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Michelle Catanach

Michelle Catanach

Visionary author & speaker, transformational coach & children's rights advocate, helping women uncage themselves, their kids & their lives using the power of consciousness, connection and creativity.

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http://www.theuncagedmama.com
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Success! Uncaged: The Rise of the Badass sold 8 pre-orders by June 21, 2017, was pitched to 13 publishers, and will be self published.

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6-month 1:1 coaching and mentorship programme with bestselling author and book coach Michelle Catanach to take your book from idea right through to marketing, publishing and selling AND becoming a bestseller and go-to expert in your field.

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Uncaged: The Rise of the Badass

25 stories of the Wild Woman to Ignite the fire in your soul

25 trail-blazing women turn their mess into their message with powerful, life-shifting and taboo breaking stories of truth, shame and vulnerability to free the wild woman within.

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Self-Help Memoir
Amersham, United Kingdom
62,500 words
50% complete
5 publishers interested

Synopsis

The road to womanhood is never an easy path, especially in a world driven by ego, fear and the patriarchy. For hundreds of years women have been treated less than, not just by men, but by women too. They have been victimised, violated and denied their basic human rights. They've carried shame and guilt, the long-suffering mother wound buried beneath a fake smile and inability to say no. As a result they've disconnected from who they really are, using food, booze, sex and shopping as a way to self-medicate and stuff down the disease of not-good-enough-ness. Until now...

In Uncaged: The Rise of the Badass 25 trail-blazing women share their stories of strength from struggle, turning their mess into their message to empower and inspire their peers and future generations. These are women united in their mission to create positive change in the world through truth, authenticity and an indestructible knowing that women are worthy and deserving of so much more.

It is part-memoir, part self-help, taking the reader on her own journey of insight, exploration and self-discovery so that she too can awaken to her truth and uncage the wild woman inside. 

This book is an essential read for all women, young and old, and a celebration of our strength, courage and resilience in the face of adversity. Women will open their once closed hearts, listen to their inner authority and boldly step into their innate power and potential. When we rise our children rise. And that is how we change the world.

Outline

The book will consist of 25 chapters written by 25 co-authors.

The order and content is yet to be determined however themes will include how to thrive following rape, attempted suicide, physical and emotional abuse, workplace bullying, addiction, eating disorders, dysfunctional relationships, divorce, homelessness, walking away from families and relationships plus much more.

Each author will provide a vivid, raw and unadulterated account of a pivotal breakdown moment in their life and how they emerged to create the joyful, abundant and uncaged life they now lead.

At the end of each chapter there will be some reflections and questions to help the reader explore her own inner world and facilitate her own growth and transformation. 

Audience

This book is targeted at women aged 25 to 50 who are feeling lost, dissatisfied and questioning the meaning of life. They are awakening to (or certainly open to) a more spiritual path. They will have experienced many of the issues raised in the book and not yet fully processed or overcome them. This book will particularly appeal to mothers with daughters, who remember in vivid detail  her own struggles and be living in fear of passing her own wounds onto her children. The women who will like this book will already be following people such as Rebecca Campbell, Gabrielle Bernstein, Louise Hay, Wayne Dwyer and Daniella de Porte on social media and will likely still suffer from body confidence and self-esteem issues so will be members of related forums or actively seeking different ways to improve their body.

This book will also appeal to women who have or are thinking of starting their own business. Either they are in the start-up phase or have struggled to make a success of their business for a while because they're struggling to show up fully as themselves and are stuck in feeling not good enough. They will recognise some of the issues raised in this book as their own. This book will inspire them to be vulnerable, connect with who they really are and really connect with their deeper mission and message. These women will be following pages such as The Female Entrepreneur Association, Leonie Dawson, Kimra Luna and Marie Forleo on social media. 



Author

Michelle Catanach aka The Uncaged Mama helps women uncage themselves, their kids and their lives using the power of consciousness, connection and creativity. Michelle’s
vision is that every child lives as the fullest, boldest version of their true self without shame weighing them down and crushing their spirit....and it starts with women being the change. She believes that by empowering women we empower our children and THAT is how we change the world. Michelle lives in Amersham in the UK with her two spirited children and adorable husband. She’s obsessed with campervans, avocados and has been described as an undercover hippy.

Some of the Uncaged anthology co-authors:

Emily Jacob

Emily Jacob is a rape survivor, coach and NLP master practitioner using her skills to help guide other rape survivors to their ReConnected Life. She features regularly as a guest blogger for Psychologies Life Labs, Metro and Huffington Post, and has featured on BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live, breaking the silence and speaking up for rape survivors everywhere. She has recently published two collections of her blogs written following her rape: It Gets Better, and Silence Hurts: Talk Hard. She has spoken at Slutwalk, Reclaim the Night, and most recently (inside) the Houses of Parliament for this year's International Women's Day.

