Ok – this is a long one – but it’s the first time I’ve blogged in an entire year, so I have a lot to say. This past year has been a difficult one, but it has also been a period of awakening for me. I’ve gained a perspective on life that I probably never would have been able to achieve if not for all of the heartache. In great part, discovering my identity came through the quiet reflection I enjoyed while practicing yoga, and the inner strength I’ve developed attracts powerful things. I’m seeing that the stronger I am at my core, the more natural and effortless it becomes to draw positive people and uplifting experiences into my life. For example, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined befriending Russell Simmons while taking class at a yoga school I started going to in the past year. This school has been the safe haven for my self-study and spiritual development. The more I know my true self, the more I come to have faith that my presence on earth means more or at least has different meaning than the media or disbelievers have tried to frame it to be. Russell was there, reaching out to give me hand placement tips and educate me about the virtues of yoga that he’s discovered throughout the years. He explained the importance of understanding that our actions sometimes have far reaching consequences – a lesson that certainly resonated with me. And never would I have imagined finding my new fairy godmother, Kelly Cutrone, who has become such an inspiration to me and stood by me even at her own expense. I am blessed to have them and other people in my life who are honest, positive and want to help me walk a better path.
I’ve learned a lot about responsibility and how the choices you make can alter the way your life plays out. I can now see how there were a series of pivotal moments in my life that set me down a certain roads, and once you’re on those roads you can’t turn back. Some of my decisions were good, some bad, but I accept them as part of what defines me now. And I’ve learned a lot about gratitude. No matter what life brings, there is always so much to be thankful for. When I was going through everything this year, I felt as if I was suffocating at times. But when I focused my energy on the good, it somehow made breathing a little easier. I was thankful that my mother’s MS didn’t flare up. I was thankful that my brother had just gotten out of rehab and he seemed to be the strongest one of all of us. I was thankful to be able to be with my family again and that they forgave me. If I instead only focused on the bad, it would have eaten me alive.
I am now 23 years old and I’ve made more mistakes than most people make in a lifetime. But to look back and see all that I have overcome, and to stand here, and actually still be here at all, that is a huge achievement. I am proud of myself for surviving. I am proud of myself for going through each phase of my life and wanting to take that next step, even if it was the wrong step. All that I have gone through has shaped me into who I am today – and I like myself. I am a work in progress. I am imperfect. And that is okay.
One of the things Russell shared with me is the role that charity plays in his life. I want that in my life. I want the book I’m working on to inspire people and not just be a trivial account of the business I was in. I hope that from my story, I can help someone and save them from making the same mistakes and choices that I made. This isn’t easy for me. I don’t like to talk about it because it really hurts. I’ve worked so hard to move on and I don’t want to relive it. But I know I have to if anything good is