The spark that began my personal growth journey was the moment I was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012. Looking back now, I can say with 100% certainty, that my diagnosis was the biggest inflection point in my life up to that point and one of the best things to ever happen to me. It stripped away all the B.S. and made me realize that this was MY life. No one else’s. And if I wasn’t happy with it, well then, I had no one to blame but myself if I didn’t do something about it. It was one of the major catalysts to begin the heavy work of unpacking all the baggage that comes from having grown up in an emotionally abusive home with a narcissist stepfather, abandoned by my real father and being raped at 14 years old. I’m a survivor, but previous to my diagnosis, I had definitely played a victim. Self-esteem is hereditary and having grown up with a mother with no self-esteem, I didn’t have it either. I kept wondering why I was given so much pain and trauma to deal with and I complained about how unfair life was. I had many moments where I considered suicide, but down deep somewhere, I knew I couldn’t give up.
Up until the cancer diagnosis, I had spent most of my life achieving as much as I could to prove to everyone and myself that I was worthy and valuable. I accomplished goal after goal because I thought that in by doing so, I would finally earn the love I so desperately wanted from people who didn’t know how to give it. My value was dependent on my achievements and I hustled for love, in friendships and in romantic relationships. I was a perfectionist and an amazing people-pleaser. I chased after emotionally unavailable people and I settled for the less than I deserved. I neither knew how badly I wanted and needed emotional support, nor how to give it because I couldn’t give it to myself first. I wanted to feel seen and loved so I went through my life checking off the list of acceptable ways to achieve “success” in life…graduate high school, join the National guard to put myself through college, go to graduate school, get married, buy a house, have babies…you know, the checklist we’ve all been fed our entire lives that leads to the path of happiness. And for a while, it worked.
As I achieved those things, by all appearances, I was winning at life, but I couldn’t escape the thought that kept bubbling up that I wasn’t living MY life. I was living the life that I believed everyone expected from me and I felt miserable because of it. I was terrified and fearful most of the time. I doubted my voice, my abilities, my feelings, my intuition. I was horribly insecure and afraid that if I ever told anyone what I really thought or felt that they would abandon me. So, I did what most people do…I buried it. I stuffed those feelings down. I went about the business of making my life appear perfect. Not only did I go about making my life appear perfect, I expected perfection of myself and everyone around me. I shut myself down. I was cynical and negative. I hid behind shame. I squelched my voice. I made destructive and hurtful decisions. I did my best to distract myself from my intuition leading me to my authentic self and feelings.
But you can’t outrun yourself forever. The stronger you deny your growth, it will manifest in one way or another. The harder you try to ignore your true self or true feelings, the more destructive and chaotic your life becomes.
And I’d say developing cancer at the same time your marriage is unraveling while you are losing your corporate job in finance was pretty chaotic. But the truth is, I brought it on myself.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone with cancer made themselves sick because they weren’t acknowledging, validating or acting on their true feelings, but in my case, I certainly did. I made myself sick with cancer. And I needed that to happen to finally get real with myself. All bets were off. My own mortality punched me in the gut.
I prayed for my healing and I bargained with the Universe that if I was cleared, I wouldn’t waste any more time. I would stop being a victim. I would make the decision to live MY life, regardless of what anyone else thought about it. I would pursue things that filled my soul and spoke to my heart.
A month after my diagnosis, I listened to my intuition and honored my true feelings and asked my husband for a separation. I started a new demanding job with a prestigious company one month after that…a mixed bag as I was relieved to have a job and the security, but I was in emotional turmoil and not able to give my normal 100%. A few weeks later, I moved into my own apartment and started sharing joint custody of my two young daughters with my estranged husband. As someone who had been the primary care-giver of their children even while married, I thought my purpose were my children. When they were gone, I didn’t have a clue what to do with myself and the silence was deafening and my anxiety and mom-guilt was at an all-time high.
I had honored my authentic self and my life looked nothing like it had 3 months earlier; I was a complete wreck. I was untethered, full of grief, anxiety and despair. I waffled on whether the decisions I had made were the right ones. I debated going back. I had days where I couldn’t get out of bed. I had days when I cried all day at my desk at my new job. I struggled because for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a checklist on what to do next. My life didn’t turn out the way I had planned at all and I had to come to terms with that. Friends and family were disappointed and sad about our divorce and my relationships with even my closest friends were strained. Divorce is one of those life experiences when you realize people won’t support you like you thought they would. Looking back, I realized it was because I entered all my relationships wearing a mask of who I was pretending to be instead of being myself. I felt terribly alone and lonely in a way I had never been in my life.
But, if you have the courage to take these steps towards building a life of your making, the Universe brings you exactly who and what you need. I started building friendships that were based on who I truly am, not who I was pretending to be. And slowly but surely, I was given a support system of friendships which I’ve never had. People who could hold space for me and allow me to be nothing else but myself. I was blessed with people who became my chosen family.
