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Blessings in Disguise

I woke up feeling more inspired today. I am still purging my past and I know that it is a process and will take some time. But I feel myself climbing over the worst of it and I am at the tipping point. When you lean into life and grow you start to notice that it makes more sense why things you thought you wanted didn’t work out.

My new mantra that I learned from both my virtual mentors: Tony Robbins and Kathrin Zenkina, is that. “Life is happening for you and not to you.” Huge difference in how to look at life. We may not see what it all means while it’s happening but it will mean something later.


Easier said than done of course, which is why I give myself permission to go through it. I am just trying to go through it in a better way. Not make it harder than it must be. Not blaming myself, taking accountability of course for things I can work on, but not unnecessarily taking on everything.

I am guilty of being way too hard on myself and not everything is so personal. I think that is a common misconception among people. And if we MUST make it personal then why can we not make it a good thing?

Maybe a loss is a blessing in disguise. Maybe the Universe was looking out for you. Not to minimize feelings as there will ALWAYS be grief with loss. But there is always a gain as well.


I truly believe that life is a journey and that when we clear our past and what no longer serves us, that we can make room for better to come. But can’t have the cake and eat it too. You can’t have both. You can’t skip this process, (believe me, I’ve tried!).

There are no short cuts and if there were, you wouldn’t appreciate it as much anyway. I believe we came here to this Earth to learn. Our hardships are what shapes us. None of us are exempt from pain, as I’ve written in my previous blog posts. We do not walk away unscarred from life. Our pains maybe different.

But pain is universal and it is a reminder that we are all one. But just because we are all one doesn’t mean it’s okay to stay with people nor keep them in your life. Sometimes people are merely a lesson and only a chapter in our lives. We can thank them for the lesson and say, “Thank you. I love you. I forgive you,” and wish them well.

That may take time. I am still working on that but getting better at it. As natural empaths, it is easy to attach to our feelings and to people. Healers need to constantly work towards setting boundaries and detaching.

It is a practice and gets easier and lighter the more you practice it. I do believe that when we get better at this, we live more peacefully and intentionally. We look at life differently and become more accepting of circumstances and things that are outside of our control.

For an anxious person myself, grounding myself is a lifeline and can be difficult. Especially, in the moment when triggered. Everyone is different and what grounds you might look different than what grounds me. However, taking deep breaths, practicing gratitude, moving your body and taking a walk, all can help. Reminding yourself that you’ve survived the inevitable before and can do it again.

That you are doing your best with the resources that you have and it’s ALL you can do. Plus, worrying doesn’t allow you the space to problem solve anyway. It puts more roadblocks in front of you. It’s only in the quiet when we receive the answers of our next move. It’s when our intuition kicks in when the rabbit hole ceases a bit.

So, if there is any lesson from today from my rambling. It’s to encourage you to let go of being perfect. We are ALL working progresses and hot messes. Don’t be fooled by the ones who seem to, “have it all together.”

We all go through struggles. We all are collectively going through hardships right now. Allow yourself to take a deep breath and acknowledge the amazing person that you are and the amazing effort that you are putting forth despite everything going on. Until next time…

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Lexy’s Road to Entrepreneurship

For those of you who don’t know and for those that do, I am a social worker. I have worked in various settings such as inpatient and outpatient facilities with clientele ranging from children 5+, adolescents, adults and seniors suffering from various mental illnesses/substance use/homelessness and physical disadvantages. I am licensed in NY and have contemplated continuing to obtain my Clinical license and perhaps PhD. That was always the plan it seemed…

Over the years, I had learned so much about human behavior and was thrown into some very difficult/dangerous situations. Crisis interventions became second nature to me. It would take too long to explain in detail what a social worker must endure, therefore, what I will say is that there were rightfully so warnings for burn out before even entering the field. Especially, since our wages do not match our efforts and what we are worth.

Nonetheless, I am a proud social worker and always will be at heart. Entrepreneurship first came to mind when I had dreams of owning my own private practice as a therapist. I enjoyed conducting therapy very much and working one on one & facilitating groups with clients. I also enjoyed the idea of being my own boss.

