It was a Saturday morning in June of 2001. An eighteen-wheeler had been scheduled to come and pick up my car and belongings to move back to Maryland, back to my then-husband after two years of making every excuse possible not to. My heart was beating fast with anxiety and rebellion. I stood in front of an imaginary massive wall, finally at a standstill, inviting me to break through, climb up or do nothing and go with what was expected of me!. Regardless of what I chose, it was still a decision I needed to make, alone.
I was sitting outside my parents' home in Miami with a friend. It was a sunny day, and the humidity made it hard to breathe, adding to my mental exhaustion. "Dayanna, today is the day you need to decide" The whispers had turned into shouts I could no longer ignore. I wanted so desperately to run away from the life I had, the painful words that pierced my soul in my now conscious psyche, "you'll never going make it alone." "You're stupid." "You're dumb." As much I resisted, I had believed those words filled the helplessness. I wanted to run away from the people who surrounded me and the suffocating feeling that made me shrink.
I remember the pivotal moment that would change my life's trajectory: Go back to a comfortable life I already knew would not work emotionally and was reluctant to embrace. Or leap into the unknown with no certainties that it would work as a single mom on an eight dollar an hour paycheck. I was terrified. I felt alone and the weight of the world on my shoulders. But I was determined to fight my way back until my last breath.
Something within me had woken up. I was not the same 21-year-old kid that had married six years earlier with a beautiful human growing inside my womb. I had peeked into the chest of my wounds for the first time I saw my light. I experienced being loved and desired, felt freedom, and savored the resolve of embodying the vulnerable and resilient woman within me. In hindsight, it was the clarity of knowing without fear what I truly wanted and the burst of energy it made me feel.
I decided to dare greatly long before Brene Brown wrote the book where she famously shares one of Theodore Roosevelt quotes that impacted my life decades later:
"It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is in the arena. Whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly ... who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly ..."
And so that day, I decided to stand up and break a long-standing generational history of emotional abuse and people-pleasing. I wanted to break the chains for myself and my daughter. And so I announced I wanted to divorce and canceled the move amidst the bewildered eyes. I still heard the voices and the energy around me that said:
"How dare you."
"You are going to lose it all."
"You need to think about other people's feelings."
"You don't know what you're doing."
"It is the biggest mistake of your life."
"You are not going to be the queen anymore," My psychologist actually said that! Seriously! smh
"You have a daughter you need to think about." Precisely people!
"You're a mom first." Exactly why I needed to walk away!
That Saturday, I finally began to rip the bandages off, pulling out the thorns I had carefully made sure no one touched but never dared to pull out. It hurt like hell. My family sent me sent to therapy because, in their eyes, I had gone crazy. My dad didn't speak to me for a year. People judge me, criticized and condemn me. Now I know it was the beginning of a life-long journey back to my wholeness—the beginning of a long inner-child embrace filled with wounds I've never dared to face.
We all, at some point, have experienced a crucial moment that shifts the direction of our lives. Cause and effect are always at play. Often, we choose to please others to keep the peace because we are afraid of not being liked, accepted, or we would not fit in.
If we want to live a brave life feeding our inner-peace, doing what fuels our soul, we must take the wheel of our lives. We need to muster the courage to accept the possibility of being misunderstood or go against popular belief.
If you are facing a pivotal moment in your life or are just tired of sabotaging your worth, your dreams, yourself...the first step is to meet the wall and decide what you genuinely desire in life. Remove all variables, the noise around you, and the voices that make you hesitate.
Standing in stillness, deeply breathe and ask: What do I truly want? How do I want to feel?... And Decide!