My biggest fear growing up was being the center of attention. I would constantly try to hide, or feel easily embarrassed. It’s something that I struggle with to this day. I’ve always felt like I needed to be put together and perfect, pretending everything was fine even when it wasn’t.Being raised in a single parent home had its difficult moments, but of course no one knew. I would always say I was fine without having a Father around. The last thing I wanted was to elicit pity from anyone. The truth is growing up without him deeply affected me. I yearned for family and acceptance. You see growing up without a father left me feeling deeply unworthy but it wasn’t until I was an adult that it finally hit me.
I remember asking my Mom about my Father, who he was and why he was gone. I would look in the mirror and see a foreign face. I didn’t have my Mother’s features. I would spend hours looking in the mirror trying to put the pieces together. If I stared long enough perhaps the answers would come. Maybe she had it all wrong. Maybe he was a changed man. I dreamed that he would be able to provide everything that was lacking in my life. Then there were the bouts of anger. What kind of person could leave their daughter? I didn’t need someone who didn’t want to be in my life.
Around the time I turned 8 my Mother started dating someone who became a Father figure. He began to fill the void that my Father left. He loved me like his own, but still there was something missing. I spent years looking for my Father and at 17 I located someone with the same name. I thought I had finally found him. I called and introduced myself and asked if he knew my mother. He paused and said that he was sorry, he had never heard of her. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I felt defeated.
Throughout the years my search would come in waves. I would search tirelessly, then feel overwhelmed and stop. My relationship with my Mother was strained, at times it left me feeling as if I had no family. Unconsciously this affected every relationship I encountered, including the one with myself. I made poor decisions on who I dated because I felt unloved. What I didn’t realize is that while my Mother was trying to reconcile her own pain and shame she had unknowingly passed it to me. She too felt unworthy and suffered from poor self esteem. She would always point out what she wanted to change; her nose, hair, weight–anything to feel like she was in control. She was constantly trying to hide. My own self image began to suffer. I recoiled anytime there was any attention on me. It didn’t matter how many times someone would tell me I was beautiful, there was always a part of me that felt inadequate. I could see the beauty in others but couldn’t recognize my own beauty without feeling deeply ashamed.
In my 20s I struggled to find myself. My mind told me that I was worthy, but my heart remained broken. I found myself in a string of relationships that brought out the worst version of me. At 21 I noticed a pattern. I was constantly putting myself in unhealthy situations. I knew that if I didn’t love myself I would continue on a much more destructive path. I had allowed my circumstances to influence the choices I made, the clothes I wore and how I viewed myself. I even turned to makeup to try to cover up how I was feeling, foolishly thinking that no one would notice. No matter how much makeup or highlighter I wore nothing could replicate radiance. The natural glow that so many try to reproduce yet fail. That inner light that draws people to you and exudes confidence and joy. I was tired of living in a mediocre state and began to take small steps to release the past and forgive. It wasn’t until I began to love myself that I was able to attract my soul mate, the one who was able to see me exactly as I am.
A few months before I turned 30 I got a lead. I took a leap of faith and took a DNA text through Ancestry.com and was linked to a second cousin. She knew my Father and very delicately explained that he was a troubled man. He had a substance abuse problem and couldn’t keep a stable job. He had also Fathered other children. I met my siblings a few years ago and learned that he had been absent in their lives. He was 45 when he died of cirrhosis of the liver. I had allowed his actions to influence how I viewed myself when they had nothing to do with me. How could I expect him to love me when he clearly hadn’t loved himself. His absence had been the best gift he had ever given me.
I met my cousin a few months ago. She showed me pictures of my great grandparents and shared how they had come to America from Italy. The pieces were finally coming together. My great grandparents had 11 children, and in the pictures were snippets of happy, joyful moments. There was one particular picture where my grandfather was affectionately caressing my great grandfather. There was a stark difference between the pictures of my grandfather and my Father. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that picture spoke to me strongly. He wore a blue suit jacket and was standing stiffly. He was in his 20s and had self doubt written all over his face. There was no joy in his expression. It was as if he was uncomfortable in his own skin. All of the years of questioning were suddenly dissolved in an instant.
In the last 2 months I have been blessed to meet 2 more cousins who have welcomed me with open arms. Through them I have been able to explore my ancestry and find something positive in this situation. I know for certain that things have happened exactly as they were meant to be and despite the circumstances I’m extremely fortunate. I live in a beautiful place, with a amazing husband and friends. I have a career that takes me to places I’ve never imagined. I connect with people on a much deeper level then I ever thought possible and although I still experience struggles, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come and all of the things I’ve been able to accomplish. It’s exactly the life I had hoped for.
How often do you allow your past or present to define you? Or spend countless waking moments trying to figure out what you could have done differently or why a situation turned out the way it did. No matter how much time we spend we will never be able to change the past and instead we end up sabotaging the present. Something that’s helped me tremendously with letting is meditating. It helps me focus on the now and in the stillness I am able to consolidate and process everything that has happened, accept it, and release it.
“When shadows cast over your deepest thoughts, and the voice of dissent becomes a chorus sit awhile and just be. Breath deep for strength. Breath deep with hope. Breath deep for love, with love, my love and just be.”
Here’s one of my favorite meditations. It can be done any time of the day and will instantly lift your mood. Need a big shift in your life? Try doing this meditation for 40 days. It will remove blocks and help transform your life.
Mantra: This mantra consists of 8 basic sounds:
Ra Ma Da Sa, Sa Say So Hung
Ra – Sun
Ma – Moon
Daa – Earth
Saa – Impersonal Infinity
Saa Say – Totality of Infinity
So – Personal sense of merger and identity
Hung – The infinite, vibrating and real.
When in doubt remember: You are worthy. You are loved. You are beautiful ❤
Did you try the meditation? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Love E ?