However, I noticed within the field, even as I got a taste for it, that I was limited in helping people in a lot of ways. The red tape also always annoyed me. I was always a creative person since I was a kid and it is no surprise that my longing for incorporating creativity into my interventions would be screaming at it for me sometime to fulfill.

I didn’t know what life coaching was to begin with. It all started with a friend of mine recommending me checking out this guy’s podcasts named, John Kim (The Angry therapist), who was an LMFT (licensed family marriage therapist) who then went on to a life coaching career. He also had his own blog. We had a lot of similarities. I followed his social media and story for awhile and even began to read his books. They began to overwhelmingly resonate with me.

During this time, I was following and listening to Kathrin Zenkina (Manifestation Babe) podcasts and story too. Kathrin was supposed to go to medical school but dropped out to start her own online business with coaching others. I had bought her programs too and I felt that I was getting more out of her programs than I did when I went to grad school.

Both John Kim and Kathrin Zenkina are examples of people who still wanted to help people but in unconventional ways. I felt the same way that I was in a box. I am grateful for my experiences but also felt trapped. I knew there had to be more. When the pandemic hit, I decided to take the plunge and joined John Kim’s Jrni Life Coaching Course.

I also reconnected with a good friend of mine named Michelle and am now a Health and Wellness consultant for online company. These products helped not only me, my friends and family and is also introducing me to the possibilities of online business world and residual income. Despite, me being an essential worker as a social worker and not having to lose my employment during the crisis, in which I am SOOO grateful for, it feels good to have a plan A, B and C. But more important, in my opinion, to make sure it aligns with your soul.

Before COVID-19 hit, those who have read my previous blog posts, know that I had a self-love trip dedicated to myself after heart break to go to Spain. At first, I was deeply upset but realize now that I was able to find myself during these times without needing to escape on a trip (not that vacations are not useful!). I realized that the root of my suffering in life was the lack of self-love, as it is for most of us!

Conquering this, and it’s okay to be a working progress as the journey never ends, will lead to attaining other goals in your life such as your dream relationship, job/career, financial goals, dream home, dream body, confidence, etc. It is all interconnected and this is why I decided that my niche when it comes to starting my own coaching business will be Self-Love. Today, I wrote out my about me, my mission statement, intake questions for clients, and contract. I am still in my class and will be graduating in Sept.

I don’t know what the future holds and can still pursue my social work career, but I think it’s important for us to all think outside the box and consider ALL of our options. You never know where it will lead you and who you are going to meet! Support system are everything and I am so grateful for mine.

The point of documenting my process and journey is to inspire you that you can do it too! It is merely one example of possibilities and your story can be unique to YOU. You are not anyone else and that is your superpower, not your downfall. Take the first step because everything else will unfold naturally as it should. I don’t have all the answers either and I am learning as I go. But since I am loving myself more, I am willing to that chance. “The Best is Yet To Come.”

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Couple’s Therapy for Our Nation

I refuse to get too much into politics. I am a social worker but I also come from a family of both sides. I listen to both and try to understand and then decide for myself what resonates more. Of course, it depends on what we are talking about. But I try not to buy into too much with the whole “choosing sides” things. And it’s not to say I do not have an opinion, it’s more to show that I want to listen to everything. Of course, there are some things I am more biased on, I am human. As we all are. But my main objective, and maybe this comes from years of practicing therapy, I want to see if there are ways to bridge the gap & mediate.

I am not sure if there are many out there like me, who are kind of in the middle because they either have family/friends who are of both sides of the coin. And I think it’s a beautiful thing, in my opinion, when people can come together despite having opposing thoughts. And I know, it can be frustrating at times. I am not going to pretend that my ego doesn’t jump out and cringe at the dinner table. But, I still think it’s cool when you can set your own personal biases aside and really listen. You can still disagree. But being constantly in reaction mode, and believe me I have tried endlessly, doesn’t really solve any problems. And this goes for EVERYONE by the way.