Emily's other career spans over 20 years in marketing strategy and capability. She is single and lives alone in a little village to the west of London. 

Website: http://reconnected.life

Facebook: facebook.com/ReConnectedLifeExperience

Twitter: twitter.com/ReConnectedEm

Kate Wolf

Kate Wolf is the go-to Coach for those who are ready to stop listening to the shoulds and oughts police and start listening to their own inner wisdom - and want to have fun while doing it. With her caring nature, precision of insight, and courage to reach for the truth, she is a natural at holding a strong but soft space for transformation. 

She combines her deep intuition, creativity and love of language - and uncanny ability to ask just the right question - to help you value your gifts, own your magic and craft your message - so that those who need you, can find you. She brings years of experience in the theatre - directing, writing and performing - to transform bland messaging into stories that connect - from both the page and the stage. 

Kate is highly skilled at helping you slow down enough to hear your own voice, and then igniting the courage in you to share what you find with the world. Not your average Business Coach, Kate brings her healing ability to the business realm, and her intuitive guiding takes you and your business to places that goals and logic on their own simply never could. If you know your work is about more than just making money - if it’s about starting a movement, spreading a message, taking a stand for something bigger than yourself - Kate Wolf will guide you to step into the expanded version of yourself necessary to make that dream your daily reality.

Harriet Waley-Cohen

Harriet Waley-Cohen is happiest when inspiring and empowering others to transform their lives. Having been through multiple transformations herself – leaving a decade long city career for motherhood and entrepreneurship, being over 14 years in recovery from addictions, leaving an unhappy marriage and going on to thrive and flourish, and curing her body of eczema and allergies using diet alone – Harriet is ideally placed to understand the kind of support, commitment, guidance and tools that it takes to make deep root life changes that stick. 

Harriet has a BSc in Psychology from UCL, and as a graduate of IIN, is a certified health coach. Harriet also has over 13 years of mentoring women with drug and alcohol issues, and is currently training with One of Many to become one of their first certified coaches. 

In recent years, Harriet has built a successful business as a highly sought after speaker and coach within the corporate, educational and personal development sectors. Harriet’s approach is show women how to become in total partnership with themselves in every area of their life, leading to high levels of confidence, self-esteem, emotional and physical health, pleasure, happiness, life balance and success. A woman who is in total partnership with herself is unstoppable…

Harriet’s past audiences as a speaker include BBC, Imperial College London, Interesting Talks London, Vodafone, Barclays, UK Health Radio, Hayley Quinn’s podcasts and events, Killing Kittens, Skirt Club, Unconventional Convention, Home House for DI Events, Pony Express Speakers Club, Women Economic Forum, as well as speaking numerous other events.

www.harrietwaleycohen.com


Antonina Andreeva


Antonina is a Vibrational Coach and Mindset Mentor for Conscious Individuals. She works with Spiritually-minded people, empowering them to create the necessary changes to build a life that looks good from the outside and feels good on the inside.

She passionately believes the world would be a better place if more people were truthful and honest about what makes them tick. 

Her big mission is to assist as many women as possible to be truly happy and at peace with themselves. To become fully realised in their life and their work. To come together to heal, grow and step into their most potent, powerful self. This will create a shift on a humanity level, redistributing the wealth into the hands of those who need it heralding the start of a New Earth. 

When she is not coaching clients, she’s likely found travelling to faraway places, in communion with the elements at the nearest beach, or wrestling her six-year-old into bed. Because #contrasts

Social Media

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheCoachinista/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecoachinista/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecoachinista


Molly Robertson

Molly Jayne Robertson was born in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. She left home after having a series of spontaneous spiritual awakenings while studying at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She has been intuitively guided by her intention to create a new paradigm on Earth; the fearless life.

As the founder of All To Love, she is an Inspirational Speaker and author of The Fearless Life Guide: An All To Love Project. She hosts Diving Deep yoga, surf and self-love retreats in tropical destinations throughout the year and regular Fearless Love workshops both online and in sacred locations worldwide. She is a resident yoga and meditation expert at Yeotown, an award winning wellbeing retreat in the UK.

She has been speaking professionally since 2014 and is excited to be touring the UK festival circuit in 2017, speaking at Soul Circus, Wonder Fields and Free Harmony. Molly runs an online private membership group called The Fearless Life Tribe, which supports people in their spiritual transformation. All To Love is a movement dedicated to living fearlessly and pioneering a new, loving and sustainable life on Earth.

