To be truly happy is to have a deep inner satisfaction and approval of yourself. Encompassing yourself in unconditional love no matter what unideal characteristics one may have.
My whole life has been a gradual development of accepting myself and learning how to show what it is I stand for. This evolution has finally brought great joy and passion in my life in which I feel it is only fitting I share my journey in hope it may help others the same way.
As a society, we are taught that a positive outlook and inner acceptance can fix all things and it is only a self-help book or positive quote away to being attainable to everyone. Unfortunately, I am sure you have come to the grim realization this is not the case. Although the self-help books feel good at the time, and that enlightening painting above your bed that reads, “A positive mind provides a positive life”, looks hip and fun, it does not exactly fix anything. It is a mind set and a choice to love yourself and it needs to be practiced daily. Thankfully, the ups and downs through the years have finally led me to the place I need to be, which leads me to you and telling my story. Love it or hate it, this is me. So without further ado, let the story begin.
I grew up as the youngest child. Although it sounds appealing, and at times it had its advantages, there was my older sister. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. She was a blue eyed, skinny, thick blonde haired beauty. She won beauty pageants, great at gymnastics and a connoisseur at ticking me off. One truly riveting memory I have is when we both participated in a small town parade. She was the cute child waving like a beauty queen in training, and I was caught with my finger up my nose. So, let’s just be honest, clearly I had some jealousy issues. I hated the fact she had the beautiful hair, the looks, and mostly I despised the feeling that our family and friends adored her and not me. But, don’t fret! It didn’t take me too long to see that this was not the case. They loved me just as deeply as her, but when you are young you look at the world in such a different view. Even though this view was wildly inaccurate, it didn’t stop the fact that this is when my inner critic was born. This is when it became confident in yelling inappropriate and hurtful words, as if it knew what it was talking about. “You’re just chubby” “You’ll never have beautiful hair” “Nobody likes you” “Four Eyes” “You aren’t good at anything” “You’re so Weird”, were just a few things I remember telling myself.
From this stemmed a personality that would torment me for the rest of my life…somewhat. I became extremely shy. I did not even interact with family the way a “normal” child would. I still remember the sick, anxious feeling I would get when being introduced to new people. This shyness fueled the awkwardness that lit the self-critics ego a flame. At this point, my dad became so immensely worried that it led him to search for answers in hopes to find something to salvage my self-esteem. This is when he found an answer. He talked with me about going to Barbizon, a school for modeling, in hopes to bring me out of this self-destructive imaginary world I created, and it began to work.
As the years passed, I began practicing the power of positive thinking. To me, beauty and confidence is shown through your inner core to everyone else. I knew that in order to be happy, I had to be happy with myself first. Cliche sounding, but very powerful. I didn’t want to practice “self growth” because that would imply that something was WRONG with me. What I needed was self healing. I began embracing and being gentle with myself and started trying to show others how to do the same.
Fast-forwarding through college, I found that I had become the woman I always envisioned to be. I was Strong-willed, stubborn (in the right way), kind, self-sufficient, had tons of trusting and loving friends and overall beautiful in many ways. (Yes, I can say this in a modest fashion) I was the person who others would come to for guidance or advice. I became caring and would embrace the insecurities of others to try to help build them back up. I never would have guessed this nurturing desire of mine would wind up keeping me in a place where the devil presented himself and evil poured in my mind, once again, on a weekly basis.
After college, I found myself dating someone who not only mentally mistreated me, but later became physically abusive as well. Most people who knew me would never have believed I would allow myself to be in this situation. I was even told by a family member, “I knew when you were ready to leave and put your mind and heart into it, you’d just do it. You are more capable to handle yourself than anyone I know so I just never asked.” Which, again, if you know me…I’m stubborn and she was right. To me, I could help him. I could nurture him into the caring man I saw deep down. I KNEW none of this was my fault. However, the inexplicable filth that poured out of his spitting words began chipping away at the person I had always wanted to be. At one point he actually told me, in one of the many apologetic attempts, “I only say all those hurtful things because I see you up here (holding his hand above his head), and I feel like I need to bring you down a bit.” Other things like “You’re so stupid, nobody will take you because all you can be is a trophy wife”, “I bet you were nothing but a whore before me and that’s why you were raped”.
Oh, did I fail to mention? When I was a teenager, around 17, I was at a party and woke up being taken advantage of by a friend. Now, this was a guy who I had flirted with a bit, but was way older than me. I never followed through with these actions and was dating my high school sweetheart at the time. But to me, it was my fault. I had brought it on myself because I did show interest. So I continued to date him. He was, at the time, a friend of mine that I cared for. It wasn’t until years later, I realized it wasn’t right. I knew it back then, but not like I do now. But anyway, back to this.
Without going into too many details (in which I have since made a distant memory) all the verbal punches turned into physical bruises. I was choked, drug across the hall, spat on, pulled out of a car, and the last straw was when I was bloodied in the driveway after trying to leave for good. Now, I wasn’t the perfect saint in this situation. Evil breeds evil, and I found myself saying hurtful things in attempt to defend myself. Words I didn’t know I knew. I even slapped him twice in the heat of the moment.
I don’t tell you these things in attempt for pity or to make you feel as if I was a victim or even to make you dislike/hate the wrongdoers. Please remember, I stand here, vulnerable to judgement, criticism and sympathy but I do not need these things. I’m here today, the person I am, because I have been through HELL and back and have nothing but Love and Admiration for the person I am. I share today because I want others to know YOU are BEAUTIFUL, POWERFUL, WORTHY and ADMIRED no matter what life throws you. It’s how you heal your life and what you learn from it. It’s an ongoing struggle because the mind is a relentlessly ongoing thing. But how you handle every thought is what matters.
I’ve forgiven myself, my ex, my “friend”. I would NEVER change my journey. My passion is STILL to help change the lives of others and I feel that God has put these obstacles in my path in order for me to understand and appreciate the pain and confusion others receive from the same situations. It’s so I can relate because I’ve experienced it. It’s to be given the knowledge and power to help myself become self-aware and gentle with myself, accepting unconditional love for #1, me. Besides, if I didn’t “love me some me” as I often say, how will I carry out what I was put on this earth to do?
Through this found freedom of self-acceptance, I have finally encountered my drive and I want to hit it head on. It’s to guide you and so many others through the fires. Through the heat of your own mind and self-critic, your own destructive thoughts and emotions, and even the relentless “not feeling good enough” no matter what that looks like. I want to educate women on abuse and self preservation and empower them in a way where they are comfortable enough to stand up and be exposed, in order to help others, like I have through this post.
Health, Beauty, and Healing is what I am about and what I want to help others to achieve. Because if we all accept ourself, we become fearless and the universe opens its arms to the unthinkable. May God, Grace and Patience be with you.
(Side note, I wanted to give you a person I LOVE LOVE LOVE to follow. She’s fearless, inspirational and always seems to say the right things. Her passion for business, God and helping others is unreal. Meet Sandi Krakowski. I hope she helps change you like she has me!)