When I would provide couple’s therapy, I noticed, often, that both parties would just try to get THEIR point across and without really listening to each other. It was more of a blame game and nothing would get solved. It’s not to say that conflicts won’t arise and that feelings are not valid. That goes for what is currently going on in the world too. You are entitled to your feelings. They are valid. But like in couple’s therapy, I believe it’s important in HOW we fight. HOW do we become a team in solving the problem versus each other? After all, we do co-exist with each other. That is the reality that I believe many fail to recognize. And it’s okay to not like that. But it is important to acknowledge and find a way to make it work or at the very least tolerate it.

And endings are okay too. Like in relationships, you can also remove yourself. You can walk away. You can advocate. You can release negative energy in your life. You can take your power back. I’ve also provided therapy for people who got away from family/friends/significant others that were toxic for them and oftentimes abusive. That can apply for here too in what’s happening in the world. But in the meantime, if that isn’t an option, there are ways to take back your power internally before externally. Because at the end of the day, we cannot control other people but ourselves. We can control how we perceive the situation and our reactions to it. It’s a beautiful thing. It really is. And sometimes we forget that it’s within our power to do so.

And it’s not to say that you don’t have a voice and cannot take a stand on topics that you are passionate about (goes both ways). But I do believe it’s important to listen just as much, if anything, more so. It’s an excellent practice. And what I loved about becoming a therapist was that training forced me to do this with my clients. Because in therapy, our personal biases do not matter and must take a backseat. It doesn’t mean that you cannot have your opinion at the end of the day, it’s just training you to rise above from ego and to be an observer. As best as you can at least. It will help you grow, I promise. 

Because the thing is, what we forget, is that everyone is coming from their own perception. Everyone has their own personal story that maybe different from yours. There are REASONS people are the way that they are and I think it’s important to look at. It’s not to excuse behavior but merely to understand it better. To somehow come to a better conclusion on how to resolve these difficult problems that are just separating people even more.

I am hoping that this year 2020 is a huge lesson for us all and that we can overcome all the pain and hurt that has been done. I am hoping that it forces us to lead by example. I encourage light workers and helpers to rise above and step up as leaders. It is your time to shine and to help all of us heal. Love is what can change the world. As a social worker, I see it every day. The only thing that truly helps is compassion and love. You can still set boundaries, be assertive and advocate out of love. It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for actions. It means there are better approaches to handle the most difficult challenges. Thank you for listening. Be safe everyone.

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“Redefining Values During Pandemic”

Let’s pause…

As a collective, I believe we all are starting to question things. I think we all have succumb to fear and panic on various degrees and have faced extreme trauma. Some with firsthand experiences and others with secondary. None the less, as I have mentioned in my previous blog posts, we are all affected in some way some form.

For me personally, I witnessed that the homeless population suffered. Housing is hard to find to begin with in NY, so the pandemic made things even harder. I work with vulnerable populations who have a lot against them off the bat including an HIV diagnosis, and comorbid physical and mental health diagnoses and/or substance use. Even with being in a shelter to begin with is very dangerous and has poor conditions, that during a pandemic, everything is exasperated. And that is just ONE example of a population that is affected.

All our mental health has been compromised even for the average person who is relatively healthy. Isolation can have real effects on us. That is why people have committed suicide, victims of domestic violence have suffered and a lot have been killed even.

The virus in and of itself is very dangerous all on its own. But to add in fear, isolation, blame, and the unknown. Forget it. We are talking collective trauma. People underestimate what trauma can do to people. I for one, witness it firsthand everyday with my clients. My clients often talk about and some have lived through the AIDS epidemic when it first started. (not to compare COVID-19 to AIDS). But, it is fascinating to hear. And a good reminder for us of the resilience of human nature.