Having personally experienced the transformational power of love, it is with a sincere and compassionate heart that she shares her message with the world.

Josie Copsey

Josie Copsey, Life Change Expert, Speaker, Mentor and founder of www.aeracuralifecoaching.co.uk helps individuals stop selling their soul to the wrong job, environment or career and start living the life that they desire.

Working for 17 years in senior transformational roles for large corporate businesses and experiencing corporate bullying first hand, Josie is passionate about revolutionising the working world by helping individuals to be true to themselves without compromising their unique identity and authentic self.

Josie’s mission is to change the dynamics of the working world, and see the rise of individuals following their heart and applying their talents to their desired career, whilst enjoying their life. 

Visit www.aeracuralifecoaching.co.uk to access Josie’s highly successful life change plan, which keeps even the toughest procrastinators on track with their goals.


Ella-Louise Woodhouse

Ella-Louise Woodhouse is a wife, mama, Reiki II and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner based in Buckinghamshire. In addition to running an entertainment and events agency, what really stokes the fire in Ella’s belly is helping people to realise their potential and release emotional baggage, allowing them to move forward with a peaceful life, free of fear, anxiety, phobia or suppressed trauma.

Having spent years trying to ‘find herself’, ‘fit in’ and know her ‘purpose’, Ella built herself a career in sales and customer-services, working across Europe, before making the best leap of her life into the world of entrepreneurship. Since her 20’s, Ella has undergone a precious journey of transformation, self-discovery and the realisation that when you relax and just ‘be’, the right people come into and enrich your life, effortlessly… the universe has a funny way of helping us out like that!

Ella’s long-term goal is to take EFT into our education system; to provide little ones with the tools to release stress and negative emotion (who doesn’t need some of that?!), unburdening our future generations of the destruction that the stresses of today’s world creates. Her goal is to empower children, giving them the tools to tap daily and to eradicate the growing mental health issues in our youngsters.

This is all about building a way of life for our future. More info can be found at: www.head2health.com

Alison Chan Lung

Alison Chan Lung is an intuitive, transformational coach. She has worn many hats - psychic love coach, intuitive coach and trainer, writer, speaker. However under the hats, she sees herself as someone who is curious about life, and love, and how it all fits together. She is happy to be able to share and teach what she understands about how life and love works from the inside-out.

Alison has believed we are spiritual beings having a human experience since she was young. She came from a Chinese and Irish background but grew up in Pinner near London, UK.

 Her journey into personal development started with an interest in the work of Louise Hay and has been completed with her passion for the work of Sydney Banks.  She has been fascinated by the workings of the soul and our connection to spirit, but is also a fan of good old common sense.

 Alison founded the Soul Mate Relationship Programme in 2003 and has been fortunate enough to work with many clients who are now in loving, long lasting relationships and sometimes she gets to wear a new hat!

 She has a strong desire to coach and guide clients to the best of her ability in their relationship with themselves, with a romantic partner, and with their thinking. To help them tap into their own wisdom, inner peace, resilience and happiness.

Alison lives with her partner and dog in London.

Denise Davis

Denise Davis helps children and adults become more of who they truly are. To live their life with more control confidence and charisma. She does this through one to one sessions, workshops and talks. This enables people to reach more of their potential, live their life more fully with joy and authenticity.

We owe it to ourselves to live our best possible life as the gift it is. We can then be a beacon of light for others enabling them to shine too. As a role model for others showing our true self , vulnerabilities and strengths included, this allows others to follow suit. I believe as our children are the worlds next caretakers we should inspire them through being fully ourselves.

Denise lives in Dorset by the sea and the new forest. She loves being in nature. Denise has four children and five grandchildren so far, whom she adores .


Tamsin Astor

I help busy professionals organize themselves so they have time for what they need & want, and time for fun. I am your Chief Habit Scientist, wrangling your habits around sleep, exercise & eating through a lens of mindfulness & relationship management. 

We make tens of thousands of decisions every day, so if we can create connections between the habits that serve us well, thus reducing the number of choices we make, we free up lots of time. This irony - creating routines to create freedom is what I love to help people activate in their lives!  I draw skills from my extensive training (PhD, RYT500, Certified Living Ayurveda, Certified Executive Coach and Certified Yoga Health Coach) and background (research, teaching, parenting a child with cancer, a child with ADHD, coaching) to guide clients through change related to their careers, relationships, physical health, and emotional health.

