“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts
I used to be an insecure girl obsessed with her weight, stepping on the scales about twenty times a day.
I used to be a bulimic teenager struggling with depression and a way too controlling father, whom I never told, “I love you, Dad.”
I used to be a lonely woman who always fell for the wrong men because she had not yet learned that she deserved better.
I used to be co-dependent, fighting for everyone but myself.
I used to be a bacteriophobe—I was so afraid of germs and dirt that I refused to stay in hotels because I could not stand the thought of having to lie in a bed that hundreds of other people had already slept in.
This is the way I used to be. And I thought I would be like that for as long as I live.
But when I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life and marry a guy who wanted to turn me into a Stepford Wife, I discovered what I was not: I was not afraid to change!
This is how my journey began, and it continued one step at a time.
I left my fiancé, although everybody thought I had gone crazy. But how could I have stayed with someone who only loved the idea of the girl he thought I could be?
Fighting the silence of my new place, I forced myself to join a yoga group. And through yoga, I learned something else about myself: I am strong.
Meditation taught me that silence does not equal loneliness. Silence equals inner peace. And inner peace equals strength.
I was ready to take the next step and, slowly but surely, I broke old behavior patterns.
I learned that if you want your future to be brighter than your past, you must start acting differently. Today.
Relationships suffered, but I decided to no longer surround myself with people who I knew would nourish my codependency.
I also learned another very important lesson: I need to put myself first when it comes to love.
Because only when you love yourself someone else can truly love you, too.
This is how I found my soul mate. And although we both are not perfect, we could not be more perfect for each other.
I moved to another country and finally understood that I was “uncontrollable,” no matter how hard people tried to tell me what to do.
Space taught me about freedom: the freedom to listen to my feelings, and the freedom to trust myself.
Once I understood that I could trust myself, I realized I could accept myself, too.
At this point, I was finally able to let go of my neuroses and cope with the emotions that had been feeding my eating disorder.
All my life I had been troubled by yesterday’s “what ifs” and worried about tomorrow’s “maybes.”
But when you are no longer haunted by your past nor concerned about your future, you are ready to see what’s beautiful today.
And beauty is all around you!
Now a holistic nutritionist and mindfulness coach, I know I have come a long way.
I teach my children to love themselves as much as I love them, and every day they tell me they love me, too.
I’ve also healed my relationship with my father. He is the one person I turn to whenever I get stuck in life and need someone to help me get back on track again.
He died on September 29, 2008. He was in a coma when I came to see him and I did not have a chance to say goodbye. I wasn’t there when he died; I only heard him take his last breath through the phone. But, Dad, wherever you are out there: I love you! I really do.
I am by no means flawless, but through my journey I have realized that anyone can change if they take it one step at a time.
You just have to try and put yourself out there, even though it means you need to leave your comfort zone.
Because we all deserve to be happy! And it is never—never—too late to take a U-turn and rewrite the plot of your own life.
Photo by Luz Adriana Villa