I’ve spent most of my adult and teen life in a relationship.
I probably started having boyfriends at 13 and kept right on in that fashion until 35.
My daughter is nearly 10, almost the age I was when I started my life in a relationship. We were walking downtown the other day, and she purchased some art from a street peddler with her own money. We went into a thrift store and she ventured off on her own, finding a pair of jeans she had to have. She called me into her room last night because she found a new song she wanted to share with me.
She is at a time in her life when she is blossoming into who she is. She is celebrating her likes and dislikes. She is doing it on her terms.
When I was young and growing, I didn’t explore my uniqueness the way my daughter is now. Quite concerned with the thoughts and opinions of others, I opted for chameleon. I hid in the safety of a friend or boyfriend. My likes and dislikes were not a result of anything except a deep desire to be liked.
After I had my daughter and witnessed the absolutely awe-inspiring perfection of my own newborn baby in my arms, I started to comprehend the absolute necessity and responsibility to her that I figure out who the hell I was. This was the start of my spiritual journey. This was the moment I decided to wake up.
My daughter is my first teacher. One evening years ago, a mantra came to me that I repeat often: “As if Ella is watching.”
When I am feeling self-conscious or undecided or insecure, I begin to move and act as if my daughter’s brown eyes are gazing upon me. I breathe in her courageous spirit and am energized to act as my highest self would. I allow her light, as my own, to shine blindingly.
This is the longest amount of time I have been single since the age of 13. I have spent over 20 years in a relationship.
I spent that time there because I was too scared. I was scared of what others would think of me to the level that I never gave myself the space to figure out who I was. Most of the last 20 years, I was lonely and full of doubt.
When you give away your foundation to each and every passerby, what can you build on?
Today, my life is completely different. Just as my daughter is, I am exploring who I am in each and every moment. I am dancing freely to the music I love, hanging my own art on the walls, using my voice in authentic expression.
I am single, and, while I am more alone than I have ever been, I am never lonely anymore. I have never enjoyed someone’s company as much as I enjoy my own. My life is on my terms, and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am good, and okay, and safe and sound.
My daughter sees this. She sees my power and my light shine. She sees me stumble and watches me get right back up. She sees her mother empowered—taking responsibility for her life. She looks up to me. She trusts me.
Little does she know that she is the catalyst for all this beauty.