Connect with Tamsin:

www.TamsinAstor.com

http://www.facebook.com/TamsinAstor

Stacey Ann Coyne

Stacey Ann Coyne is an uplifting * Bad Ass * visionary who after overcoming 15 years of drug addiction, abuse, PTSD, depression, anxiety, countless medical diagnoses, rape and sexual assault surrendered to the beat of the universe to ignite the fire inside others and set the world ablaze with light and love. Her driving force and most valuable "title" is being a mother to her 6 year old daughter. 

She is a true inspiration, a self-taught survivor using the Laws of the Universe, Inner Guidance, Spiritual Growth, Energy, Meditation, NLP, Nutrition and Fitness as her tools to recreate not only her life but the lives of others, filling them with everlasting love, health and meaning. She believes a person's mind and thoughts are the most valuable tools to overcome even unthinkable trauma. Stacey's passions have guided her to build Mind Body Image, a company bringing positive mental, physical and nutritional fuel to the lives of others. 

Stacey is a Health & Wellness Specialist; Author & Motivational Speaker; Child Advocate for Real Food; Founder and CEO of Mind Body Image; Chiropractic Assistant; Stott Pilates Instructor; Reiki Practitioner and NLP Practitioner.

Her most recent speaking engagements include: Boston State House ~ overcoming adversity; Quarterly UPS Woman's Business Leadership Groups ~ Health and Wellness ; Walpole Library, Mind Body Image ~ Fuel your Kids; March against Monsanto ~ GMO rights advocate.

Tara Mestre


Having swapped city life for rural living in northern Spain, Tara is first time mama, a seasoned yoga aficionado, and is passionate about yoga, women's wellness, and holistic living. She is a firm believer in self-care, incorporating yoga and essential oils into her daily routine.

Connect with her on Instagram @yogimamalove or join her women's group on FB @yogimamalove.












Promotion

The co-authors run online businesses and collectively have a large following across social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin as well as email subscribers. They are also active members of their own (or other) highly engaged Facebook groups.

A number of the co-authors have featured as guest bloggers for Thrive Global, Huffington Post, Psychologies Life Labs and The Metro, to name a few, as well as speaking internationally.

REVIEWS/ENDORSEMENTS

I will be approaching some high-profile influencers, some of whom I interviewed for my podcast, to review and endorse the book eg  a mention on social media, a written review on the book page (website), foreword.

FACEBOOK PAGE

A Facebook page has been set up for the book and this will be actively used as part of the marketing campaign. I will be interviewing the co-authors live using belive.tv and creating a FB ads campaign to offer the first 2 chapters as a free download in exchange for their email address (and therefore subscribers can be notified when the book is launched). We will be actively and consistently using the page to generate buzz in the lead up to launch. 

PR

One of the co-authors (who specialises in PR) will be assisting with our PR campaign. We will approach media outlets for interviews as well as approaching podcasters in the online space that are aligned to the overarching message of the book. We will also contact on and offline publications to write features. 



Competition

Rise Sister Rise: A Guide to Unleashing the Wise, Wild Woman Within by Rebecca Campbell, Hay House UK 2016

Many women have spent their lives trying to succeed by 'making it' in a man's world. But things are changing - more and more women are realizing that this way of being is no longer sustainable. We are experiencing a global shift which mystics through the ages have predicted: the return of the mother and the rise of the sacred feminine.

Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic. by Lisa Lister, Hay House UK 2017

A WITCH IS A WOMAN IN HER POWER. She's wise, a healer, someone who is aligned with the cycles of Mother Nature and the phases of the Moon. Yet for so long, the word 'witch' has had negative connotations - being used as an insult, a slur and to perpetuate fear. In this book, third generation hereditary witch Lisa Lister explains the history behind witchcraft, why in past centuries the word 'witch' has led women to be tortured, drowned and burned at the stake, and why the witch is now waking once again in women across the world today.

Pussy: A Reclamation by Regina Thomashauer, Hay House UK 2016

With this book, you're being handed the keys to a turned-on life - a life that is authentic, radiant and open to pleasure and joy. Regena Thomashauer has long noticed that 'pussy' is one of the most pejorative words in the English language. No one calls you a 'pussy' when they want to tell you how radiant you look, how capably you work or what an inspiring life you lead.But all that's about to change. In this remarkable book, Regena reclaims the word for what it rightly is: the highest of all possible compliments, a sacred living prayer. Pussy has been written to reacquaint you with your own power source. Drawing on her 25 years of research, Regena teaches you how to:- learn to awaken a part of yourself you've been taught to repress or even despise- see that pussy is anything but pornographic - it's actually the seat of all feminine power and pleasure- discover how a woman's sensual awareness is critical for her spiritual, intellectual and emotional health- crack the confidence code and understand that sex appeal is an inside job... and much more!By turns earthy and erudite, passionately argued and laugh-out-loud funny, Pussy is your call to tune in, turn on and live more richly and fully than you ever thought you could.

