When I Used to Pray for the Things I Have Today

 

It’s easy for us humans to get stuck in a constant nonconformist state of mind. Always wishing we had more than what we have.  Always under-minding our self-worth, our blessings, the path in which we have taken our lives. We all complain on autopilot and long for what we can’t have at one point or another. At least, I do — a lot.  More than I’m willing to admit.  Let he who has not sinned throw the first stone!  

But today is different.  I look around me and I feel ashamed that I have ever had the audacity to complain about the most insignificant things while missing on the fact that this hard but beautiful life, has given me all and more than I ever dreamed of having.

Along the way, I also have lost things and people I have loved and cared about deeply.  But after the grieve passes and acceptance heals the void, we realize that some people are only meant to have a short but significant role in our lives.  They come to teach us the lesson we are supposed to learn, and then, move on.  I’m grateful for those who, without knowing or meaning, have taught me a painful but necessary lesson that has helped me become stronger and more aware. But above all else, I’m thankful for those who were and are meant to teach me the happy lessons.  The lessons that come from love, respect and appreciation; for those lessons are the ones that make me feel loved and encouraged to keep going.

In a few hours I will turn 35 years old, and I can say with honesty that my heart is fuller and more grateful than ever. I have everything I have asked for, and certainly, more than I deserve. I have forgiven myself for my mistakes and have forgiven those who, purposely or not, have done me wrong. Today, I remember when I used to pray for the things I have today and I couldn’t feel more blessed.

Much love, friends. And Happy Birthday to me! 😉

Cuando Pedía Por las Cosas que Tengo Hoy

 

Es fácil para nosotros los seres humanos estancarnos en un estado de inconformismo crónico.  Siempre deseando tener más de lo que tenemos. Siempre subestimando nuestro valor propio, nuestras bendiciones, y el camino que hemos elegido seguir en nuestras vidas. Tenemos la “quejadera” en piloto automático y anhelamos lo que no podemos tener en algún punto de nuestra vida.  Al menos yo lo hago – muchísimo. Más de lo que quisiera admitir. Y el que esté libre de pecado, que tire la primera piedra!  

Pero hoy es diferente. Miro a mi alrededor y me avergüenza que alguna vez haya tenido la osadía de quejarme de las cosas más insignificantes del mundo y no darme cuenta que esta dura, pero hermosa vida, me ha dado todo y más de lo que alguna vez soñé tener.

A lo largo del camino, también he perdido cosas y personas que me he amado y que han significado mucho para mí.  Pero después que el dolor pasa y aprendemos a vivir sin el vacío, nos damos cuenta que esas personas sólo llegan a nuestra vida a cumplir un corto pero significativo papel.  Vienen a enseñarnos una lección de vida que estamos supuestos a aprender, pero después se van.  Me siento muy agradecida por esas personas que, con o sin saberlo o quererlo, me han enseñado una dolorosa pero necesaria lección que me ha hecho más fuerte y me ha ayudado darme cuenta de lo que pasa a mi alrededor.

Pero por encima de todo, estoy agradecida por aquellas que han llegado a mi vida para enseñarme las lecciones felices.  Esas lecciones que nacen del amor, del respeto y el aprecio.  Porque son esas lecciones las que me hacen sentir querida y animada a seguir adelante.

En unas horas voy a cumplir 35 años, y puedo decir con toda honestidad que mi corazón está feliz y más agradecido que nunca.  Tengo todo lo que he pedido y deseado, y definitivamente más de lo que me merezco.  Me he perdonado por los errores que he cometido y he perdonado a aquellos que, con o sin quererlo, me han herido.  Hoy especialmente, recuerdo cuando pedía por todas las cosas que ahora tengo, y no podría sentirme más feliz y bendecida por eso.

Los quiero mucho… y Feliz Cumpleaños a Kika, feliz cumpleaños a mí!

Coming Back

If you are a loyal reader to this blog and you are  here again after my silent and long break, thank you.  Thank you for your patience and for not giving up on me.  I should warn you, though, there is a lot I have to share in this post, so make sure you have at least 15 minutes to spareJ.

