• Elizabeth Bartasius

Strangers, Muck & Love Notes: Making of the book "I Am Me"

A few years ago, a man I barely knew, dressed in a jazz hat and Indian beads, looked me dead in the eye and said, “You are afraid.”

“Your heart is in the right place,” he said, “but don’t take on any more speaking engagements until you deal with the fear.”

I blinked at him.

“You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?” he asked.

Over a dinner of Beef Wellington with a bold stranger, I could no longer deny the lingering, and underlying uneasiness that had existed as far back as I can remember.

The fear felt impenetrable, impossible to move through, impossible to face. In the past I’d just smothered fear with personal growth workshops, fancy ‘transformed’ language, publicly-approved actions like Straight A’s, linen dresses, and a house in the quirky Old Town of Anywhere, USA.

How do I get rid of this fear? I asked over and over again. How do I face it?

I had no idea, so I turned to my usual starting place: I read books. I journaled with long meandering sentences about angers, frustrations, sadness, and how I felt like a complete and utter failure.

To make matters worse, after I beat myself up with self-deprecating statements, I would then beat myself up for beating myself up. If I were ENOUGH I wouldn’t even think such craziness.

Every sentence I wrote brought me back to an entrenched belief: Not only am I not good, but I’m not good enough. And nothing I do will ever change that!

So I went back to praying, journaling, reading, dialoguing with my close and trusted Women’s Circle. I listened to other everyday extraordinary women. They spoke such marvelous words such as compassion, empathy, patience, kindness, grace, walking through fire. They told me to cup my hands and place them over my heart for a big self-hug.

In their tenderness and encouragement, I started to find my breath again.

On Byron Katie’s advice, I asked my automatic thoughts: “Is it true? Really true?”

On my chiropractor’s advice, I took a myriad of vitamins and homeopathic herbs.

Day by day, I began to see all the energy-goodness-value-beauty I’d given to this world, all the people who love Me, and all the successes which debunk the “not enough” theory. I changed the words I had been speaking to myself, and I found prayers of the goodness inside of Me.

And as I walked every morning with the dog, I’d chant…

“I love me.

I love Me.

I love Meeeeeeee.”

I wrote myself “I Am Me” love notes to call forth the best in me. I found layer after layer of love, another layer of happiness, another layer of bravery, another layer of strength to pull myself out of the muck. Bit by bit I peeled away the complicated layers of anxiety, until I woke up one day and realized, “I am not afraid!”

I did not accomplish this shift alone. I had the support of those who had been down similar roads, those who love me, and those who have my back. As a result, I want to remind you…

…You are not alone.

Together, we have the answers.

My journey is not yours, and your journey is not mine. Nevertheless, many of our journeys approach similar themes at some points in time. And I hope that my journey can support yours. In turn…

…Your journey will support others.

To assist you on the way, I have chosen eleven (a master number of enlightenment, balance, and fulfillment of higher ideals!) of the most vibrant and universal messages I wrote as a gift to you. These are not mantras, poems, or affirmations; they are invocations. As defined, an invocation calls forth a higher deity or spirit for protection, support, and inspiration. The I Am Me invocations, if used intentionally, call forth your highest self and support you in the ways you need most.

I suggest you retreat to a quiet spot and speak them aloud. Emphasize the word “Me” to signal that you are talking to your most extraordinary self. Personally, I like to stand on a rock overlooking the ocean and feel the power rise up. But sometimes, I’m on the go and left with little choice but to invocate in the car. The where-when-or-how isn’t nearly as important as taking a minute here and there to remember how amazing ‘Me’ is.

I’ve revised some of the more personal mantras to make them generic for you to use in your everyday. Feel free to get creative and use your own words, sentiments, or ideals.

The 11 Invocations address feelings of:

  • low confidence

  • hurt and vulnerability

  • looking outside ourselves for the answers

  • wanting to feel special, not feeling good enough

  • not trusting yourself

  • wanting permission and validation

  • should have’s

  • loss

And move you to:

  • Grace

  • Possibility

  • Faith

  • Trust

  • Honor

  • Power

All, culminating in the glorious, magical, amazing Love for yourself!

Because frankly, you are awesome.

And you are important!

NOW AVAILABLE: Good Reads For Free!

I Am Me is a sweet book of self-love prose I wrote several years ago to pull myself out of a depression & find the beauty within. Read on-the-go and in-between for a quick infusion of power. You can enjoy this book (free) when you subscribe to my "Loo" blog.

Read "I Am Me" Now and Fall Madly In Love!