The Universe Has Your Back: How to Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What by Gabrielle Bernstein, Hay HouseUK 2016

'My commitment with this book is to wake up as many people as possible to their connection to faith and joy. In that connection, we can be guided to our true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we merely post on social media. Rather, these words must be our mission. The happiness, safety and security we long for lies in our commitment to love.'


Through acceptance, surrender and a commitment to her continually evolving spiritual path, New York Times bestselling author and international speaker Gabrielle Bernstein has been transforming her fear into faith. Her stories and universal lessons provide a framework for releasing the blocks to what everyone most longs for: happiness, security and clear direction. These lessons can help us relinquish the need to control in order to relax into a sense of certainty and freedom - to stop chasing life and truly live.


Ride the swell of your energy and true power to find strength when you are down, synchronicity and support when you are lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy in what might otherwise be pain. Bernstein has secrets to reveal, and she is determined to unleash the presence of your power with the comforting knowledge that the Universe has your back.


The Uncaged book has similar themes to each of the above: spiritual awakening, connection to the divine, trust, truth and joy, feminine power and freedom.

Yet it is different because it is an anthology, a collection of a diverse range of stories and experiences that show true struggles of the every day woman that are relatable to the reader, things seldom openly spoken about, and the emergence of the wild woman as she steps into her divine truth. It is a book that beautifully merges the human and soul experience in a way that is raw, real, unadulterated and refreshingly honest.  

Sample

Introduction

In a world where at least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, 120 million girls worldwide have experienced forced intercourse or other sexual acts and child marriage and domestic violence are on the increase, It’s time that we women united in our power, stepped into our truth and owned who we are, even the dark and uncomfortable parts of us, because that is how we collectively heal.

That is how we be the change.

That is how we put an end to these shocking statistics.

That is how we raise our kids to be the fullest expression of themselves and be the leaders of their life.

It starts with us.

As women we know what it’s like to be too much.

Too emotional.

Too sensitive.

Too quiet.

Too confident.

Too shy.

Too prudish.

Too slutty.

Too posh.

Too common.

Too intelligent.

Too thick.

Too something. ALWAYS too something.

I personally know what it’s like to desperately want love and approval without condition and when you don’t receive it to go on a long, dark and devastating journey to find it.

I know what it’s like to use your body as power over men because somehow you’ve been given the message that that’s all you are, that that’s how you validate your place in this world, that that’s the only way to get love and attention.

I also know what it’s like to have bruised ribs and a black eye, to be co-dependent and addicted to an emotionally abusive partner, because someone who supposedly loves you feeds into your feelings of self-loathing.

I’ve done the drugs. Years of destroying myself with alcohol. Nights I’ve blacked out and still have no recollection of events.

I’ve abused my body with laxatives, starvation and gruelling exercise regimes. Desperately trying to mould it into something more lovable so that I could attract – or KEEP – a man because that’s the only way, in my mind, that I could prove my worth.

I’ve had massively psychotic episodes and lashed out at the people I care about while allowing myself to be treated like dirt by the assholes who, in truth, didn’t give a shit about themselves.

I’ve been dumped for being too “common”, for not being educated enough. And I’ve been ridiculed for being too “posh”.

I’ve been sacked from several jobs and so far removed from my straight A potential because I’ve been told “you’ll never be good enough to work at X”, “you’ll never make it to being a Y”, “you don’t look like someone who got these grades”.

And I've tried to kill myself. For real.

My story isn't unique.

It is one that is mirrored every day in the lives of hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS of women in the world. Which is why Uncaged: The Rise of the Badass was born.

I have brought together 33 trail-blazing, world-changing women on a mission to collaborate and share their stories of struggle to strength, turning their mess into their message to empower women to say NO MORE.

NO MORE to passing on old patriarchal beliefs and wounds.

NO MORE to allowing women to be treated less than who they really are.

NO MORE allowing our voices to be silenced.

NO MORE taking on other peoples insecurities as our own.

NO MORE living in shame for being human.

If we want to see change in this world, to stand up for all women, for HUMANITY, then it starts with us.

WE need to be the change. Each and every one of us reading this book today.