Before this pandemic occurred, my cousin and I planned to take a self-care trip to Spain. And then we moved it to Cancun (as mentioned in previous posts). When this first happened, it was hard for me to accept. I was going through heart-break at the time and feeling burnt out from my job. This trip was to help heal from that. I was on this road of personal development and putting myself first. (I didn’t realize at the time that I didn’t necessarily need a trip to attain this).

Since, my plans were interrupted as they all were for us, I then decided to take charge in what I could take charge in. I decided to join an online health and wellness business with my close friend, who has been an inspiration to me always. She is in the mental health field too as a behaviorist. I personally have experienced how alternative ways of healing has helped not only me but my friends and family. In addition to this, I decided to take an online course to become a certified life coach that was created by a virtual mentor of mine named, John Kim. His life story has always inspired me. He is a licensed therapist, like me, who believed in alternative ways of helping people, such as coaching.

So, I figured why not? I ALWAYS wanted to do this (there was always passion for these missions). However, fear always stopped me! It wasn’t until this pandemic that I finally said “F*CK IT!”And took ACTION.

When tragedy hits, we see the worst in people, unfortunately, but also the best in people. And it’s COMPLETELY FINE not to be perfect all the time. We are going to be hot messes and sometimes not even able to get out of bed because we’re so depressed and can’t believe this is all happening. But we do not have to stay there. And support systems are EVERYTHING. Make sure that you are surrounded by people who love you and lift you up higher when you can’t lift yourself up.

You see fear, oftentimes, is just an illusion. Tragedy teaches us not to take life for granted and that life is precious. We don’t want to look back and regret never even trying. “I should’ve just done that when I had the chance to.” “Who cares if I would’ve failed, at least I know I tried and gave it my all.” And that is precisely what life is meant for. It’s what life is all about. And it’s okay if circumstances are limited. But take those steps no matter how small they are to live your dream life. Eliminating limiting beliefs is a start. Believing in yourself and knowing that you deserve better, is PRICELESS. Start by redirecting your negative thoughts and feelings to ones that are still validating but more EMPOWERING.

This pandemic has not only opened my eyes but I believe all of us as a collective and it should. Look at where you currently are, where you want to be, and what is currently in the way not serving you. For me, it was the fear of putting myself out there, trying something different, and caring too much what people think. Life is too short for that 😉.

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“Deadpandemic: Finding a Reason to Laugh” by Joe Monico

“Let us all call a spade a spade, the world we live in today is absolute bonkers. People are dying every day from a virus we know very little about, the world is put on pause indefinitely, and we are all separated from our loved ones, missing out on that human touch that we so desperately crave.

And none of that is a reason to laugh. 

When I walked into a pole the other day trying to keep six feet apart from someone? That is a reason to laugh. When a bird had chronic diarrhea all over my shiny clean black car? That is a reason to laugh. And now more than ever we need to find these reasons. Hence why I have called this piece “Deadpandemic”, a pun on the world Deadpan (a form of delivering comedy).

As a stand-up comedian, and a person who genuinely loves to laugh, I am always searching for ways to make people smile. Making a person’s miserable day become slightly less miserable for even a second, that is my purpose in this world, that is what I consider to be my gift to society (what is yours?). Especially during a time where we are all just doing our best to avoid a complete breakdown, but coming dangerously close each day, it is important to find reasons to laugh, and share those reasons with the ones you love. Laughter is the truly the best medicine and a great form of therapy.

At my day job, I work in human resources, which means on a regular basis I work with employees through some difficult conversations. Especially during this time, I have many conversations with employees regarding deaths in their families, how they are coping with having the virus, and genuinely doing my best to talk them down from a ledge of completely losing their minds. And through all this, I have to be a source of calm for people among the chaos that is this world, despite feeling anything but on the inside (which is a very difficult task).

It would be incredibly easy to be on edge right now, to get snippy and jump down people’s throats, but that doesn’t solve anything, it only adds to the list of problems and negative feelings that people are having right now. Instead, I try and find reasons to smile and laugh with the employees, whether it be laughing about the fact that I don’t understand taxes or joking about using Lysol as a cologne. There is always something to smile and laugh about, and it is more important than ever that you find it and hold on to it.

