Hey Beautiful, you know how your phone sends you photos from the same day years ago? One came up that always hits me and thought I'd share with you.
Even as I post this...this brings back so many memories. The truth is, I'm smiling here at my brother's graduation. But if you look closely at my eyes, you'll see I was tired. The smile is there but it's the painted-on smile while everything is falling apart in the background. The one where you hold it together because you don't want to ruin someone else's day...and deeper than that, hiding in shame because you don't want anyone to know...
And so I smiled, gritted my teeth...pretended. When friends would ask, 'when are you having more kids?' grimacing as I had no answer. And even worse, when new people would ask me 'do you have any kids?', I had to decide each and every time if I would say no to save their comfort or if I would honor my chotu sonu (little love) and tell them my son had passed away.
Even the simplest question of 'where do you live?' gave me anxiety.
It was hard...really, really, really hard.
And here's the part that makes me the saddest...I had relegated myself to being ok with this life. Putting a mask on and reacting to life around me. Telling myself I was ok to be like this...because I was so afraid of being alone and not fitting the mold.
But I promised you the before AND after pics...so here's my smile now -- real, authentic and so content alh.
This pic is from my 100th Feminine & Fulfilled Podcast episode party! Antonio, my now husband, surprised me by dropping off balloons...just to support and love me. I still get tears when I look at my life now.
It’s amazing how things have changed for me. If someone had told the past me that I would be where I am today, I would have just smiled politely (and fakely) in disbelief.
I'm so grateful for everything I've gone through!
When I look at these photos, I see the growth within myself.
I see the girl that thought she had to live by certain rules and achieve the milestones society set for her in order to feel successful or happy.
Now I see the woman...the one who knows, no one gets to set those rules besides yourself. I paved my own way of success and I'm proud and grateful for all of it!
Thanks for going down memory lane with me, Beautiful!