I suffer from F.O.B.S {& more confessions…}

I’ve procrastinated for over 2 weeks deliberating whether or not to write this article. Alas, here I am.

This is going to be a tad different from other posts. I’m going to get more personal and intimate with you. More open, more honest.

Am I a positive person? Hell yes.

Am I spiritual? I am constantly practicing spirituality.

Am I kind? The older I get, the kinder I get.

Am I good? As good as I want to be on a good day.

Am I perfect? No freaking way.

I am human after all.

Could I be better? Yes.

Could I be happier? Indeed.

Could I be more stable in my emotions? Absolutely!

Could I achieve great things? Yes. Yes. Yes.

What’s stopping me?

That is what we’re going to talk about today…

You see, I think that ever since childhood I’ve suffered from this particular syndrome.

I call it the F.O.B.S, i.e:

THE FEAR OF BEING SEEN

 

Just by hearing this, you can probably relate. Maybe it made you smile or shy away. Either way, I know I’m not alone in this.

The Fear of Being Seen Syndrome has plagued me my whole life.

Imagine that you are the sole owner of the biggest, brightest, clearest and finest diamond in the entire world. What do you do? Wear it around your neck everywhere you go? Or keep it somewhere hidden where you know it will be safe?

Now imagine, that diamond… is you. You are this beautiful, one of a kind gem. You’re priceless. So what do you do? Do you put yourself out there, lay your truth bare, stand naked in Times Square to show off your radiance? No… you hide it. You keep it safe. You protect it. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself…

our-deepest-fear-is-not-that-we-are-inadequate-our-deepest-fear-is-that-we-are-powerful-beyond-measure

All these years, it’s what I told myself. I was SO AFRAID of being seen. Of someone discovering the REAL me. Of being recognized for who I really am. Of being noticed for my kindness, my thoughts, my words, my deeds, and most importantly…. My heart.

Yet, at the same time, I was DYING for someone to see beyond what I would show. Like some magic stare from some magical person could break through all the falsities and just see… me. If it happened like that, I would know that I was safe.

Ultimately, it was a fear of being hurt, rejected, judged, criticized, also a fear or raising the bar of expectations (for others and myself), a fear of not being able to go backwards, a fear of not recognizing myself, of losing the relationship I had with me. A fear of being inadequate, of not feeling like enough….. Basically, the entire dictionary of fears!

No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake these fears off my shoulders. I collected all my insecurities like jewelry and decorated myself with them.

For years I felt heavy. Unaware of the invisible weight I was carrying around with me. (not to mention the additional physical weight of top of that!)

It took me YEARS and I mean that literally to gain some perspective, some self-love and self-respect.

To love myself, want myself and choose myself the way I wanted others to.

It took me decades to value and appreciate my strengths, my talents, my gifts, my AWESOMENESS!

Like I am a GREAT listener (seriously, ask anybody), If you’re my friend you know you can always count on me, I’m a giving lover, I’m a challenging daughter (in a  good way hahaha, I love you Ma & Pa), I’m a grateful traveler, a pretty rad teacher. However, there are things I want to try that push me outside of that attractive comfort zone so I keep procrastinating because secretly I am terrified of trying new things (yup). For example, my friends tell me I have a really nice voice and I’ve got a knack for storytelling. I actually love to tell stories. However, making videos or starting a podcast intimidates me. (plus im not as technologically savvy as I seem…. You see what happened right there? Another limiting belief… * mental delete*)

These are things that I push through, little by little, piece by piece, day by day, until the puzzle is complete.

fabulous

I KNOW I have so much more to offer, to give away, to learn, to see, to be. Sometimes during my meditations I feel this power surge through me, begging me to be released. How? Where? Into what? These are the current questions that plague me.

How do I reach a state of full expression? Without limitations or restrictions?

How do I let myself show, completely, unapologetically, openly, strongly, and wholeheartedly?

How do I let go of my fear of being more that what I thought I was capable of?

How do I fall into all this gorgeous glory?

Gosh, does it really belong to me?

YES!!!! Because IT IS ME!

So, I guess, my advice to you after all these years of searching and hurting and growing and breaking and learning is the following:

Life is a story and you are the main character. You can choose to be the hero, the villain or the victim.

But ultimately, it’s your choice. You can hold so many titles. Play so many characters. Just choose the one that fits you best.

Every day I choose to be the hero. The warrior. The kindness agent. The dream maker. The philosopher. The gardener. The healer. The photographer. The artist. The musician. The nomad. The label breaker. The seamstress. The butterfly. The leaf. The sun rays. The treasure. The diamond. The student. The guest. The star. The instrument. The raindrop. The feather. The cloud. The ocean. The rock. The scientist. The lotus. The dragon. The swan. The passenger. The key. The pearl. The projector. The blank page. The entire damn Saga.

You are a soul. You are Concentrated Energy. Know this. Know the light that you hold. The power within.

Know your worth. Discover you’re limitless. Admire yourself.

You are everything you have ever searched for

You are Love

You are Peace

You are Happiness

You are Truth

You are Beauty

You are Bliss

Know this

Feel this

Be this

And allow yourself to shine through

All the fears and BS around you

Just…

Be.

Dear Reader,

I beg of you…

Remember your divinity.

 

{this article was mad scary to write so please be gentle with your comments. My big, open, heart would appreciate it. Thanks}

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Wake Up, Speak Up. {The Pain of Healing}

Life.

There are billions of metaphors about life.

Life is like a roller-coaster, like a tree, like a balloon, like a ship, like a winter coat, like a pet, like a Madonna song, like a mountain, like a river, like a bird and so on and so forth.

Today, life is like a war. You go in with an ideal, hoping to fight for something, praying you get it on your way out.

