Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who did not want to become a woman.  She didn’t want to be a man either, not in the sex change type of way.  Although, it seemed to her, that men had a lot more fun and got to do more things in life, without the repercussions of society’s thinking. 

No, she didn’t want to be man.  What she wanted was to stay small, boyish:  elvish, pixie-like, ninja warrior-like.  Yeah, that was it.  Slim hips and a strong, lean body was the way to be.  

She didn’t want to have hips and thighs like women get.  That felt foreign and gross.  It made her feel heavy and tied down. 

So, this little girl did what any smart person did.  She took action.  At the time when she began to develop curves, she created an eating disorder.  That worked!  Then, she found out that certain drugs (both legal and illegal) kept her from eating and gaining weight.  She became an alcoholic, drug addict and a bulimic. 

By the time she was in her twenty-first year of life she was also using sex as a way to stay boyish and strong.  It was a fantastic way to disconnect from her feminine ways, while connect to other humans on some level. 

Her intimate relationships always suffered, as she couldn’t maintain or even really develop intimacy with herself, let alone others. 

Gaining weight was terrifying and she continued her disordered eating patterns well into her fortieth years.  At that time, she quit throwing up her food and turned to extreme exercise and dieting (again) to maintain the feeling of being little girl.  Drugs and alcohol also kept her in a distorted growth pattern. 

She got a woman’s career, with fancy letters after her name, owned some cars and some houses.  She tried to make herself feel grown up by using men as trophy boyfriends.  Obviously, she picked men that couldn’t grow up either and the relationships turned to disasters in one way or another. 

The little girl had a lot of friends and a passion for animals, nature and sports like running and snowboarding.  She loved deep exploratory inner self work and she had a spiritual guidance system.  These interests and wisdom seeking saved her from going completely crazy in all her years of self-abuse. 

One day, in her forty-ninth year in this realm, she came to:  more sick and tired than she had ever been.  Her current relationship was in big trouble, she had closed her business with the fancy title and she felt desperate and alone. 

Somewhere, from deep inside, strength welled up.  Amidst the devastation of pain and loss, she found a small flame of light.  She grasped for that flickering flame and declared, “Not one more day.  I cannot live like this, not one more day.” 

And she didn’t.  She stopped all the drug and alcohol use and abuse.  Slowly, and surely, she built a life.  She had to start from scratch and teach herself (with lots of help along the way) all the things she had refused to learn because of her fear of becoming a woman.  She became financially, spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally sober.  

It was a beautiful journey in many, many ways.  There were days of magic and sunshine that nourished her soul through the other times that the path was steep and full of pitfalls, monsters and devastation. 

This becoming a woman thing was hard:  glittering and hard, like a diamond.

The unthinkable happened.  She gained weight.  This, the greatest pain of all, the most embarrassing thing, happened.  The woman-child didn’t know what to do.  She hid.  She cried.  She dieted.  She kept running, both literally and figuratively, until her body became too injured to do that. 

Inside, enough had changed and she had enough support from friends and family that she began to practice yoga.  Of course, this was an attempt to lose that weight and regain the slim body, while under the guise of healing.   Ha!  Yoga is a magic potion and works in very sneaky ways upon the budding yogi.  Yoga began to heal the girl inside the woman in much unexpected ways.  She had times of the deepest love for her body and self, bubble up and come out in tears of gratitude.  She made new pathways to connect to herself and her worth and she made a bunch of other ninja warrior friends.    

Yoga, led her to the combination of yoga and intensive, inquiry coaching.  She trained with the masters of this work and also allowed herself to be coached.  More and more was revealed as she listened to all of her guides and inner voices, whom had been waiting to show her the way.  The hard, glittering surface began to cascade off like rain. 

Underneath, the impish, pixie girl was still there.  And, she was armed with the power of wisdom from her woman self.   She had the weapons of compassion and empathy and had made friends with her thoughts, feelings and emotions.  She had made friends with her body in ways she never thought possible. 

Of course, this woman-child is me, Layne Linebaugh. 

My journey into and through sobriety continues and will continue.  I dance and I struggle.  Until recently, within the certification program for yoga teacher and inquiry coach, I had not really realized the extent of my desire to remain boyish and small.  Some days, it is very, very hard for me to find my voice.  I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable with being bigger than a certain size.  I’ve found some great help in this arena with being coached by a trainer and eating structured very healthy, balanced meals.   This program gives me freedom in the discipline and has seemed to balance out the hormone issues one can get at my age.  I will not lie to you and tell you that I don’t LOVE having a boyish, pixie-like figure.  It just is. 

My financial picture gets better and better and it’s something that I fall down with as well.  I get my knees skinned and get back up and face the music.  My family helps me so much and I don’t know where I would be without their love and support.   The important point here is that I hide less and less from myself.  I take the reins, if you will, even if sometimes life has to hand them to me with a slap. 

Relationships and intimacy ~ arrrggghhh.   What to say, what to say?  I feel safer being alone and making my own way with my human and animal friends for love.  It’s a fantastic training ground with very few distractions.  For four years of sobriety, I pretty much kept me disconnected from that feminine part of myself (do you see the pattern here?) until, I let myself become aware that intimacy and touch are a basic human need.  I am currently figuring out how to give and receive that intimacy in safe and adult manner.  It’s scary, sometimes painful and sometimes really fun.  I’ve had to grow up here as well and believe me there are days, I just don’t like it.  My younger people call it “adulting” and I use that term to get me through tough conversations and communications. 

I put this story here so that you can get to know me, and also for you to know that you can do it.  People (even the ones that are secretly pixie-ninja warriors) can and do change. 

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