I am also making a point to host bi-weekly comedy shows on Facebook Live, to allow people to tune in, forget about the world around them for a second, and laugh while having a good time. It might seem silly, but this is more important than we realize. It is so easy to get swept up in all the negative feelings and emotions around us, and it is even harder to try and see the light through the darkness, but we absolutely have to try. I have also started to create a comic series called “The Adventures of Marsha the Marshmallow” which is a goofy little comic about an administrative assistant that is also a marshmallow. Silly, yes, but that is exactly what we need right now, we need a little bit of silly. 

The purpose of this piece isn’t to brag about what I am doing, but rather it is to encourage you all to recognize what your gift to society is and use that. We all contribute in some way, whether it be using our sewing skills to make masks, the professions we choose (doctors, nurses, police officers, caretakers, etc.), using our musical skills to create beautiful songs, whatever the case is, we all have a gift and now more than ever we need to be using them to help the world cope and heal. And remember, there is always a reason to laugh!”

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“Time: A COVID-19 Story” by Asha Mckenzie

“Let’s go back to March 10th, 2020. I’m sitting at my desk watching my students file in and out of my office. All day you’ll hear them say “Hi, Ms. McKenzie” or “Bye, Ms. McKenzie” and my favorite line to them, “Can you please go to class?” The rumblings of COVID-19 were all around but I didn’t put any stock in it. It was pretty much out of sight, out of mind for me. As the end of day neared, I was so exhausted. I love my job and I love my students but I needed a break. Spring Break was coming up in a few weeks and flights were well priced for San Juan, Cancun, Las Vegas, and New Orleans. I made attempts to rally my coworkers on a quick vacation with round trip prices ranging from $84-$150. One coworker was just as ready to go as I was and we agreed to purchase our tickets on that upcoming payday Friday. The next few days we looked at different places to stay to put the final touches on our trip………

Fast forward to April and I’ve been stuck in this house for over a month. Video call after video call with only the walls at night.No going outside unless for essential errands then right back home

What’s the point of this? Why do I bring up a trip that I didn’t get to go on while people are dying and we’re all stuck at home? I brought it up because I spent day after day hoping for a break instead of embracing the time that I had. I spent so much time working my 9-5, thinking about my 9-5 that I didn’t work on what I needed. I gave myself permission to put me to the side. I gave myself permission to wait weeks to give myself 4-5 days of ME time. Don’t get me wrong, I love travel and I’m not talking about walking out on my job but instead of waiting for time, I needed to make time happen for me. We all are given the same 24 hours in a day. Some of use it well while others squander it away. COVID-19 has taught me to use my time wisely.

SO NO MORE WASTING TIME!

• Organize your mess

• Fight self-doubt

• Fight feelings of inadequacy

Use your quarantine wisely and self-reflect. Determine what winning looks like for you and put yourself in the position to win.”

TIME IS PLENTIFUL BUT IT IS NOT UNLIMITED

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“Covid Coaster” by Danielle Pietromonico

“A sure fire way to see my face and heart light up is to ask me what I do for a living.

I hope you have tissues and time to hear me express my love for what I do.

Weeks ago, I was in my happy place. I am the Center Manager for a special needs adult day program. We currently take care of 40 special, unique, creative, funny, smart and loving individuals with various disabilities. 40 different personalities and quite frankly 40 of the best people I’ve ever come across. My heart was so full.

When we started to hear about COVID-19, we knew it was important but we didn’t know how much it would impact us, and change everything. We began to take precautions daily such as charts of hand-washing multiple times a day, sanitizing and fully disinfecting common areas, taking temperatures and putting policies into place about when illnesses are presented in our individuals. We tried our hardest to keep our guys safe, healthy and clean and above all still well taken care of (loved & happy).


