I stood barefoot and alone on the street that held most of my memories, the ones that burned in my mind for better or worse. It was the same street where I experienced my first real love, where I grew up with my childhood friends, where I decided to go away for college, and where I prayed for my heart to heal. This was the street where I let my heart be free for the first time and where I learned to build walls around that same heart.
But this time was different. As I stood under the black sky, I didn’t feel the stability and peacefulness I once felt in this place. It was in this moment that I finally became aware of a part of my spirit that I never saw before. I could feel that I was someone who loves freely and deeply, but hides myself from the world, as to not make any waves of discomfort for the people around me. I pictured all the endings I’ve experienced before this moment, the kind you never think are going to create the hurricane-like chaos they do. It was in feeling those endings, as I stood there in my solace, that I made a promise to myself.
I looked deep within my heart and had the first honest conversation with myself that I’ve had in a long while. It was like having a good conversation with a friend that you haven’t talked to in years. I was scared to have this conversation, but it flowed so naturally that a part of me knew it was meant to be put into the universe. I understood the meaning of needing to find myself, my inner peace, and to live my life boldly and freely for myself. It had been a long time since I felt this way, as I have always tried to be someone for someone else, even if it meant abandoning my truth in the pursuit of other’s comfort.
But it was on this night that I decided to choose myself fully. This was a freeing moment. It felt like 26 years of holding my breath and finally being able to exhale. I knew this would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done if I actually committed to it. And I knew I needed this change if I was going to shine in this life and create what I was meant to put into the world. I knew that there was more to life than the way I’ve been living, which was made of fear, anxiety, and regret.
It was on this night I decided to say goodbye to that girl with love and respect, because she helped me survive up to this point. I knew every day would be a challenge and it wouldn’t be easy. I’d have to let go of my old patterns that have been my life jacket and allowed me to float through my days without completely sinking. I’d have to rid myself of old skin and slowly grow into my new self. Like putting on a new pair of shoes for the first time, it was going to be uncomfortable. But after time and regular wear, they fit like a glove, like they were made specifically for you. There of course would be growing pains in this magnificent change, which I would embrace with open arms. I decided on this night, standing barefoot and alone, that it was time to change and swim into the unknown. It was time to let my heart be at peace and stop living within my self-created limiting beliefs.
So here we are, a year after this conversation, remembering it like it was yesterday. Every day has not been easy, and some days I’ve taken a couple steps back. But every day I’ve known in my heart what I need to do. I’m still choosing myself, finding peace, learning patience and gratitude, and working through my past to get to my future. And if anything, I’ve learned to not take life too seriously. Life isn’t supposed to be hard, and you won’t be here forever. Your people won’t be here forever, either. That’s the only ultimate truth we have in this life, which gives me a sense of gratitude for what I have in this moment.
I hope you choose to honor your heart and become your highest self by finding love and giving love, being patient, feeding your body and soul with the right sources, using your voice for comfort and justice, and knowing you can start again. My wish for you is to use your gifts to make this world a better place, even if only for one person. And even if you never know the impact you’ve made. I hope you make waves with intention and grace and watch your life shine.