A lot has happened in the past few months that could undoubtedly be great material for a novel AND a movie – or two.  I guess everybody’s life (our real life, not the one we show on social media or family gatherings) could make a great Hollywood story.

Because life is real, you guys.  Yes, it might sound redundant, but since these days we seem to live in a parallel world where we can’t differentiate between reality and the facade we often portrait to the outside, it’s crucial to remain mindful of what is really important and relevant.

I have learned that when you open up your heart to others, when you share your pain and your sorrow,  not only you take a huge weight off of your shoulders, but you also become closer to the people you love, and even to strangers.  Bottom line, we don’t really know a person until we have seen their lowest, darkest side.

That’s why today I’m not only writing “another” post.  I’m humbly opening my heart to you because I’m ready for it.  Because if you or anyone you know is or has been through the same experience I have, it’s my hope that this simple note would bring us all closer and make us more sympathetic of each others’ struggles and pain.

This year I have been given an extremely painful but eye-opening lesson.  A lesson I was not prepared to receive and which I never thought I would have to endure.  But believe it or not, those lessons that are so hard to learn and accept, are the ones we learn the most from.

Have you heard about a “little” thing called depression?

Well, I can tell you that I had heard of it many times.  I had seen dear friends and family having to deal with this, but never thought it could ever happen to me.  Not to the girl who was always smiling and laughing; one who was always ready to cheer others up and who wanted to encourage the world to live more joyful, happier lives.

But it happened.  And like everything big that happens in our lives, good or bad, it came in the moment I least expected.  It took me by surprise, even though it had been giving me subtle signs of its upcoming arrival in the ways of physical pain and even a small stroke in the beginning of the summer.  It took me months to realize– and most importantly– to accept, that the terrible sadness and emptiness that I was enduring day and night, were much more than the casual PMS, or a rough week or month. It was the beginning of a journey that has changed my life forever.

I can honestly say that this has been a test for which I didn’t study.  A test to my control-freak tendencies, to my sometimes unsympathetic reactions to others’ feelings, actions or struggles; to the way I set expectations and priorities, and basically to the way I see and live life in general.

Depression is a very painful and lonely illness, friends.  There were days when I woke up feeling not only emotional but physical pain to the only thought of having to… well, live.  I felt ashamed, alone, sad and many times angry.  I wanted to run fast and far to a place where the pain could finally be gone.  You fight and fight, and try to take one day at a time, but just that simple task sometimes feels unbearable.

You make decisions you later regret; you behave in ways you never did before, and in the middle of your hunger for hope and peace, you desperately grab on to things and people that may cause you more damage than healing. So then you deal with guilt and regret, and you ask yourself why this is happening to you and when is finally going to end.

As a human being, depression is one of the hardest things I have ever been through, but as a mom, it’s the worst — because in the mist of these foggy and excruciatingly painful months, I forced myself to grieve and suffer alone and in silence.  I didn’t want my child to be affected by something that had nothing to do with him.  I didn’t want him to realize that his mommy, the one who is supposed to protect him and be strong for him, was simply falling apart before his eyes.

Today I feel I can comfortably say that the sun has come back out. I feel I have won the big war, even though I know there will be little battles yet to be fought.  The fog is mostly gone and the pain has turn into strength; a strength that has become my uniform and my motto.  Today, despite the pain and the mistakes I made along the way, I’m a better person than I was a few months ago. Now I see life through a lens that helps me enjoy the little things and to understand that letting go is the greatest act of love you can do to yourself.

If you are or think you might be suffering from depression (mild or severe) please be patient, but be aware.  Don’t give up on life and don’t give up on those who love you the most, even when you can’t see or feel their love. If you learn the lesson that is been given to you through all the pain, you will get through this stronger and more in love with life than ever before.  Be cautious of whom you surround yourself with as, unfortunately, not everybody is your life’s cheerleader—and last but not least, remember that it’s always darkest before the dawn.  You WILL get through this.  I promise you.