This book is going to take you on an adventure into the unknown. You'll be taken to some dark and uncomfortable places yet you'll find peace and light as you connect more and more with the truth that lies within your soul.

You will emerge feeling empowered, inspired, seeing the world from a whole new perspective as you awaken into the wild woman you were born to be.

When you empower a woman you empower a child.

And THAT is how we change the world.



CHAPTER 1: 

FROM TRAPPED SOUL TO LIVING A LIFE LESS CAGED

By Michelle Catanach

“No one can make you feel inferior without
your consent”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Have you ever wanted to die?

I am not talking about wishing the ground would open up and swallow you in one of those excruciatingly
embarrassing moments.

I mean real death. The kind when you truly, genuinely do not want to live anymore. The kind when you deliberately act, with all intent and purpose, to attempt suicide.

This is not the cry for help or attention seeking type with the hope a knight in shining armour will ride up on a white horse and save you kind.

It is because you have an undeniable belief that the world would be a happier and better place without you contributing another second of your worthless existence.

That is how I felt in 2001. I was 19 years old.

I remember that night as if it were yesterday, out enjoying a drink with friends in our regular haunt. I use “enjoying” loosely. In reality alcohol was my way to numb out and slay my demons. It was that period in my life when I spent every night out boozing for fear of missing out and to fill the void of what was an otherwise unexciting life. I did not even have any hobbies. I would wake up, go to work then to the pub. A pattern repeated each day and every single day. Wash, rinse, repeat.

That night I drank more than usual and became drunk. Booze made me a more fun and exciting person to be around, helping me lose my inhibitions and create a mask of confidence. It helped me to take my mind off the emptiness I felt inside.

I was grieving that night, or at least that’s how it felt. The loss of my ex after yet another volatile breakup had left me in a state of mourning.

I remember drinking copious amounts of vodka to hide my sadness. I was free of him, so should have been celebrating, not drowning my sorrows. He was a complete bastard. Everyone told me so. Yet I didn’t see it. More than two years of torment and manipulation meant I was co-dependent and needy, convinced that I was nothing without him. Believed that I needed him to survive. I was laughing on the outside, flirting
with anyone with a pulse, yet crying on the inside, the voices and insecurities getting stronger the more inebriated I became.

The walk home was long and lonely without him by my side, yet the torment and abuse would have been unbearable if he was. I trudged through puddles, the rain drowning me and leaving me looking scruffy and bedraggled. I looked old for my 19 years. The way I walked, the clothes I wore and the pained expression set in my face, far removed from the vibrant and happy girl I had once been.

I found myself calling him, begging him to take me back, sobbing as he screamed a torrent of abuse and profanities down the phone.

He was right.

I was a slag. A nutcase. A whore.

No one wanted me. Why would they? Even my family were ashamed and embarrassed by me.

At least he had wanted me. He had pitied me and taken the burden off someone else by being with me. He had done the world a favour; taken one for the team as they say, now even he had walked away. He could not bear the burden any longer.

At least that is what he made me believe.

I felt so alone. I did not have anyone to talk to. I had spent so many years believing that showing emotion and asking for help was a weakness. I did not know how to express my feelings. If anyone took the time to ask, I would smile like a good girl, saying everything was ok, instead bottling all my pain, sadness and loneliness up inside.

The truth was I was addicted to him like a crack addict needing that next fix. I needed him. Without him I felt I was nothing. He gave me a reason to wake up every morning even if it meant crying myself to sleep by bedtime.

A DARK DECISION

I remember reaching home. Still swaying as I fumbled around for my door key, tear-stained and bleary eyed. I staggered down the hallway and into the kitchen. The gaudy green and orange
cupboards illuminated in the moonlight.

At this point I was not really thinking anything. I knew what I had to do. It had been an easy decision to make. I did not even consider the outcome. The effect it would have on the people around me. What would it matter; I would be dead.

The house was eerily silent as I opened the kitchen cupboard where I knew a stash of pills were stored. My hand blindly grappled around in the dark, rattling condiments and tins as I
reached to the back of the cupboard. I pulled out whatever I could find.

I took as many as a could; one by one. Rapidly pushing my feelings of self-loathing, loss and loneliness down with every swallow. Praying, praying that whatever they were, they would work and end my existence. I wanted to vanish from this world.

I have no memory of how many I took. I did not even know what I was taking. I did not care. They were drugs. Pills. They had to kill me if taken in excess. Right?

In my selfishness, I did not give a shit about the outcome. No-one gave a shit about me, so why should I give a toss about them? I simply focused on the task in hand. I was so angry with me, the world, the universe.