When it came time to shut down the center, a letter went home with each and every individual. Whether they lived with their families, in group homes or with sponsors they all heard the news that we would be closed until further notice. Making the heartbreaking phone calls was extremely difficult. Parents/caregivers were asking many important and well thought out questions. The biggest question of course was “when will they be able to return?” Not having the answers was hard but having to say goodbye for a while to my guys was the hardest part.

My staff and I were placed at some of the group homes for the agency we work at. Most of us were separated from our support system, left with unanswered questions, confused and above all scared for the change. I never thought I could open my heart to anyone else but “my guys”. I didn’t think at the time my heart had anymore room in it. As the weeks went by, we showed up to work with our badges, essential employee papers, our masks, gloves and most of all open hearts. That was our most important “gear” we needed to wear was our open hearts and our positive faces.

The individuals were scared, they were confused, they were taken away from their loved ones, their routines, their “normalcy” in such an already scary world for them. Our own fears as staff needed to go unnoticed and tamed during our work days. Sometimes hiding our own fears and emotions for the individuals was even harder than the physical labor of our Jobs; lifting and transferring people, changing people and showering people. We are forced to stay strong physically and most of all emotionally through our own hardships and sometimes mental illnesses.


As our guys began to test positive it became more real, scarier and above all heart breaking. We lost a wonderful, loving, amazing woman to the virus, our agency family will never be the same, her housemates and staff that loved her would never be the same. It is scarier beyond words to think of our already compromised individuals trying to fight off this virus. If needed to be hospitalized, they would be forced to fight this battle on their own, which was heartbreaking for staff and for them. We put ourselves at risk each and every day for our individuals. And never once is our work for “the paycheck”.


Through this pandemic we have been strong, we have been brave, we have been the family to our special needs individuals when they need it the most. We have surprised everyone and even ourselves with our strength on a daily basis. We have become “normalcy” and created a not so scary world for our guys.

I have been more than lucky to be placed at a group home with 12 amazing individuals. I never thought my heart could open up any more, but these individuals certainly made it so easy to do so.


I call this piece COVID Coaster because that is what this journey has felt like for my staff and I. We have been on a roller coaster of emotions and a roller coaster of changes but the one thing that will always remain the consistent is our love and dedication to our special needs guys. Whether we are at the center (which hopefully we will return to very soon) or at a group home we are providing such quality care for our guys. To take their known worlds and totally turn them upside down and inside out is so easy and was bound to happen… but for us to create a “new” world for them filled with love, compassion and support is pure strength.


I want to thank all of my coworkers and staff for being amazing now and always. I love you all and have never been more proud of my team.

This is definitely not what we thought of when we were signing our job descriptions but neither was falling absolutely in love with the individuals we take care of.”

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“Covid-19 Experience Piece” by Stephanie Deal


“I opened my business the day the world as we knew it ended.

In November of 2019 I decided to stop saying some day and make it today. I moved into my boyfriend’s parents house, took my entire emergency savings fund and went all in. Leaving me with a brand new business, zero savings and a potential job loss when our governor made the announcement that all food service establishments had to go to carry out and delivery only. A stay at home order followed shortly after.

The first two weeks were stressful, I wasn’t sure how if I would make enough money to pay my bills. My friends and family kept telling me they were worried, that they felt sorry for me, they were afraid for me. I was entirely in panic mode and yet I knew it would all work out. 

My original plan had been to keep my part time serving job and save everything from my business until I worked out what our cash flow would look like and how to pay myself as a self employed business owner. Never in my life time did I think I wouldn’t be able to work as a server, I thought I had job security. We couldn’t be outsourced, replaced by technology and there were always restaurants hiring. We were wrong. Many of my serving and hospitality friends aren’t working. They are scared, they aren’t doing well. We miss our regulars. We miss you. 

But

I am lucky to have the people in my life who I do.

I am grateful for them.

The people who were afraid for me, fueled my desire to succeed. The mentors and business partners who brainstormed with me how to adapt and change our strategies. The family who allowed me to move in rent free in exchange for helping out with their child so I could save to make my dream a reality. The serving job who went above and beyond to keep us all working to help with carry out.  The boyfriend who offered me his bonus check to cover my bills, my dream. I ended up not needing it. The day I told him thank you, but I don’t need your check was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. I paid all my bills this month and I have made enough to pay most of next month’s as well. I didn’t give up, I didn’t stop pushing for my dream.