PS: I’m sorry for the long read.  If you got to the end, you are certainly one of my life’s cheerleaders and I love you and want you in my life forever and ever.  J

With much love,

Erika

On a Day Like Today… Eight Years Ago

Today marks eight years since that Monday, October 29 of 2007 at 12:19 p.m. when I held you in my arms for the very first time. I was scared, buddy, so scared I thought I was going to die.  You were so little and fragile, and I was so young and oblivious, and I had no clue on how in the world I was going to take care of a baby when I wasn’t even an adult yet. 

Then something really magical happened.  And you, with your big, brown eyes and tiny hands started teaching me how to be a mom — your mom. You cried a lot — A LOT, son. Sometimes it was so unbearable that your dad would come home after work to find me lying on the floor looking like a crazy person who is ready to throw herself (or the baby) out of the
window –True story!  But you know what they say, “love is blind,” and I have loved you so deeply and madly since the first day I knew you were in my belly that all the crying, the dirty diapers, the stretch marks, the very sore nipples and the sleepless nights, only made me love you even more, and wanting to be better and stronger for you.

However, I’m only human after all; I have many regrets.  There are so many things I wish I would have done differently. But you, you are the one “thing” in my life that makes me the proudest; the one thing in my life I wouldn’t change for anything. There is no love in my heart bigger than the one I have for you.  There is no money or professional accomplishments that could ever give me the joy and happiness that you give me every day. There is no other human being in this entire planet that could make me smile as easily as you do.

These days, you love drawing penguins, watching penguin movies, pretending to be a penguin. Did I mention you are obsessed with penguins?   You also love superheroes, babies…and your favorite food is still cheeseburgers and donuts. Daddy is your best friend, and even though you say we are both your best friends, I know you have a special bond with him, and that’s okay — he absolutely deserves that spot.

Please never forget the four things I repeat to you often: manners will ALWAYS take you places.  Treat others in the way you would like to be treated. Be a man who is strong when he has to be, but not afraid to be tender and loving either.  And last but not least, learning how to dance AND being really good at it, is a requirement if you are my child, and it will make a huge difference in your dating life — Trust me on this one, please!

I guess my point, buddy, is that if God would have asked me what kind of child I wanted  for a son, I couldn’t have even dreamed of a more perfect, amazing, kind, funny and caring one than you. You are my main motivation, my compass, and the reason why I keep trying to kick this beautiful-but-challenging life’s booty, every day.

Happy 8th Birthday, love of my life!

It’s Okay to be Jacked Up

It might not look like it from the outside, friends, but the truth is that I have not yet met another human being as jacked up as yours truly. Perhaps I’m not, and this is just my sick tendency to always over-analyze everything and to be extremely hard on myself – maybe, maybe not.  However, I’m smart enough to know by now that I’m not your average, next-door girl with a normal life — not even close.

I’m exceptionally passionate, bold, dramatic and sensitive. In my little world, everything sounds louder and feels deeper than it does in “your world.” I feel and love profoundly, and without reservations.  I idealize people and situations way too much, which usually leaves me heartbroken and disappointed.  I trust humans and their feelings; I always forgive, and give them second, third and as many chances as it is necessary.  I want to fix the world and “fix”… well, people. Because that’s what I’m great at, friends; I’m great at giving advice, at listening and at telling people the words they need to hear. I can see the great things in you that you can’t.

I used to think that the overdose of sensitivity with which I was born, was my curse in life. I used to feel ashamed and apologetic about it. I used to make excuses and “hide” it from people — But not anymore. With the years, I have learned that “your world” needs me and all of the other “jacked-uppies” out there – desperately.

Yes, maybe I’m entirely and incorrigibly jacked up, and that’s totally okay. I will keep overreacting, overdramatizing, over-feeling, and pretty much mastering all my superlatives until the day I die, so get used to it, world. When a “jacked –uppie” tells you they “feel for you,” that’s literal. We are here for you, normal human beings — always willing to provide a bolder, deeper and truer version of life when you need it.

