Soul Play had its beginning in 2006, when I married a man that I shouldn’t have.
And I knew it back then.
As in the night before our wedding, sitting on his mother’s porch, knowing full well I shouldn’t go through with it, that we weren't right for each other, that this was one of those how to seriously fuck-over-your-life moments...
Yet, the next morning, I said ”I do”.
I hid behind the excuses.
Everyone had already arrived.
Didn’t such-and-such just land at the airport?
Hadn’t what’s his face just cross the border?
Didn’t so and so just spend the whole weekend making final touches on his speech?
Didn’t we just pay for a 7 course dinner that was going to be served in less than 24 hours?
But mostly, this one: "It would be so embarrassing to cancel a wedding. What would people think?"
And just so you know, my present-self goes"wtf" each and every time I swallow that I actually convinced myself into a marriage based on that.
Prior to that relationship + marriage, I was a pretty confident person - a girl with her own ideas. A fiery, decisive girl on the move. Making shit happen.
I had a well-paying job, owned my own condo, a side modeling-career, won the "30 Most Extraordinary Bostonians" award, the car of my-then dreams, my own business on the go, a great social life, felt purposeful and happy.
And then...that relationship.
And then the red flags.
And then those flags started to threaten who I was.
In that marriage, I gained a husband, but I lost myself.
Physical, spiritual and emotional abuse.
My voice, my confidence, that city-gal boldness and sass - yea, it all went to shit.
And in return, I gained a sorry-ass sense of self.
And I was "off” in my life. In my day.
Misaligned, if you wanna get fancy.
Never before had I known what it was like to have anxiety, panic attacks, depression or even knew what fibromyalgia was - but, that was the new Ellen.
Even living on the streets of NYC, with all its flavor for random shoot-outs, gang trouble, the fury in the air...16 years of that pill couldn't bring me to where I now was.
Nope, that marriage was a shit-show.
Daily feeling suffocated.
Physically, my body was numbing down.
Emotionally, I was numbing down.
I woke up most mornings paralyzed, with my arms and legs not being able to move.
Ripped apart my femininity.
Denied my sensuality.
Censored my expression.
Disbelieved my intentions.
Sabotaged my personal truths.
Imposed ideals, rules, pressures.
It messed with who I was, who I thought I was. It made me question my very core.
That marriage broke me down.
Relentlessly criticized - for breathing, for laughing, for being just me.
Emotionally beaten down.
I succeeded in falling short and I was always bargaining to win a lick of the you-did-good spoon he waved in front of my starving self.
My creative expression.
My way of dressing.
And the dancing that I had been doing since I was 4 years old...
All got his boot.
I questioned how much of my life and happiness was actually a sacrifice for my kids - for their stability, for them to be able to say they came from an in-tact home.
That right there, tells you a thing or two of where my mind was....because in no way, was that dog-and-pony-show a poster child for in-tact.
I couldn't register a "how" out.
But, it didn't really matter for, at that point, I couldn't register a “why” out either.
So, I un-became me...on the outside.
And the life I was living, was a lie.
And, it was so broken and so far from being anything in-tact...in so many ways.
And I did that, for 12 years.
Then a breaking point moment -- and the inner Ellen that I had closet-ed all this time finally Bruce-Lee'd through, rioting: "this ain't right...” and she gave me a kick in the ass and got some points across.
After the initial who is he to even be trying to take over your life..?
then came, girl, you need to listen up...
And so I listened and I heard.
I needed to be me...no matter if that made him value me less. I wasn't less.
I needed to stand up for me...even if that meant I was going to be alone. I didn't need him.
I needed to create my own version of doing my life well...and live it.
And my children needed me to protect them...and to see a happy, smiling, thriving mommy.
And so, for my sanity and our safety, I left that marriage with my three small children in tow.
So, why Soul Play?
I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason...
that there's always something to be learned from each experience.
Even those experiences that suck.
When you can't pinpoint the "ah, that's why" for your particular shit-show, I'm thinking it's so that you can help the next person when she is in that same situation.
You're then that person for her - that person who really gets her.
You say, I understand. I was there.
And that, that.right.there, goes right to the belly of her heart.
Yes, that's a total thing...belly of her heart.
So, right now, to you, I can say - No lie, I know what it’s like.
I know what it's like to feel massively disconnected from your thoughts, to not know whether you are coming or going. You just can't wrap your mind around what the hell is actually going on, what you need to do, what you actually feel about it.
I know what it's like to feel like your body turned on you...like she absolutely betrayed you, and passed around a memo that had a completely different agenda than the one you thought you agreed to. Like your body dropped the "just basic functioning" ball.
I know what it's like to feel stuck and craving a massive change in your atmosphere, in your energy, in your day. Tired of always being at a crossroads. Actually, it's more than a crossroad. Crossroads sizzle of adventure, potential and opportunity. Here, now, your options are this sucks and that sucks more.
I know what it's like feeling surrounded, overwhelmed, suffocated by way too many hell no's and wondering what party your fuck yes homies are at.
And yes, girl, I know what it's like to feel guilty AF knowing you think all those thoughts.
Like bust out the old Michael Jackson phonograph play non stop all the time...(and don't mess with that memory my 8 year old self is sharing there, m'kay?)
Seriously, the kicker is just that. You feel all that and then go and sugar coat that sorry looking cake you have in front of you with more of getting down on yourself, ranting something about bullshit standards and how you are flipping through your life....how you aren't giving your all.
Girl, slow down. Don't pretty up and move right into the mega mind-fuck.
I started Soul Play because I wanted to...no, I needed to, tap into that boatload of badassery and feminine energy I had been putting aside.
For the sake of my own life, my own satisfaction, I needed to make a bigger footprint in my own life, not tiptoe around.
I needed to do something that would remind me of my sassy self, my boldness, my fierceness. And pull her out into my everyday.
I needed something to voice me, the way I wanted to voice me.
Soul Play is about standing front and center to creating and living out your siren-red, exciting life, with all its powerful, feminine deliciousness.
And doing so through movement.
Movement in your body.
Movement of your thoughts.
An upgrading of your surroundings, your energy, your perspective.
Perhaps a complete revamp.
The way we move about in life - whether in the grocery store, at your kids school, to your partner in the bedroom - it says a lot about how you think of yourself.
What you want is a "girl on fire" mentality.
Movement gets you tapping into that. And you end up taking that power and confidence with you, into everything else.
And you become...whoa, something fierce.
So, Soul Play is about you moving forward in the direction you want...
with sass and confidence.
And without apologies.
Soul Play is about unboxing your life and
taking out the hell no’s and filling it with all the hell-ya’s.
All without disclaimers.
Soul Play is about having a well-played life.
And done without anyone's permission.
Soul Play is about rocking a new atmosphere - through an unexpected form of life coaching.
It's my secret sauce.
I'm now the Ellen that I am in awe of. That I am proud of.
That I place my bets on.
It's also an invitation to you.
To be THAT girl.
The one that knows her worth.
The one that wants to come alive and live an exhilarating and sexy life.
The one that willingly opens up the box.
The one that says fuck yes to being her wildest and truest self.