My first month in business didn’t look like what I imagined. There aren’t people coming in the door to hang out, to study, to learn. My vision was to create a place for my community to come together, encourage and uplift each other. Instead of being physically together, we’ve been connecting online through social media and zoom. We are still connected. We are all still giving to each other and we will get through this. 

The truth is storms always come, they create energy, they create power and we have a choice. We can hide, hunker down, wait it out, let it destroy us -or- we can adjust our sails, harness the power and embrace the chaos. “

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“Quarantine Confessions” by, Ava

“I tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of March and have recently completed the prescribed amount of self-isolation time: 2 weeks and 72 hours with no major symptoms. Like everyone else, I still spend most of my time at home where I’ve been making an honest effort working on myself: mind, body, and soul. All of that alone time created a space for my inner demons to come out. With no distractions, and nowhere to run, I had to either face them or lose my shit everyday in quarantine, which wasn’t a real option. I had to surrender. It didn’t happen so easily, though. Believe me, I tried to run, all the way to Spain, and then to Mexico. I had made these plans just before Trump banned travel from most of Europe to the U.S. for 30 days. And, as the virus became a pandemic, I was forced to stay put. It was a tough pill to swallow for someone so stubborn and used to doing what “she” wants to do.

After taking the L’s, I knew that this was the time I had to process and feel the underlying pain that I had buried deep for years. Like most of the world, I’ve been through several traumatic events ranging from standard life stuff to abuse and death. And for a long time, I refused to process and understand how those events altered my perception of reality and deeply affected my psyche. I was numb.

My unwillingness to do that carried out into my behavior. I put myself on a path of self-destructiveness and toxic masculinity. By toxic masculinity, I mean that I told myself that I had to forget and just be strong. I numbed myself even more. Doing that does NOT make the pain go away. It will put it out from your conscious mind but then manifest itself in your subconscious mind. It leaves you wondering why you always attract the wrong men into your life, why you just weren’t enough, or why your insecurities cloud your better judgment. Those are just surface questions, you have no idea what kind of thoughts have crossed my mind. At some point, I exhausted myself with my behavior and decided to move back home to NYC. I developed some faith in myself and knew that I deserved better in terms of quality of life. At the time, I was focused mostly on my finances and credit score.

On November 30th of last year, I moved. On the same day, I got my heart broken and had to leave friends that had become like family to me. It was a lot. But, I sucked it up like I always do and took care of my shit: logistics, finances, paperwork, etc. My job transferred me. Old and new people came into my life. I quickly fell into a routine of working and partying. Then, coronavirus hit. I tested positive. I was miserable for the first week, mostly due to overthinking. Then, I woke up one Monday and decided that I wasn’t going allow myself to continue that way. I got sick of myself and decided to recommit to changing. When you’re done, you’re done.

I had already been on a self-love journey, but quarantine accelerated it. So, I restarted an 8-week workout program that I had originally purchased in January. I normally eat a balanced and healthy diet, but I had become more conscious of vitamins and eating “high-vibe” foods to complement all of the exercising. The host of this blog and I became each other’s personal therapists, and we both recounted all of our traumas together. No one truly does anything alone. We identified patterns, called each other out on her shit, and connected the dots. Crying happened. Things started making sense, and I gradually became able to understand it all. I’m now at a point where I accept the shit that I went through because, without it, I wouldn’t be the kind of person I am today.

I love the woman who I’m becoming. She’s empathetic, she’s strong af, and her values are solid. Take whatever time you can during all of this to look inward at yourself. If you’re able, now is the time to put in that inner work because you’re inherently worth it. There’s only one of you. Developing your self-love is uncomfortable and challenging, but the benefits far outweigh any of the pain. I promise you that. There’s no kind of peace like the peace you can provide for yourself. If you choose to be on this journey, know that you are not responsible for anyone else loving himself or herself. You can be there and be supportive, but know this kind of development and change MUST come from within that person ONLY. Otherwise, it’s codependent, one-sided, and, essentially, a façade.