With love,

Erika B. Matallana
CEO and President of Jacked Ups of the World Corporation

An Open Letter from “The Happy Girl”

Dear Everyone I have seen and run into lately,

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been the kind of person who likes to smile and laugh a lot. I love practical jokes and making people smile.  Everywhere I go, most people I meet, I would always hear something like, “You are so funny, and always happy!”  And the truth is nothing makes me happier than making people laugh and happy; that’s a fact.  However, it’s hard when the “happy girl” is not having a good day, not to mention a bad week or month.  Nobody ever wants to see the happy girl not smiling, right?

Well, right now, I am having a very hard time dealing with… LIFE.  I still love you, admire you and want to make you smile, but this little human being needs some time to cope with some hard times she is going through.  She needs to find herself again and recover from some pain that only time can heal.  Please forgive me if today I can’t be the one comforting you, making you smile or telling you that everything is going to be okay, which it will – I promise you.  But today, right now, I just can’t talk the talk; much less can I walk the walk with you.  But, fear not.  I know this is only temporary– It always is.

I still love life and everything it involves.  Even during these not-so-happy days, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I still can remember the days I used to pray for the things I now have, and that gives me so much hope.  I still sing, dance and write, because these three things have always been my therapy, my relief and my best company.

And to you, that sweet person I ran into by the elevator this morning and told me, “What’s wrong? You don’t look like your happy, bubbly self today” – thank you.  I wish I would have asked your name. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay not to be happy all the time.  That even loud, smiley, happy people can have “blue” days and be a little sad sometimes, and I’m sorry for tearing up on you.  I just couldn’t help it.

There will always be tomorrow, amigos.  Let’s never forget that.

Much love,

Erika

A mi Heroína

“Siento que los años pasaron y no hice nada con mi vida.” Me has dicho esto tantas veces mami, y cada vez me duele más oírtelo decir. Porque en mis ojos, eso está tan pero tan lejos de la realidad. Así que pensé, “cual podría ser la mejor forma de decirte qué has hecho con tu vida?,” y decidí escribir una versión corta de tu historia. Una historia que ha cambiado la vida de tantas y tantas personas que han sido bendecidas al tenerte en sus vidas, y que merece ser admirada y contada a los cuatro vientos.

Fuiste la primera hija de Pachito y Marina en una familia de siete hijos. Siendo tan sólo una niña tuviste que estar lejos de tu familia ya que el clima de Bogotá no era favorable para tu salud. El asma no te permitió tener una niñez como la de cualquier otra niña, pero te formó una coraza que, sin saberlo en ese momento, te ayudaría a superar los miles de retos que la vida te impuso después.

Dios te convirtió en madre y esposa cuando todavía tu ni sabias como cuidar de ti misma, y no hay un día que pase en que no admire tu fortaleza, y el trabajo tan increíble que hiciste aun siendo tan joven. Aun con lo difícil que fue para ti terminar tu matrimonio, tú jamás te diste por vencida. Tu capacidad de amar y perdonar, aun cuando tu corazón está débil y herido, es probablemente tu mayor cualidad.

En tus 59 años de vida, te has dedicado incansablemente a cuidar y proteger a otros. Tú siempre estás ahí, mami — siempre. Estuviste, y siempre has estado ahí para mi papá; el amor de tu vida. Sin importar los miles de problemas que ha habido siempre entre ustedes, tu lealtad y amistad hacia él nunca se han debilitado. Tú no sólo lo perdonaste de corazón, sino que siempre nos motivaste a mi hermano y a mí a estar cerca de él, a quererlo y respetarlo. Le has dado siempre un espacio especial en nuestra familia, por lo cual te estaré eternamente agradecida.