And then I went to bed.

*******************************************

I awoke dazed and confused, my head throbbing as the room spun. I vomited into a pint glass that was on the floor beside my bed, initially impressed with myself that I had avoided spewing
on the carpet.

Then it hit me, like a juggernaut at 100mph.

I was still alive.

To this day, I will never forget the wave of disappoint engulf my entire body as I realised that my attempt to end it all had failed. All the feelings of hurt, pain, hatred and despair came flooding in like a tsunami, leaving me in a crumpled, sobbing heap on my bed. I was so useless, I could not even take my own life properly.

I felt like I was grieving all over again.

Of course, I carried on like nothing had happened, leaving the house that morning, my mum ranting as I left, affirming everything I already knew about me being a useless waste of space.

Me being late for work with what she believed was simply yet another hangover only added more fuel to her flame.

I called in sick at work then spent two hours sitting on the swing of a children’s playground, head in hands, routinely vomiting as my body desperately tried to expel the toxins.

No one knew what I had done. In fact, it took several years before I confessed to anybody.

I would like to say that this experience woke me up. That I saw that I had a second chance in life. Something to live for. That I would radically transform and live out my soul’s desires. I
would find my passion in life and spend my time trying to attain it.

But it did not. It was simply another chapter of a deeply troubled life that in all truthfulness had not reached rock-bottom from its spiral downwards from the age of 16.

HAD I SEEN THE LIGHT?

Please do not judge me. I know what you as my readers must be thinking about me. Is she selfish and self-centred that she has no respect for the people around her? Why can she not see she has been gifted a second chance to find her way again? Well, not all stories have silver linings.

I needed my fix, my drug, my cocaine, my high, my self-loathing, my addiction to pain, so I got back with my ex again after that night. We even moved in together. Thus began six months of
emotional bullying, the odd black-eye and bruised ribs. I went to work struggling to make ends meet while he bummed around smoking pot and watching porn all day.

Such was his power, his control, that everyone thought it was me. I was the problem. They saw a crazed, nagging girlfriend. Yet what they didn’t see was the powerless girl reacting to
whispered threats and muttered taunts while he acted like the innocent, downtrodden, charming boyfriend to the outside world.

I absolutely despised the guy, but felt too weak to leave.  I fell into a deeper depression, stuck in a limbo of not wanting to be at home and not wanting to be at work. Not wanting to be anywhere. Until one day I found myself with my hands around his throat, squeezing it tight, desperately trying to rid myself of this nightmare that I had found myself living in.

For a moment I really wanted to kill him. To end the torture.

The only thing that stopped me was the thought of a prison sentence. And he really was not worth it.

It was then that I knew I had to leave.

This triggered several years of self-destructive behaviour as I found solace in anything that would make me feel validated, loved or simply numb the pain.  

Drugs, excessive drinking, countless one-night-stands, toxic friendships, excessive dieting, binge eating, rebounding from one job to another, clinging on to lousy men while pushing away
any chance of happiness. Anything that made me feel good while supporting a deeply embedded unconscious belief that I was not worthy enough.

I was a far cry from the straight A student of my school days who had had so much promise and potential. And a far greater cry from the baby given the spiritual name of Joy for the delight she would supposedly bring to other people’s lives.

THE RETURN OF JOY

I had become comfortably numb as the song goes. I was nobody. I felt nothing. I was existing yet not living. It seemed I had been lost for a lifetime.

Then one day, I had my “Forest Gump” moment. No!! I did not start running as in real running. I had been running away all my life. This time I was going to run with purpose. I made the decision to travel.

Travelling had been a dreamof mine for years, but I had been so sucked in by my boozy lifestyle and toxic relationships that I did not have the motivation – or self-belief - to actually do it; only lame excuses not to.

Then I met Steve. He had already travelled the world on two occasions. He took me on holiday to Cambodia and after being so touched by the experience, it was then that I knew: I had to travel.

I asked Steve to join me. Reluctantly he agreed. Our first year together had been hell (for him). So convinced was I that he was just like all the others that I constantly tried to provoke him to prove my belief that all men were arseholes. In reality I was
the aggressor, often violently lashing out after too much drink. He, of course, never retaliated.

Travelling was the making of me and while it forces many couples apart, it brought Steve and I closer together. Away from the people, places and situations that triggered my insecurities, I was able to see things clearly.

I finally understood love, compassion and humanity. I understood how the world really worked, witnessing genuine innate happiness in people with materially poor lives.  I observed pure joy and gratitude despite obvious hardship and often traumatic pasts.