The best thing you could do is to make that change for yourself and share your experiences to inspire others around you. I also want you to know that there is no such thing as perfect. You will always be on this journey, but you’ll get better and better at loving yourself. It will come easier to you. You’ll attract so much beauty into your life that you’ll never want to quit. All you have to do is make that one decision that you desire to change. Your only limits are the ones you place on yourself.”

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“Self-Love During Quarantine (What I learned from my cousin who battled COVID-19)”

When this pandemic first started, I was guilty of underestimating it and not fully understanding the severity of reality. I had a trip booked to Spain and at the last moment with my cousin and I, we switched it to Cancun thinking that would be okay. But, the inevitable was happening and eventually we had to sit with the fact that something was up.

At work, for those of you who don’t know I am a social worker, I saw staff getting sick and clinics being shut down for clients to come. Some clinics closed completely and I might be pulled in the hospital due to need for extra help. I have family in the medical field on the front line who are witnessing death every single day and putting their lives at risk. I have known close ones who got sick with the virus, including my cousin that I was supposed to go on my trip with.

Of course, in hindsight, a trip isn’t a big deal to put off and matters are much bigger than that. But, it is a reminder that life was put on hold. Kids are home being homeschooled while some parents still must work from home or have been laid off. The homeless are not being housed and some are forced to be crowded in shelters that aren’t safe or on the street. Essential workers are forced to expose themselves every day and take a risk. And the list goes on and on about how we are all in some way affected by this negatively. People are not sure how they are going to pay their bills and there is still pressure despite the government saying that it’s okay. The fear and uncertainty is very real despite outside reassurance.

Quarantine is forcing us to face some of our fears or triggers for things that need to be healed. I watched my cousin go through it with not just quarantine but being afflicted with the virus in and of itself. She works at the airport and it was pretty much inevitable that she would get it. It was a matter of when and not if. The reason we wanted this trip was because this trip meant that we were going to put ourselves first for once and had been through a lot prior to this that many people did not know about, so this trip was very meaningful. And then to on top of it to have the virus, she was faced with quite the challenge. 

I watched my cousin get physically ill where she would stay in bed and sleep in her clothes sometimes because of the chills and fevers. I watched her lose her sense of taste and smell and have terrible headaches. I watched her lose energy and feel weak. I watched her also struggle with the isolation, as we all to a degree are definitely feeling right now. 

I watched my cousin have no choice but to not only deal with physically struggles but internal ones too. This time helped her to face herself and not only heal physically but heal some internal wounds that were the reason for this trip to begin with. Being stripped away from all of our external coping skills are a struggle for most of us because we are forced to just BE. We might feel stuck, bored, stir crazy and maybe sick of the people in the house if you are living with others. Or you might just miss connections with others and being able to have some “freedom”.

But what we also don’t realize is that we can grant ourselves this freedom despite being stripped away our privileges. Not to say I don’t personally struggle with this too and can’t wait for things to open up again. But I’ve witnessed my clients conquer this that were incarcerated, in rehab, homeless, in abusive relationships, being molested, etc. I witnessed how people can survive and persevere. I witnessed the resilience of humanity. And of course, not every story is a success story. But being able to be there for my cousin and watch her not only fight physically but conquer her own demons and realize that she didn’t need a trip to find herself, was enough proof to me that it is possible. And I have never been so proud.

She didn’t need anyone but herself. My cousin found her love for painting again, journaling, poetry, reading, eating healthy, exercising, meditating, and healing from past traumas. Letting go of her past, forgiving others and herself. It sounds silly, but this work is important and instead of letting this virus/quarantine get the best of her, and she had her moments of breakdowns, we all will, but she was able to fight through it and I want people to be inspired from her story to keep fighting too!