Estuviste ahí para tu adorado Pachito, cuidándolo con tanto amor y devoción en su larga enfermedad. Siempre me repetías que tu viejito había sido el mejor papá del mundo y que él se merecía eso y mucho más. Siempre has estado ahí para tus hermanos. Porque aun con sus diferencias, ellos probablemente no saben, ni nunca sabrán, cuantas veces te he visto llorar inconsolablemente al saber que alguno de ellos está pasando por un mal momento, o cuando por alguna razón existen malentendidos que tú no sabes cómo aclarar.

Te he visto sacar plata — de donde no tienes — solo para asegúrate que alguien tiene comida en su mesa. Sea un extraño o alguien de la familia, tú siempre pones las necesidades de los demás por encima de las tuyas. Para ti no hay límites cuando se trata de dar, de amar o perdonar. Muchos no entienden que detrás de la mujer de carácter fuerte y rígido que muchas veces demuestras ser, hay un ser tan vulnerable, compasivo y generoso.

Y ni para que hablar de lo que has hecho por mi hermano y por mí. No hay suficientes palabras en el diccionario para describírtelo o agradecértelo. Yo no lo olvido mami. No olvido los días y noches en que te vi llorar, contar plata una y otra vez tratando de ver cómo ibas a pagar todos los gastos del mes. Pero mi hermano y yo jamás tuvimos que sufrirlo. Porque con la valentía y perseverancia que siempre has tenido, no hubo un solo día en que no tuviéramos un techo, un plato de comida, la ropa de moda, los mejores juguetes y la mejor educación.

Tú jamás te diste por vencida. Tú estudiabas, trabajabas, eras madre, hija y hermana, todo al mismo tiempo que tratabas de sanar tu corazón por los golpes de la vida. Y sin embargo sonreías. Sonreías y nos mostrabas a mi hermano y a mí día a día, con hechos palpables, como salir adelante y ser la mejor versión de nosotros mismos.

No somos perfectos mami, pero nunca por un instante te sientas culpable de nuestros desaciertos, nuestras culpas o fracasos. Esos son parte de la vida que le toca vivir a cada uno, y aunque sé que darías todo en ti por evitar nuestro dolor, no puedes mamita. Es nuestro turno de darle la cara a la vida. Quédate tranquila mamita. Mi hermano y yo somos seres completamente opuestos, nos matamos y amamos con la misma intensidad, pero al final del día, siempre estaremos ahí el uno para el otro.

Y mírate ahora. Dándole a nuestra viejita el mejor cuidado y atención en los últimos años de su vida. Ahí estás, como siempre. Es difícil, lo sé. Dar y dar a veces cuesta, duele y cansa. Te sientes sola y desentendida. Pero quiero que sepas que tus sacrificios no son, ni han sido nunca en vano. Muchos de los que te queremos lo vemos, apreciamos y admiramos todos los días.

Que qué has hecho con tu vida? Tú has escrito la historia de nuestra familia mamita. Tú nos has mostrado día a día, con tu ejemplo, que lo que no te mata te hace más fuerte, y que siempre es mejor dar que recibir. Tú eres la única persona en el mundo entero que sé que siempre estará ahí para mí. Porque aunque hoy la distancia nos separe físicamente, yo te siento siempre aquí, conmigo.

Feliz día de la madre mi heroína. Que Dios te bendiga siempre y te llene de todas las cosas lindas que tanto te mereces. Nunca dejes de creer. No te venciste antes, mucho menor ahora.

Te amo con todo mi corazón y me siento muy orgullosa de ser tu hija.

 

Erika

 

La Mejor Versión de Ti Mismo(a)

 

English Version

Algunos lo llaman egocentrismo. Otros inseguridad disfrazada – Yo lo llamo sobrevivir la lucha diaria para alcanzar una autoestima real y consistente. De lo que estoy hablando aquí amigos es de lo que todos nosotros hacemos o no hacemos día a día para combatir nuestros miedos e inseguridades. Estamos reflejando confianza o inseguridad?

