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2012.

The year where it all began.
Alchemy.
Ashes being burned.
Phoenix rising.

Out with the deep depression, sleeping pills and obesity.
In with the healthy lifestyle, life purpose and self love.

Just like that, in the blink of an eye. Overnight, it all just got too boring and exhausting. That near-death experience. But of course, like everything else, it served its purpose. And it was bigger than I could have ever imagined, especially then.
I was blessed with a miracle. I was given a second chance. I was reborn.

“One day it will all make sense.” —Björk

Yes, it would, but only a few years later…

At the time, I was grateful simply to be standing on my two feet after all those crazy self-destructive years.

Everything started to shift. From the inside out. I was becoming my own true self. Up until that point, I was living the mundane, unknowingly pretending to be ordinary, wanting to fit in even though I never actually did. I was always the unpopular, awkward, outcast. The black sheep and the ugly duckling.

But… I woke up. Sometime in November of that year. (writing this only days after the 4th anniversary of this awakening)

I started owning it. Accepted the fact that being ordinary is actually quite boring. I began to be myself. I was finally being, instead of just existing.

“It’s never too late to get it back.” —Kevin Spacey in ‘American Beauty’

But really, that was just the beginning of an incredibly long journey… The journey to love.

And when I say “love”, I mean the real thing. Not what most people think it is ― which in reality is just co-dependency. The love that just is and doesn’t ask for anything in return. Because once you’re filled with it and full within yourself, you simply don’t need to have it back. It’s the love that overflows. The one that feels as if the more you give out, the more you take in. The love that truly cracks your heart wide open… to give and receive. Yes, that love. Unconditional love.

And that cannot be felt if you don’t love yourself first. It’s impossible because we can’t give away what we don’t have. We can’t truly love another if we deny love to ourselves. We would just be looking for love in somebody else and once they’re gone, we’d be stuck with nothing. That being said, self love is not the easiest thing to accomplish. It’s a process and entails a lot of other key elements.

“My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am.” —Anaïs Nin

As I was (re-)discovering myself, I was also learning to accept myself for who I am. And to love myself. Love myself so much that outside validation wouldn’t do anything for me anymore. The respect I expected from others had to be given to myself first, and I would naturally distance myself if I felt wrong was being done to me. I would be talked about, criticized, judged and bullied, and it wouldn’t affect me anymore. I just would not give my energy or align with any of that anymore.

Oh, how great would that be if I had learned all of this during my childhood and teenage years… But we have to broken to let the light in. To learn the most important lessons in life.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” —Rumi

I had to be shattered so I could build myself over. I had to be fragmented into pieces so as I put it all back together again, I would understand the truth of who I am. Of who I was born to be. And these pieces never fit so well. I finally began to fit in… within myself.

I had to let go of a lot of things, people and situations. To find myself, to see how far I can go without depending on anything or anyone. And oftentimes, to teach them ― as I was learning it myself ― to detach themselves from the outer world, because everything we need lies within us. We are our own heroes, healers and leaders. As I love myself, I also teach others to do the same. Even subconsciously.
All those tests were there to reveal there was so much more to me than I was aware of, different ways of reacting and dealing with things. To show me I was actually capable of loving without conditions. That no matter how bad I was treated, it’s the way I allow myself to feel about it that really matters. The ability of reacting the best way I can to everything that happens to and around me. To be empathetic and understanding of people’s actions. The capacity of sending love and moving on. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Each time I’m confronted with something or by someone, I have to take deep breaths before I respond. It gets less hard with time, but it doesn’t always work, I must admit. And that was yet another lesson right there. Forgiveness. Especially towards myself. And forgiving oneself, more than forgiving another, is the hardest thing to do, at the same time that it is crucial.
I learned that in order to fully accept and love myself, I also have to accept the fact that I, much like everyone else, make mistakes as well. And learn to forgive myself for them. My journey isn’t about becoming perfect. It’s all about loving the whole of me, including my shadow side. And accepting the shadow side of others and be understanding of it instead of judgmental. To get rid of egoic notions, because self-awareness cannot co-exist with the ego. And love cannot exist without forgiveness.

Once again, I can’t control what happens to me, but I can control how I deal with it. I’m responsible for my feelings, actions, reactions and the energy I give out. I own only myself. Everything around me is a reflection of me and my own energy. And that’s also why some things have to go as I grow.

“People come into your life. And people leave. You, stay back with yourself.

So love yourself more. You deserve it.” —Sayan Sen

Along the way, I felt lost most of the time. I was going with the flow and trying to not make much sense of anything. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was the total opposite. I had fallen down the rabbit hole and didn’t know what I was going to find or where I was going to end up. And even now, all I know so far is that I’m not there yet… wherever that is. But I’m not stopping now. In fact, I’m just beginning.

As I was cracking myself open and breaking into my core to expose all my unhealed parts, the pain was so strong at times that I would sit on the floor and scream my lungs out. I learned that we must feel completely to heal completely, there’s no other way of doing it. It’s as painful as it is rewarding. And it will keep coming back until we’re over and done with it for good. Each time we’re gonna feel it differently. And once it’s gone… we are free. But the healing is never really done, it’s work for a lifetime. There will always be stuff to heal in us. But at this point, I can affirm with all of my being: I am free. I am me, I love myself entirely, flaws and all. Most of all, I am proud of myself because I kept going when I had every reason to give up forever. And I forgive myself for the times I didn’t know better.

“I am better off healed than I ever was unbroken.” —Beth Moore

The past few years, I beat myself up for treating me like shit for over a decade, allowing myself to go through so much pain and suffering just to try and leave this world. Lying almost lifeless in bed everyday not having a single clue that I would eventually come to find the entire universe inside of me. That all it was was building up so I could step into the light. The light of who I am.

And when I finally got to find this light within me, I could go on and shine it on others as well.

I AM ready.