I realised that Steve was not like all the others and that he was in fact a decent bloke (and double brownie points for putting up with so much of my shit when most men would simply walk
away).

But most of all, I made peace with myself. I accepted myself and no longer felt ashamed of who I was.

When I stood on top of a relatively small mountain in Australia’s Warrumbungle National Park on my 26th birthday, for the first time in 10 years I felt free. I had finally left the bullshit of the past behind.

Joy had found her way home.

SPIRALLING INTO THE SHADOW

Following that day, life became pretty phenomenal. I overcame eating issues and shed a load of weight (without even trying). I drastically cut down on the booze. I discovered hobbies and a passion for learning. I cycled from London to Paris and ran my
first half marathon, feats that before I would not have considered trying. I had more travelling adventures. I attracted some amazing people into my life, forming deep and meaningful connections and my career, which had always been a non-starter, soared.

And remember Steve? Against all odds we got married (in Vegas!) and now have two gorgeous children (and this despite my own resistance and belief that I did not deserve kids).

Then I followed my dream. I left work to have baby number 2, set up a business then BOOM!

All the crap about me not being good enough, stuff that I thought I had overcome, well, the truth is I had just filed it away. I had not addressed the other me. The real me? I was locked away in the shadowy depths of my mind waiting to be found. I was found and I came back with a vengeance.

I felt my life spiralling downwards again. All those old feelings of shame and self-loathing were creeping back. I felt like a failure. I was a terrible mother. A lousy wife. My business was a sinking ship weighted down by mounting debt.

I started drinking more alcohol than normal, bingeing on junk and not taking very good care of myself.

I retreated into myself, pushing people away and felt ashamed for imagining life without my kids. The stress and overwhelm was all consuming and I simply did not recognise the person I was anymore. I only knew I did not like who I was becoming.

TURNING MY WOUNDS INTO MY WORK

Then it happened. My 3-year-old daughter hit me. Really hit me! My anger took over. In that moment all my pent up frustration came out as I picked her up by her shoulders and shouted loudly in her face, took her to her room and threw her  - like a
rag doll - onto her bed.

When I saw her sobbing inconsolably, pleading with me with her eyes, it's like I woke up.

I saw me. My inner child who wanted nothing more than to be loved. And I realised in that moment that I had turned into all the women before me, unleashing generations of wounds,
patriarchal patterns and insecurities onto the one person I had always vowed to protect.

I knew that I wanted better for my daughter. I knew that I wanted her to grow up free from insecurity and suffering, to be able to fully express herself, to love herself, to be loved and know her worth and give her the freedom to live HER life, not mine.

When I looked at my daughter, full of unconditional love, so pure and innocent, when I realised that her challenging behaviour was a mirror of me, I knew that I had to set myself free from my shadow.

The generations of hurt and wounding had to stop with me so that I could leave a better legacy for my children.

READER’S NOTES

Feeling is healing.

When you allow yourself to be present with your feelings in any given moment - even the dark and uncomfortable ones - you allow nature to take its course. You can process your emotions and allow the energy to flow through you. 

When you stuff your feelings down, hiding parts of yourself through fear and shame, you become a pressure-cooker of pent up emotions and stagnant energy ready to explode.

Who you BE is who your children become.

If you want to raise children who are deeply connected to who they really are and live as the fullest expression of themselves – physically, emotionally and spiritually including all the messy parts - then YOU need to be the change. YOU need to be that
person.

You need to stand in your own power, walk your own path and live as the most authentic embodiment of you because it gives your children permission to do the same.

Take a moment to reflect on these questions:

- Where in your life are you hiding behind a mask?

- What truths are you not
speaking?

- What emotions are not being
fully expressed and why?

- What is your biggest fear
when it comes to living as the fullest expression of you?

BIO

Michelle Catanach aka The Uncaged Mama helps women uncage themselves, their kids and their lives using the power of consciousness, connection and creativity. Michelle’s
vision is that every child lives as the fullest, boldest version of their true self without shame weighing them down and crushing their spirit....and it starts with women being the change. She believes that by empowering women we empower our children and THAT is how we change the world. Michelle lives in Amersham in the UK with her two spirited children and adorable husband. She’s obsessed with campervans, avocados and has been described as an undercover hippy. 


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  • Steph Drane on June 4, 2017, 4:54 p.m.

    Thank you so much for this, it's so important. Bright Blessings to you and your book, Namaste, Steph

  • Michelle Catanach on June 4, 2017, 8:27 p.m.

    Thank you so much Steph, we really appreciate your support! Much love, Michelle x

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