Usually, death is an uncertainty. We live in blissful ignorance about our expiration date. I don’t know if I have 5 hours, 5 days or 50 years left.

Some of us do know. It’s just the kind of hand we’ve been dealt. There are still incurable diseases out there. Huntington’s disease, Coronary Artery disease, COPD, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc. These diseases are death sentences.

Then there is something more subtle at play. An area I believe we don’t spend enough attention focusing on: Mental Illnesses. This includes anxiety disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and depression. Diseases like this can cause the victim to take their own life.

According to a report by PBS, More than 54 million (or nearly one in five) Americans have a mental disorder in any given year. The risk of suicide makes untreated manic-depressive illness more fatal than heart disease and some forms of cancer.

I guess you don’t really take notice of certain things until they hit home for you.

On the 12 of March, 2015 one of my best friends tried to commit suicide. After 10 days of being in the ICU with burns covering 90% of her body, she passed away.

lety

My full of life, happy go lucky, dancing, dreaming, valedictorian, kick ass doctor friend chose to end her life.

Why? An acute postpartum depression that went unnoticed, among other things.

She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in October. Add depression on to a preexisting struggle with OCD. You get a recipe for suicide.

For years she’s been struggling with OCD. I don’t think I ever understood the gravity of her problem. She always seemed to have it all together. When she told me she wanted to become a doctor after having studied two years of civil engineering I laughed because I knew that she would be terrific at it. When she told me she was taking flamenco and reiki classes because she didn’t plan to be a doctor forever I nodded and kept telling her “if there’s anyone capable of doing anything, it’s you”. I truly believed that. Lety was one of those people that inspired you. Her lightness and enthusiasm reminded you what being human was all about. She was someone you’d look up to. Today, I rummage through all the memories we built over the 17 years that I knew her. We went to high school together. She was always voted most pretty, most intelligent, most likable, most likely to succeed. There was no one in that school that didn’t love her. She had a soul that would shine right out of her eyes.

But she was secretly at war. At war with her mind. I know what it’s like, I’m always fighting to stay in control of my mind so I know what it’s like to be dragged down the rabbit hole against your will.

These last few months when she told me what was going on, I tried to help her. I shared any and every kind of knowledge I had with her. From Buddhist spiritual practices to Hindu rituals. From self-help to consciousness books. The power of our thoughts create our reality, our perception dictates what we see as true. I believe this. I tried to help her to see that. I tried every day for four months. Last month, for five days, I stopped. I took a break. She wasn’t budging. I needed to recharge. I dropped the ball. And now she’s dead. Now I will never get a chance to speak to her again.

And I have to say, it’s the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced.

I haven’t been taking her death as gracefully as I should, knowing all I know.

There’s this remorse, this guilt that eats at me. I didn’t take her suicide talk seriously. I’ve always seen her as a logical and strong woman. I never thought anything like this would happen to her.

Which is why I’m writing today. After the incident, several people around me came forward to let me know that i’m not alone. I was shocked to find out that there were so many people that had suffered similar situations and they only realized the gravity of the issue after it was too late.

self harm

Today, I want to encourage you, whoever is reading, to speak up.

Mental illness is a disease of the mind. We lose sovereignty over the organ that makes us who we are.

If you suspect or know someone suffering from a mental illness, do something about it. Do something as if they had a cut and they were bleeding out right in front of you.

The absence of physical symptoms makes it hard sometimes to recognize or understand the pain that a victim of mental illness suffers but believe me, they are very much suffering.

If you are someone who is struggling with a mental illness, speak up. Tell someone. Seek help. You’d be surprised at the love, support and understanding you can find from a stranger. It is not too late for you because you are still alive and you can make the choice to stay that way.

And finally, if you have lost someone to an illness and are grieving like me, then, let it out. Take your time to make your peace. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t tell yourself its okay when its not.

A lot of people have been giving me unsolicited advice. Advice like “it’s a part of life, it will pass, time will heal” I’m not saying its wrong, its just something I’m not ready to hear right now. The death of my friend has shook me down to my core.

Poetry is my current outlet for getting out all my pent up emotions. The advice I got stirred a rage in me I had to get out.

She knows me. I’m not one to reply with a fine, thanks.

She knows I am a hurricane that shakes the honest awake.

When i’m not okay, i’m not fucking okay.

And it’s okay to not be fucking okay.

Its okay to say you’re not fucking okay.

“A little bit.” I say. “Im worn out.”

“Why?” she asks.

It’s hard to say.

“Just how I feel” I reply.

“It’ll pass” she asserts.

It’ll pass.

Let me tell you about a few things that will pass.

An airplane passes the Atlantic to arrive in Europe, Troy is always frightened it will fall out of the sky.

Easter passes every year, Maria is scared she won’t get enough chocolates.

Children worry about passing their exams.

My mother prays she lives to pass 80.

There are few things that when they pass you can get over without much distress.

Missing an appointment, being misunderstood, not having a cent to your name.

However, they are other things that we must respect,

And we must understand, even if we don’t.

Things that we cannot take lightly.

My best friend is dead.

She died.

She took her life.

That is not light.

There is nothing light in my life right now.

Only heavy.

So please, dear God, allow me to be worn out and worn down.

Allow me to speak it.

To share it.

And recognize my scars.

Let them be for the time being.

For I also know that time will play a tune

And eventually make it all alright again.

But don’t minimize this pain,

This howling grief inside my bones.

It is the only companion I have.

The only truth I hold.

I pray for a world, for a future where a broken heart is treated just as gently as a broken arm.

Where we don’t need bravery to stand up and say to someone else “I’m not okay”

A future where our health plan includes mental sick days.

None of us are really, truly okay. We’re all just trying our best.

Falling down and getting back up again.

Let’s be more compassionate.

More honest.

More open.

You never know, you could save a life that way. It could be your own.