The year 2020 hit and the world stood still momentarily., prompting me and billions of others to follow suit. Since schools and daycares were urged to shut their doors I was forced to stay home most days. Although I was happy about the quality time my son and I spent together, I worried about the security of my job. The thought of how this pandemic could affect the livelihood of my family made me nauseous; How everything I’ve worked so hard for could be taken from me just as quickly as I could blink. Thankfully, due to the flexibility that was offered during such trying times, I was safe.

Since I no longer had to hold my breath wondering if I’d be let go or not, I wallowed in our time off together. Most days were spent playing, doing some sort of project or his personal favorite, cuddling and watching movies. Despite him having more energy than I ever had in a lifetime, I enjoyed every minute. During those few weeks I learned a thing or two about him. He was kind, sensitive, loving, rambunctious as hell and quite humorous; most of which I knew already. On the same accord he struggled at managing his emotions and required tons of attention. Saddened by oblivion of his needs and my own inability to handle it with love, I panicked. Feeling ashamed, inadequate and less than I began to reevaluate my parenting style and learn how to consciously parent instead of subconsciously subjecting him to my same upbringing. I promised him and myself that I’d be better and that I’ll do better. After all, he was the one to bring my world to screeching halt flooding my heart with a love I’ve never experienced before. He deserved the very best I could give.

That very small but significant revelation is what started my twenty one question game. What else was I missing or simply not paying attention to? Were there things about myself I hadn’t noticed or understood yet? The answer was….HELL YES!

In addition to the daily questionnaire I’d subject myself to, I began to evaluate my own emotions, how I reacted to things and how I internally and outwardly handled different situations. I’d sometimes have those “whoa” moments where I’d catch myself saying things or behaving in ways that were questionable by me. The new center of my attention was becoming me.

On a evening no different from others, a familiar feeling came rushing over me but there was something different this time. It was stronger and more resilient to my inherent need to push aside any strong emotion.

“What the hell is going on with me?” I’d think to myself. There was an overwhelming need to find answers so the digging commenced. “Healing” became a word that was being plastered on every platform and I drew to any information I could get. Healing childhood traumas and doing shadow work sounded so renewing but I’ll admit, at that time I couldn’t fathom going back to revisit a past I worked so hard to forget. I didn’t feel prepared to stare back at myself without my mask.

I lived the life of a girl who’d at some point conditioned herself to be one way on the outside and another on the inside; often repressing my own feelings, thoughts, and desires to please or pacify others. Most of the time, someone else’s happiness and satisfaction were more important than mine. I strived to be as selfless as possible, consistently bending in all kinds of directions for others. My insecurities and lack of self-love had me downing myself every chance I got. Thinking positively about myself was just not a thing. Intimacy made me uncomfortable. Emotions were painful, expressing them even more so. I never even allowed myself to believe that I deserved the same love I gave to others. I was a serial giver, people pleaser to an extent, mediator, and counselor to people who “naturally” drew to me. A full blown professional at dimming my own light not so that others could shine but because I never believed I could.

Damn! Perplexed by this new realization, how come I never noticed this before?” Why haven’t I cared as much about myself as I do other people? “Why was this level of tolerance tolerated!” I literally screamed this at myself (in my head of course) as I tried to wrap my head around it all.

After having a few intimate conversations with Isa, my dearest friend, it became crystal clear that I was having what some might call a spiritual awakening; a new me was surfacing as I awoke from my slumber.

When people mention having an awakening or even just the word itself, I think some people imagine these extreme spiritualist, or overly joyous people that preach about healing, happiness and good vibes all day. In all realness, it’s people who’ve quite literally opened their eyes and saw the world and themselves through a completely different lens. Plainly put in my opinion, it’s when your spirit is disturbed and woken up for some sort of purpose. That’s it. For me, and I’m sure a lot of other people, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. It was sometimes frightening, lonely, and painful. I spent a number of days being uncomfortable, facing unbearable truths, and confronting my inner demons. Other days I’d be high on life, in a state of euphoria almost after being able to recognize my own worth. Learning to love myself from the inside out, might I say is a painfully beautiful experience. I mean, I was a beautiful mess.

With a heart full of gratitude, I dove headfirst into my spirituality, gathered around people who poured into me just as much as I did them. I gained mentors and role models, coaches, and close friends that saw my potential. I even found myself an amazing therapist to help me work through the things I couldn’t alone. It became easier to distinguish what and who was good for me. Letting go of people and things that no longer served me didn’t hurt as bad and setting boundaries when I deemed necessary actually became a thing.

In the moments I saw myself awakened; I knew there was more to unravel. Every day a little more confidence was gained, I learned something new about myself and a step towards healing was made. The tears I cried most days became vital nutrients for my evolution. I wasn’t quite there yet but I was on the brink of someone new. And it felt amazing!