 🙂

    xx
    k.tab

    • Love you and miss you so much! I hope that you can make it out in 2018 and you know I’ll let you know when I’m back east 🙂 xoxoxo <3

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