My own path as a shift seeker traces back to my humble roots. Raised by my fiercely loving single mother in Section 8 housing, I felt branded by our circumstances and struggled with a persistent sense of shame and insecurity. Deep down, I was a sweet, thoughtful child who daydreamed about a modeling career and journaled about my feelings. But to the outside world, I presented a completely different self: tough, defensive, combative. This was my family’s code of honor, our most deeply-held tribal belief: that if we were feared, no one could hurt us as we moved through the world.
So, I armored up with an arsenal of defenses: verbal knives, emotional guns, and the shield of an us-against-them mentality that masked my simmering shame. I threatened peers, told off teachers, threw chairs in fits of rage. I was placed in 6 different alternative schools in my adolescent years.
I was still stirring by my late teens, when I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of landing my first modeling contract. My destructive behavior almost derailed my career before it could begin. At my very first booking, I battled it out with a fellow model over shoes —shoes! —and received a stern warning from my agent the next day.
It was a sobering wake-up call: If I wanted a shot at my dream, I had to choose another way of being. It was time to lay down the sword.
Modeling became my entry point to self-transformation. It forced me to try on a new softer, kinder persona, just as I tried on the gorgeous clothes I was paid to wear. After all, I couldn’t be the tough chick in a delicate $4,000 Chanel gown. I began to see myself differently.
At the same time, I embarked on a year-long journey of serious soul-searching, and committed myself to unwinding my old belief system. I devoured self-help books, threw myself into intensive workshops, and had raw and probing conversations with close girlfriends and family. Eventually, I began to bare my true fears, my true insecurities, my true shame. I began to fall in love with my human side.
What I realized as I started to sift through what I was feeling —what rung true to the greatest depths of myself —was that to be healthy, whole, and happy, I had to be honest, open and real. I had to expose my authentic self. I had to give voice to my fears, worries, and flaws —no matter how ugly or painful they were —instead of masking them under an armor of defense. In other words, I had to own my awful.
I was discovering the world-changing powers of radical vulnerability. This is where the first shift really happened.
This shift would not only benefit my life as a model—leading to real, meaningful relationships and a successful 15-year career —but every aspect of my being. I was sharing for the first time. My bonds with my friends became more authentic. My connection with my partner became infinitely deeper.
Today, I believe in the magic in the mundane: the way a single interaction with a friend, family member, or even stranger could produce these incredible moments of truth, beauty and honesty.
Today, I wholeheartedly believe the reward is in the reveal. That when we open ourselves up to others, we can receive gifts beyond our wildest imagination.
Today, that scared little girl who acted out of fear of weakness feels an exhilarating strength in sharing her full, imperfect self with the world.
Today, I know that tapping into my own vulnerability has altered the course of my life —and that when we have the courage to share our pain, shame, fear and doubt, we unlock the doors to who we are meant to be.
Today, I am a Shift Stirrer because of this story.
I hope this site and my Shift Stirrer Method (SSM) inspires you to share yours too.