And then, because I felt supported and safe for the first time in my life, I began the work of unbecoming.
Over the last 5 years of transition, I leaned into my personal growth and development, sometimes begrudgingly. The only way to grow is to get real and begin the process of healing yourself. But you can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge. I’ve spent this time removing suitcase after suitcase from the seemingly never-ending pile of my baggage. Opening each one, spreading the painful contents around and examining them. Each time, I took a deep breath and promised myself I’d be okay, leaned on my support system and faced the trauma contained within. Darkness is only terrifying when there’s no light and the only way to let the light in is to crack open the darkness.
Along the way, I thought I made a ton of missteps but I learned there is no such thing as failure. You only win or learn. I thought I knew so much about myself and my life. I realized that to heal myself, I would have to unlearn everything I thought I knew. I started over in every way. I began listening to my intuition for the first time in my life. I lost people along the way including close friends I thought would be around forever, but I learned how to let them go instead of chasing after them and betraying a part of myself to keep them around. I learned how to feel my way through everything. I learned how to lean on my people who tossed logs onto the flames of my dreams and growth, rather than those who tossed water. I realized how fucked up I was/am. I realized we are all fucked up and that everyone is doing the best they can. I laid down old, worn out coping mechanisms and stories that kept me stuck. I transformed my state of mind. I became positive. I grew self-esteem, self-confidence, self-acceptance and self-love from the inside out. I learned how to grant myself grace and what real self-care and self-love feels like. I learned to walk in faith and trust that whatever is meant for me will never miss me as long as I have the courage to be true to myself. I got quiet and listened for my intuition. I began to believe in abundance. I instilled boundaries. I began to trust myself, fully. I found my voice and I learned how to use it. I found myself. I birthed a brand-new life built on who I truly am and I fought like hell for it. And let me tell you, that shit is HARD.
Through this work, I learned that no one can heal you. No one can give you happiness. It is no one else’s responsibility to heal you or make you happy. To find your own happiness, you have to do the work to heal yourself. You need to grow, which means facing your demons. But, NO ONE should have to do this alone.
My journey has been a long one.
With every experience and painful healing, I gained compassion, clarity and wisdom. I acquired a lifetime of education over these past 5 years. I became unapologetic about who I am. Now, I can say…I am powerful. I am confident. I am BOLD. I am worthy and valuable. I am resilient. I know I am strong because I know how to be vulnerable. I am AUTHENTIC. I create space for new thought patterns that empower me. I know how to manifest everything I want because I am unapologetically myself. I have learned to align my actions with my words and thoughts and intuition. I have learned that everything happens FOR me, not TO me. And this makes me MAGNETIC.
My personal transformation culminated in finding the courage to become an entrepreneur and start my own business in 2014. After a few years of building my business, I took another leap of faith and left my career in corporate finance. My business organization has grown to over 500 people and I’ve spent the last 3 years honing my leadership, empowerment coaching and mentoring skills. I’ve coached many people through their own personal growth blocks. I bought a house this past year and now spend my days modeling for my two daughters what I didn’t get in my own childhood. My life is full and I am whole. I find joy. I am grateful. I have amazing relationships surrounding me because I had the courage to become myself. I believe in myself and pursue the things that feel aligned. I am at peace. I am content. I am happy. I am still growing and evolving, because change is the only constant we are promised.
I am proof that by changing your mindset and leaning into your growth, you become more powerful than ever and you can create the life you want from the inside out.
And through it all, I found my purpose. My purpose is to share these learnings with others and teach them how to empower themselves from within. To help them create their own life…the one that has been desperately calling to them. This journey has made me into a teacher. A guide. A light bringer. I’m here to serve as a professional mentor and coach to support others through their own path of self-discovery and self-healing. I’m here to believe in them before they can believe in themselves. I’m here to convince others that they are already enough, as is, until they know it for themselves. I’m here to cheer others on while they do the work of unbecoming who they thought they had to be in order to be successful, happy and loved. I’m here to hold space and nudge them along in a loving, judgement-free way as they lay down the stories that hold them captive and do the work to become their true selves.
This is where you come in…
If you are struggling, if you are in chaos, if you are stuck, if you can’t see or hear the next step, if you want to do the work, if you are afraid of what people will think, if you are ready to confront your darkness, but you don’t know where to begin, I am here. If you are working towards a goal, but feel your mindset keeps you from stepping into your greatness, I am here and I want to help. Let me be the light that illuminates your walk. I’ll walk beside you, urging you to take the next step and reassure you with love and compassion that you will find your way. I’ll help you realize your power. I’ll show you how to find your voice and cheer you on as you begin to use it. I’ll be there while you transform into your own healer and save yourself. I’ll be with you as you create your life…the one you’ve always wanted but were too scared to start living.
I’ll teach you how to live, unapologetically.
Let’s do this work together. Will you join me?