Hay un dicho muy popular en el mundo de las Relaciones Públicas que dice,“percepción es realidad.” A mi me encanta este dicho porque es aplicable en muchos aspectos de la vida, pero también porque me ha ayudado a aprovechar muchas de mis debilidades y a ponerlas a trabajar a mi favor en diferentes circunstancias. Pero este dicho también puede ser engañoso cuando uno se da cuenta que está viviendo una vida para los demás y no para uno mismo.

Yo entiendo– todos tenemos nuestros días buenos y malos. Eso es simplemente la forma humana de ser y de sentir.   Pero yo si creo en el poder de la mente— ahora más que nunca. En las últimas semanas, he vivido un proceso — que aunque doloroso y radical– ha sido extremadamente inspirador, y el cual me ha enseñado cosas nuevas acerca de mí misma y de lo que realmente quiero para MI—cosas en las que no había pensado en años.

Así que me pregunté a mí misma una de las cosas más difíciles: “Estás trabajando para ser la mejor versión de ti misma?” Guau! Como diría Oprah, ese fue un “AHA Moment.” Si estoy trabajando en eso? Realmente no sé. Cómo está supuesto a verse o a sentirse? – Y ahí fue cuando lo entendí. Por años, he tratado súper duro de ser la versión de la mujer que los demás esperan de mi y ven en mi. He luchado por complacer a todo el mundo y me he olvidado de lo que yo realmente necesito. Me he impuesto unos niveles de exigencia que poco a poco me han hecho una persona menos espontánea, alegre y auténtica.

Es muy difícil para mi “decir” estas cosas en “voz alta,” ser vulnerable y tratar de olvidarme de lo que los demás van a pensar de mí – Pero sentí que era mi deber hacerlo. Sólo porque sé de hecho que muchas personas que conozco están pasando por las mismas dificultades y no logran encontrar la paz y las respuestas en sí mismos.

Lo he dicho antes y lo diré una y otra vez: la vida es muy dura mi gente. No hay duda de eso. Sin importar si es la Reina de Inglaterra, Chopra, o Jennifer López. Pero también sé que nosotros a veces la hacemos más difícil en nosotros mismos de lo que deberíamos. Estamos constantemente perdiendo enfoque en lo que realmente importa – en nuestro verdadero propósito. El dinero (o la falta de éste), las relaciones, el trabajo y otras “distracciones” interfieren con nuestro verdadero propósito en la vida.   Estamos trabajando para sobrevivir o para vivir?

He llegado a la conclusión que mi objetivo principal de ahora en adelante va a ser el de ser la mejor y más feliz versión de mí misma, y lograr esto va a permitirme hacer realmente feliz a la gente que quiero.

Cualquiera que sea tu sufrimiento, recuerda que siempre es más oscuro antes que empiece a amanecer; que tu eres muy especial, que estás AQUI y vivo (a) por una RAZON. Lo mejor de tu vida esta por venir—no te lo pierdas por estar distraído con cosas mundanas que igual podrían desaparecer en cualquier momento.

Aquí estoy contigo— también luchando con mis propios miedos, dudas y distracciones, pero buscando dentro de mi la mejor y más feliz versión de Erika que pueda ser. Permitiéndome caer y volverme a levantar, cometiendo nuevos y viejos errores y tratando de aprender de ellos.   A esto mi amigo(a) –en caso que no lo sepas–es a lo que le llaman La Vida, y es tu oportunidad de mostrar de qué estás hecho(a). Está tranquilo, sé fuerte, no te rindas. Siempre habrá un mañana y con el una nueva oportunidad de empezar todo otra vez.

Con amor,

Erika

 

The Best version of Yourself

 

Version en Español

Some call it egocentrism. Others call it insecurity in disguise — I call it surviving a daily struggle to reach real, consistent self-esteem. What I’m talking about here, friends, is what all of us either do or don’t do on a daily basis to defeat our internal fears and insecurities. Do we portrait confidence or insecurity?

There is a popular saying among the PR world that says, “perception is reality.” I love this saying, not only because is completely applicable to all aspects of life, but also because it has helped me embrace many of my weaknesses and make them work on my favor in a variety of circumstances. But it can also be very deceiving when you realize you are living a life for others and not for yourself.

I get it. We all have our good and bad days. That’s just the human thing to do and feel. But I do believe in the power of our own thoughts – now more than ever. For the past several weeks, I have gone through a very painful, radical, but extremely enlighten process of self-reflection, which has taught me new things about myself and about what I really want for ME — Things that I had not thought about in years.

So I asked to myself one of the hardest questions ever: “Are you working towards being the best version of yourself?” Wow! That was, as Oprah would say, an AHA moment. Am I? I don’t really know. What is that suppose to look like? — And that’s when it hit me. For years, I have worked really hard to become the version of the woman others see in me and expect from me. I have worked hard to be a “people’s pleaser” and have slowly forgotten about my real needs. I imposed on myself all these high standards that very subtly have made me less spontaneous, joyful and genuine.

It’s hard for me to “say” these things “out loud,” to make myself so vulnerable, and to try to forget what others would say about me — But I felt it was the right thing to do. Only because I know for a fact that many people I know are going through the same struggles and can’t seem to find peace or answers from within.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again: life is freaking hard, people. There is no doubt about that. I don’t care if you are the Queen of England, Chopra or JLo. But I also know that we make it harder on ourselves than it should be. We constantly lose focus of the big picture– the real purpose. Money (or lack thereof), relationships, work and other “distractions” get in the way of our real purpose. Are we working to make a living or to make a life?

I have come to realize that my main goal in life from now on will be to be the happier version of myself I can possibly be. Only by accomplishing that, will I be able to make the ones I love happy.

Whatever your struggle, remember that it is always darkest before the dawn; that you are great the way you are, that you are HERE and alive for a REASON. The best moment of your life is yet to come — don’t miss it by being distracted with mundane things that could go away at any minute.

I’m here with you. — Also struggling with my own self-doubts, fears and distractions, but reaching within to find the best and happier version of Erika I can be. Allowing myself to fall and get right back up, making old and new mistakes and trying to learn from them. This, my friend — in case you didn’t know–is what they call Life, and your time to show what you are really made of. Be still, be strong, and don’t quit. There will always be tomorrow and a brand new chance to start all over again.

Much love,

Erika

Second Chances

What would life be if we didn’t have second chances?  With every mistake we make, comes a brand new opportunity to do it all over again with a lesson learned and a chance to – hopefully- do things better next time.  That’s so refreshing and encouraging to me.  Perhaps that’s why I am the kind of person who is usually inclined to believe in people, and to give them a chance– not just once or twice– but as many times as my heart possibly allows.  I tend to excuse others’ faults and wrongdoings easily.  Always thinking they just don’t mean it; they are naive, or traumatized, or scared.

However, my tolerance for my own failure and mistakes has thinned up as I’ve grown older.  As easy as it is for me to forgive and give people a second chance, I have realized I have never done the same for myself.  And as I approach yet another birthday, I’m cautiously reevaluating my life priorities.  See, I’m not in my twenties anymore, so I really need to start recognizing that my own happiness and fulfillment is as important as everyone else’s, that this is MY life after all, and it’s only up to me to make it a great one.

I have been evaluating where my life is and where it seems to be going.  I keep reminding myself of the good and difficult times I have been through, and how each one of them has taught me something new about me, about people and about this crazy life in general.   I have reflected on how it’s just natural for us, humans, to be hurt, to cry and endure before we learn and understand the reason for everything that happens in our lives.  Sometimes the opposite of what we had planned, sometimes even better than what we ever dreamed — both equally necessary to grow and learn.

I’m eleven days away from being 34-years old, and I’m thrilled to realize that I don’t have it all figured out yet. That there is still more to live, love, learn — and well, endure, too.  I want this to be my year of self-discovery, of finding happiness and joy from within, of loving who I am, truthfully, and to be really proud of what I have done right to this point.  This will be my year of parting ways with the guilt and the constant pressure of my self-imposed high standards. This will be my year for a second chance, and I CANNOT WAIT!